Meet our Apprentices

Alexa Adams, Marketing Apprentice, grew up in the beautiful and quaint town of Williamstown, Massachusetts. Her love for HMI began when she was a student in Semester 28, and her experience ignited a passion for experiential and place based learning.  She recently graduated from Bates College where she majored in anthropology with a minor in religious studies. In college, Alexa was also a defender on the women’s varsity soccer team, worked on a local organic farm, and spent time studying off-campus in Nepal, Jamaica, and Alaska. For the past four summers she has led hiking trips for students in New England, Colorado, and Europe, which has affirmed her love of working with students in the outdoors. Alexa is thrilled to be back at HMI and looks forward to supporting this semester’s cohort of students as they fall in love with this place and this community, just as she did six years ago.

Luca Guadagno, Science and Marketing Apprentice, has been captivated by the natural world for as long as he can remember. A native of the rustic, mountainous suburbs of New Jersey, he grew up reading national geographic and day-dreaming about wild places outside of the Tristate Area. Luca attended Tufts University and was a trip leader for Tufts Wilderness Orientation, captain of the swim team, and a Senior Admissions Fellow. In the fall of 2015 he fulfilled a lifelong dream and studied abroad in Tanzania, where he researched wildlife conservation and fell in love with East Africa. After graduating in the spring with a dual degree in biology and environmental studies, Luca took time to experience life outside of the East Coast. He finished his third summer leading hiking trips with Overland Summers, road tripped across the US, and returned to East Africa to research human-elephant conflict in Kenya. He is thrilled to bring together his love of the natural world, close-knit communities, and trip-leading at HMI this spring.

Hannah Lyons, Wilderness Apprentice, is a Vermont native with a love for mountains, water, exploring, and much more. Throughout her childhood, Hannah was introduced to the outdoors with family canoe camping in the summer and Nordic ski camping in the winter. After graduating high school, Hannah expanded her repertoire of adventuring with a trip organized by the National Outdoor Leadership School where she lived the backcountry life backpacking, sailing, and sea kayaking her way down the coast of Baja, Mexico. Hannah has also spent summers with students adventuring in Yellowstone National Park, exploring the vast wilderness around Anchorage, Alaska, and sharing her love for the outdoors.  Most recently, Hannah graduated from Colorado College where she studied elementary education and global health. Hannah is excited to be back in Colorado learning more every day and continuing to take advantage of the beautiful nature accessible at HMI.

Fiona Noonan, History Apprentice, grew up with Oregon’s forests, rivers, and mountains as her playground. She first led outdoor trips as a high school student, and continued to pursue opportunities in outdoor and environmental education at Stanford University through the Stanford Outdoor Outreach Program, Stanford Outdoor Education, and as a researcher in Yosemite National Park. At Stanford, Fiona majored in earth systems, which combined her love of the outdoors with her deep and ever-growing curiosity about the social, political, and environmental status of the American West. She is excited to apply this background to her time as a history apprentice at HMI, and to understand more of Leadville’s own incredible past. When she’s not in the classroom, you’ll find her climbing, reading, writing letters, and seeking every possible opportunity to wear her dinosaur onesie.

Claire O’Brien, English Apprentice, hails from the twin cities, MN. She fostered her love for the outdoors from a young age through camping trips to the Northwoods of Minnesota. She recently graduated from Carleton College where she studied English and spent the rest of her time drawing, singing, acting, and working at the school’s climbing gym. For the past four summers she has guided canoe trips through the Minnesotan Boundary Waters, Quetico, and Canadian Crownlands, and she is so excited to return to the backpacking community this spring. Claire was first introduced to HMI as a student in the fall semester of 2011, an experience that she has always remembered fondly. As English apprentice, she hopes to help HMI have a similar affirming impact on its students. From her perspective, literature and the outdoors absolutely go hand in hand and she can’t wait to share her enthusiasm for both with all those involved in semester 40!

Garrett Schlag, Math Apprentice, loves to climb, ski, play guitar, travel, skateboard, and enjoy a good book. He grew up in a little ski town called Park City, Utah and spent many school breaks and summers with friends and family exploring the American southwest. Competitive mogul and big mountain skiing allowed Garrett to log a great deal of valuable mountain time. His appreciation for the natural world flourished in Boulder, Colorado where Garrett studied geoscience and math at the University of Colorado. While living in Boulder he worked as a geology tutor for student athletes and as a learning assistant for astronomy students, and learned to climb in Boulder Canyon. After graduating, Garrett returned to his hometown and spent a year tutoring students in the local community and was fortunate enough to take some exciting trips like rafting the Grand Canyon and skiing pillows in British Columbia. Garrett enjoys being able to bring new perspectives to the classroom and in the outdoors, and is excited to be in beautiful Leadville to learn as an HMI apprentice and grow as an educator.

Tori Staley, Spanish Apprentice, hails from State College, PA where she learned to climb and hike in the small hills of Appalachia. She spent college in the mountains of the University of Vermont, studying political science, Spanish, and studio art. She honed her Spanish language skills during a semester abroad in Spain, and continued her climbing, skiing, and hiking throughout college. She also facilitated curriculum and courses for growth in women leadership during her four years in Vermont. Tori learned to love leading wilderness trips as a counselor and leadership coordinator for Frost Valley YMCA over the past three years. She is excited to blend and explore all of her passions while at HMI. When not doing that, she’ll be petting all the dogs on campus and bingeing on NPR podcasts.

Noah Williams, Science Apprentice, grew up in Norwich, Vermont and was on skis as soon as he could walk. He spent much of his childhood hiking with his family, skiing, biking, and running. During high school his passion for running grew as did his curiosity for earth science. From there he attended Williams College where he majored in geology and ran on the cross country and track teams. During his junior year he had the opportunity to study geology on the south island of New Zealand at the University of Canterbury. Immediately after graduating he set off on a southbound thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail with a close friend from college, completing the trail in November. He is excited to bring his passions for earth sciences and outdoor living to the HMI community this spring.