Hamilton students, alumni and staff at the Northeast Regional Association for Experiential Education Conference.

Six current students, six Hamilton alumni, and four employees attended the Northeast Regional Association for Experiential Education (AEE) Conference in Becket, Mass., from April 21 to 23. The regional conference draws educators and students who use experiential methodology to engage with students and participants in and out of the classroom. 


Pretty much every weekend, you can find Hamilton students hiking, canoeing, kayaking, skiing, snowshoeing or otherwise enjoying the nearby Adirondack Park. Trips and programs are organized by the Outdoor Leadership Program.

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Andrew Jillings, director of outdoor leadership, presented a workshop on wilderness orientation leader training at the Outdoor Orientation Program Symposium pre-conference on Friday. On Saturday, Sam Mengual ’16 led a workshop titled “Creating Habits of Kindness and Respect,” offering perspective on what she has noticed about the negative habits middle school children bring to the classroom and what she has done as an educator to demonstrate kindness and respect.

Anna Bastidas ’13, Outing Club assistant director at Bowdoin College, and Devin Farkas ’10, assistant director of the St. Lawrence Outdoor Program, co-presented a workshop titled “Breaking Barriers: Creating More Inclusive College Outdoor Programs.”

Student and alumni participants included Megan Bates ’18, Anna Mowat ’18, Abby Kaplan ’19, Amber Aparicio ’19, Talea Shakun-Berkelhammer ’20, Margaret (Maggie) Horne ’19, Olivia (Livie) Jacobs ’19, David Munger ’16 and Nina Byers ’16. Others attendees included Sarah Jillings, assistant director of outdoor leadership, Hillary Joy Pitoniak, greenhouse and invertebrate care technician, and Janine Oliver, associate director of career development. 

Sarah Jillings commented that the value of the conference weekend is its diverse array of offerings for students and practitioners in the field.  She noted, “AEE offers a great platform for students to learn experiential methodologies, practitioners to share their ideas, and researchers to present their research.  It’s fulfilling to see Hamilton students and alumni using the conference experience to advance their skills while simultaneously furthering the field with their contributions.”

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