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For a Guy Who’d Rather Be Paddling, an 'Outdoors' Science Fits


You’ve got to love a major that you can appreciate while roaring down a white-water river in a kayak. For Sam Bernstein ’17, that’s geosciences. “Part of the reason that I like it so much is that it’s easy to connect the things that I’m seeing if I’m out for a weekend paddling or hiking to the things that I’ve been learning about. I think it would be really cool to do that in the future,” says Bernstein, whose study abroad experience in New Zeeland included two weeks far out in the field doing geologic mapping. The reward of identifying a geologic system, he says, “is almost immediate.”

Bernstein is an outdoor adventurer of long standing. He’s active in the Hamilton Outing Club and is on the Hamilton marathon canoe team that races in the 90-mile Adirondack Canoe Classic. Even Bernstein’s internships are outside. He landed a summer job in the paddle sports department at Zoar Outdoor, an outdoor recreation company in Western Massachusetts. He’s discovered he really loves to teach the technical aspects outdoor sports.

Eventually Bernstein would like to teach, or maybe work for a nonprofit organization related to waterways or find another opportunity that incorporates the outdoors and geosciences. But first he wants to sample a range jobs related to paddling and outdoor adventuring. Still, as much as he loves those pursuits, Bernstein, a history minor, is glad he opted for a liberal arts college.

“I’m really happy to be at a school where I’m not studying outdoor education only, because I have some friends that are in programs like that, and they are really great, you know? They teach them a lot of skills, it gives them a really cool community,” he says.

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