Ella Dean

Hometown: Larchmont, New York
College: Hamilton College

During my junior spring, I sailed and conducted research along the East Coast of New Zealand through the Global Ocean SEA Semester program.

Originally from Larchmont, New York, I graduated from Hamilton College in 2017. I was a world politics major with a concentration on the environment. Also, I played on the rugby team and was a member of the marathon canoe racing team. An active member of Hamilton’s outing club, I recharged from schoolwork and rugby by hiking in the nearby Adirondacks and skiing at the local slopes. Last year, I worked for City Year, tutoring and learning from an awesome group of eighth graders in Boston. I love to be outside and enjoy running, spending time on the water and sitting on mountains with a good block of cheese.

In 2016, I led New England Service and Appalachian Trail Challenge; in 2017, I led High Sierra Explorer; and in 2018, I led Alaska Challenge. While backpacking in Alaska’s rugged Talkeetna mountains, we encountered some particularly sinky mud. Slowly, each member of our group slid, slipped, glided, skated, slumped, skidded, flowed, drifted, glissaded through and sank into the mud field—one by one. Assisting each other with extended arms and hands, sleeping pads, jackets, we eventually wiggled our way out onto dry land. We scurried over to the nearby alpine stream, waded, cleaned our clothing and basked in the ice cold mountain water as the sun never set (Alaskan summers). Throughout the rest of the trip, we referenced the “mud day.” We were able to look back on a challenging, uncomfortable situation, and as a group, laugh about and grow from our shared experience.