Anna Bastidas ’13 and Devin Farkas ’10 recently landed jobs in outdoor education as the associate director of the Bowdoin College Outing Club and the assistant director of Outdoor Programs at the University of Vermont, respectively. Day-to-day, Bastidas works closely with outing club officers, runs student leader training, and organizes orientation trips. Farkas oversees many outdoor-based clubs and directs the pre-orientation program.
Both Bastidas and Farkas credit their Hamilton experience with guiding them on the path into the field of outdoor education. Farkas was an Adirondack Adventure intern and climbing wall staff member. Bastidas’ position as an Outing Club officer and a member of the Canoe Racing Team account for just a few of the ways she immersed herself in outdoor programing.
“I am here because of Hamilton, because of Sarah [Jillings, assistant director of outdoor leadership], because of Andrew [Jillings, director of outdoor leadership],” said Farkas, who added that the experiences provided by the Hamilton Outdoor Leadership program instill a unique and identifiable outlook among students.
Bastidas had always been interested in education, but it wasn’t until she went on a winter camping seminar led by Sarah Jillings that she realized she was interested in pursuing experiential outdoor education. Attending the annual Association for Experiential Education (AEE) conferences with other Hamilton students helped her realize that she could do this sort of work for a career.
Further illustrating the value of Hamilton Outdoor Leadership, Farkas points to the strong industry connections. “There’s that networking piece that I think Hamilton would pride itself on in all of its areas [of study]; the same thing goes in the outdoor world. Andrew and Sarah are really well-connected, in really high-level programs.”
Farkas noted that he got his first job at Bowdoin thanks to Andrew’s connection with their outing club director, Mike Woodruff.
Bastidas and Farkas agree that they value one thing from their time on the Hill above all else: relationships. “The reason that we go into the outdoors … is not just that we get to the summit … equal or more important is the relationships that one makes in the outdoors and that is, I think, the keystone of the whole thing,” Farkas said.