Nestled in the heart of the Adirondacks lies Blue Mountain, a 3,750 foot peak just east of a picturesque lake that bears the same name. It is at this scenic location, in the quiet town of Indian Lake, that Andrea Shipton ’22 and Jane Taylor ’22 are spending their summers interning as a summit steward and interpretive assistant, respectively.
Shipton’s position entails working on the trails, taking care of a variety of tasks. “I spend my workdays chatting with hikers to answer their questions about the mountain, the Adirondacks, and sustainable recreation,” she said. “I also assist with trail maintenance [we installed an outhouse last week], help hikers identify peaks from the tower, and deter littering and vandalism.”
Major: Environmental Studies
Hometown: Mountain Top, Pa.
High school: Crestwood High School
An Environmental Studies major, Shipton described how her academic background has been helpful for this position. Specifically, she mentioned Professor Andrea Townsend’s Ecology course and Professor Aaron Strong’s Climate Change course — both of which, she said, “have proven relevant to many of my conversations with hikers.”
Shipton also highlighted the influence of others at Hamilton, including Director of Outdoor Leadership Andrew Jillings and her first-year orientation trip leaders, all of whom inspired her to get more involved with outdoor education and leadership via the Outing Club and Adirondack Adventure.
Taylor is working at Adirondack Experience: The Museum on Blue Mountain Lake, where she is stationed with various exhibitions, providing extra information and answering visitor questions. Museum guests have differing levels of familiarity with the information on display, Taylor noted, so her role “is to make the work more accessible and tailor it to their experiences.”
As someone who has been visiting the region with family for years, Taylor felt that this position was a natural fit for her. “Knowing I wanted to go into museum work,” she said, “it seemed like a really great opportunity — not only career-wise … I could be close to my family and spend the summer somewhere beautiful.”
At Hamilton, Taylor is a Wellin Museum docent, a position that introduced her to the museum work about which she has become so passionate. Professors in both her majors of biology and art history, she added, have encouraged her to engage with the interdisciplinary potential of her studies and “bridge the gap” between two fields that can often be considered diametrically opposed.
Majors: Art History and Biology
Hometown: Basking Ridge, N.J.
High school: Madison High School
Going forward, both Shipton and Taylor hope to draw on their experiences at Blue Mountain after they leave Hamilton and enter the next chapters of their lives. “After graduation,” said Shipton, “I plan to attend law school and pursue a career in environmental law.” Taylor is deciding between diving straight into curation and attending a graduate program in art restoration. But either way, she said her goal is the same: to “connect art and science, using one to enthuse people about the other … I’d love for my work to focus on this.”