NOLS: National Outdoor Leadership School Home
    Executive Director Team
    Board of Trustees
    Field Instructors
    WMI Staff and Faculty
    NOLS Professional Training
    Notable Alumni
  What's the Buzz? -
  Press Room
  Contact Us

Ryan Hughes

Ryan Hughes, a parks management major at the University of Maine, believes he found the wildest place on Earth during his 1999 summer semester in Alaska.

"People talk about wild areas all the time," he says, "but Alaska has a wildness and beauty unlike anywhere else. It was humbling, in fact, to be in the midst of such gigantic mountains. It puts your whole life in perspective."

Ryan grew up in southern Maine, where he worked as a summer park ranger and pursued various outdoor activities. Alaska, however, was always looming in the back of his mind as a destination he had to reach someday.

Indeed, Ryan reached some high places during his semester in Alaska, including Castner Glacier, his favorite destination on the entire course. "We did a route that other NOLS students never finished because of inclement weather. When our group finally made it, we just went wild. I'll never forget that feeling of being on a mountain where hardly anyone else has ever been."

While the semester was a very personal experience, Ryan will always remember his group and the amazing tasks they could accomplish working together. "Our group got along great. We all just really clicked. At first, it felt like I was heading off on an expedition with twelve strangers. By the end of the trip, I was on a journey with friends.

Some of the trip's most challenging moments--being stuck in a tent with the--same people for three days were also great experiences. "Being in a group taught me a lot," says Ryan. "I'd never seen myself as a leader. I learned that it doesn't mean being the center of attention; what it really means is that people respect you and listen to your opinion."

Ryan hopes to take a NOLS instructor's course in the coming years and possibly pursue a career in wilderness medicine. In the meantime, he loves to tell others about his semester in Alaska. "Go for it," he tells friends. "It's going to be one of the best times of your life. At the end we could hardly believe what we'd accomplished."

Grad Profiles in Alphabetical Order

Pete Athans
Janice Bloom
David Breashears
Diane Brinkley
Carlos Buhler
Caroline Byrd
Archie Clemins
Columbia Crew
Mike DiDonna
Chris Gergen
John Grunsfeld
Ryan Hughes
Bruce Jacobsen
Sebastian Junger
Tom Kiernan
Alex Matthiessen
Tori McClure
Kitty Phillips
Guy Santiago
Tom Scott
Kat Taylor
Terri Watson
Louisa Willcox

NOLS Top of Page
NOLS Home About Us Courses Wilderness Medicine Institute NOLS Professional Training Alumni Store Donate Account NOLS Home Parents Press Room School Resources Photos NOLS.TV Events WRMC The NOLS Blog Introduction About Leadership History Mission & Values Profiles Partnerships Frequent Questions Find a Course Skills School Locations School Locations Leave No Trace Financial Aid Academic Credit Find a Course Skills School Locations Course Types Leave No Trace Financial Aid Academic Credit NOLS Pro Home 1-3 Day Courses 7-30 Day Courses Risk Management Staff Clients Design Your Course Contact NOLS Pro NOLS Pro 1-3 Days 7-30 Days Risk Management Clients Contact Us NOLS Pro Design Your Course NOLS Pro Staff Overview Outcome-based Curriculum Faculty Overview Outcome-based Curriculum Faculty Case Studies Overview Administrative Training Staff Training Consulting Conference: WRMC How to Apply Apply Online Download an Application Admission Policies WMI Home About WMI Courses Schedule FAQ Photos & Movies Curriculum Updates Employment Sponsors WMI Home About WMI Admissions Courses Schedule Host a Course Resources Gallery Alumni Home Trips and Events The Leader Alumni Chapters Employment Staying in Touch Volunteer Photos & Videos Home NOLS Photos NOLS.TV The NOLS Podcast NOLS on Flickr Leave No Trace Overview Leave No Trace Principles Leave No Trace Master Educator Courses Host a Course Contact Map of Events Dream Expedition Leadership Week Press Room Images for the Press Archives