Meet the Gap Faculty

Chris Barlow, Co-Director of HMI Gap

While Chris often claims that he simply loves to play in the mountains, the truth is that he loves wild places for the profound experiences and opportunities for growth they can catalyze. His love for the mountains drew him from his roots in East Tennessee to Colorado College, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in English and creative writing. He has worked as an educator in a variety of venues: teaching Spanish and English in both public and private schools around Colorado (including HMI), instructing rock climbing programs, and leading wilderness trips across the American West. His winding path led him back to Colorado College in 2009 to earn his Master of Arts in Teaching, focusing on secondary language arts instruction and digital literacy. Chris believes that there is a strong connection between exploring wild places and exploring new ideas, perspectives, and one’s own identity, and he is deeply grateful to get the opportunity to help students do all of this through his work with HMI Gap and Summer Term. Chris works with his wife Becca who shares his passion for the outdoors and teaches him humility as she out-skis, out-hikes, and out-runs him.

Becca Schild, Co-Director of HMI Gap

As a Colorado native, love for adventure and the mountains are in Becca’s blood. After taking a gap year exploring India with NOLS and skiing the Rocky Mountains, she attended Colorado College to earn her degree in International Sustainable Development. Becca is an educator at heart, leading NOLS wilderness expeditions and climbing courses, directing the Environmental Center at Fort Lewis College, and teaching students to grapple with environmental issues in her courses at Colorado College and the University of Colorado Boulder. Becca believes strongly in the power of intentional communities and immersive learning environments as a transformational moment in a student’s journey, which is what compelled her to work for HMI. Along with her work at HMI, Becca completed her PhD in Environmental Studies at CU Boulder, where she researched the link between outdoor recreation and environmental values. When not teaching or in school, Becca is an avid outdoor enthusiast and can be found spending her free time scaling rock faces with her husband, Chris, or going on long mountain runs.

Emily Graf, Gap Faculty

Emily hails from a nomadic family, growing up in the Northeast and Chicago. In 2015, she graduated from Kenyon College with a BA in English and Poetry Writing. Emily caught the wilderness bug on a NOLS Semester in Patagonia, where she participated in a 3 month sea-kayaking and mountaineering expedition. Since graduating from Kenyon, Emily has worked for South by Southwest in Austin, TX, led backpacking trips with Overland Summers in Maine and Alaska, and worked as a conservation sawyer with Southwest Conservation Corps in Durango, CO (her chainsaw crew felled trees to prevent wildfires and revitalize land, not to deforest). She joined HMI Semester 38 as the English Apprentice, and is thrilled to return to the HMI community as part of the Gap faculty. Outside of work, Emily is all about riding bikes, reading books, and cooking big dinners with friends and family.

David Fay, Gap Faculty

Moving from Connecticut to Colorado at the start of high school initiated David’s discovery of the outdoors, adventure and exploration. The next summer, David joined HMI as a student on a backpacking and leadership expedition. This experience clarified the importance of wilderness in his life and also the great potential for personal development within an intentional community. His focus on wilderness, growth and community led him to Colorado College where he earned a B.A. in Geology. After graduating, he worked as a Math Apprentice for Semester 32 at HMI and for the last 2 years has been working as a wilderness therapy field guide in Utah. In between work David continues to travel, climb, and seek adventures of all sorts to inspire and humble him.


Eric Shaw, Gap Faculty

After abandoning a promising career as a jazz and classical guitarist, Eric chose to take a year off from college and participate in an outdoor leadership semester through Greenfield Community college in Greenfield, Massachusetts.  Tapping into his natural sense of adventure, the skills he learned there kindled a lifelong passion for the transformative power of wilderness.  After finishing his bachelor’s degree in religious studies at Hampshire college, Eric began his guiding career at a wilderness therapy program for at-risk youth in New England.  Since then, he has taught whitewater kayaking in the southeastern US, guided remote expeditions for adjudicated Alaskan youth, and guided climbing and mountaineering trips throughout the US and Alaska.  While he enjoys adventure activities, Eric believes that the true power of wilderness comes from the way that nature can lead one to a better understanding of oneself.  When not teaching for HMI, Eric is a mountain guide for the American Alpine Institute.  In his spare time he enjoys reading, New York Times crossword puzzles and skiing with his dog Hayla (she’s really good).


Hattie Tehan, Gap Faculty

Hattie  is a Central Oregonian native and she calls the small mountain town of Sisters, Oregon, home. Studying at the University of Oregon and Prescott College led Hattie to her degrees in Spanish and Social Justice Education as well as a minor in Adventure Education. Over the past six years she has worked as an outdoor educator throughout the South and Northwest. Most recently, she spent the last two years as a faculty member at Cascades Academy, teaching Spanish and Adventure Education to students Pre K-12. In her past time, Hattie spends as much time as possible on the water, kayaking, rafting, wake boarding and anything else she can do to get wet. When she’s not on the water, Hattie is most likely crafting, mountain biking, skiing or spending time on her family’s farm.

Hannah Trim, Gap Faculty

Hannah grew up in Chicago, Illinois, constantly yearning for more time in the woods. After falling in love with rock climbing on small Midwestern cliffs, she applied to colleges largely based on their proximity to the mountains. Four years later, she graduated with a degree in Biology from Colorado College, where she was highly involved in the school’s outdoor program and climbing gym. Hannah has since lived in many Colorado mountain towns, where she has been building her experience climbing rock, snow, and ice, skiing, painting, and working as a potter. Hannah has worked as an Outward Bound Instructor for several seasons in Colorado, Ecuador, and Alaska. She spends as much time as possible in the mountains, learning about herself and the ecosystems around her. Hannah loves geeking out about all sort of things, particularly birds, lichens, mushrooms, and compost.

Brad Ward, Gap Faculty

Growing up in New Hampshire instilled the value of small communities and power of the outdoors from an early age. After growing up in the White Mountains, Brad migrated to the West Coast to attend the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC. At UBC, he earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in History, with a minor in Japanese language. After university, he developed his skills as a teacher and instructor through work as an English teacher and counselor for students. Brad continued to thrive and use climbing for personal growth, which inspired him to pursue guiding and outdoor instruction. He has worked throughout Alaska, New Hampshire, the Pacific Northwest, Patagonia, and Spain. Brad’s aim with his work is to share the connection, appreciation, personal growth and humbleness he feels in the outdoors with others.