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Phil Schneider

Shawn Stratton

Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio
NOLS Instructor since: May 2001
Courses taught: Caving, Mountaineering, Backpacking and Winter sections
Locations: Southwest, Alaska and Rocky Mountains

As a trip leader with the Purdue Outdoor Club, Phillip Schneider, who graduated from Purdue University with a degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering, once backpacked a 56-mile trail in Indiana in 23 hours. A NOLS Instructor since 2001, Schneider has gone on numerous personal expeditions, including mountaineering trips to Alaska and three ascents of Mount Rainier in Washington, caving trips in Arizona, Wyoming, Utah, and New Mexico, and rock climbing in Zion National Park. When not working NOLS courses, Schneider also likes photography, playing ultimate frisbee, skiing in the Teton backcountry, and traveling to see friends and family.

Schneider says that he works for NOLS for a number of reasons, including the “variety, flexibility, great co-workers and working environment.”

“I’m helping people to learn real things about themselves and the world through the outdoors,” he says. “And it is rewarding.”
Schneider says that he likes to teach map classes on his NOLS courses because it is an ongoing process. “Topographic maps can be pretty complicated and they are hard to use at first. It is neat to see people move through the learning process and be pretty good at it by the end of a course in the backcountry,” he says. One of his favorite memories from a NOLS course happened on an Alaska Outdoor Educator course. It was July 4, 2002 and Schneider says that it was a grueling day of backpacking and river crossing, but that they enjoyed cooking dinner over a fire and “soaking up the 10 p.m. sunset of the Alaskan summer—they last forever.”

Schneider believes that one of the greatest lessons people learn on a NOLS course is to believe in themselves. His advice for anyone considering a course is to “go for it!”

“A NOLS course is a unique opportunity and it will be what you make of it,” he says.

Meet a few of the nearly 800 people who make NOLS the Leader…
Dave Anderson
Andy Bassett
Pip Coe
Matthew Copeland
Jim Ferguson
Victor Flores
Lindsay Nohl
Sarah Hueniken
Janeen Hutchins
Rey Johnston
Paul Koubek
Jen Lamb
Sarah Lancaster
Riley Hopeman
Brian Murphy
Fredrik Norrsell
Amy Rathke
Atila Rego-Monteiro
Katie Price
Kary Sommers
Phil Schneider
Shawn Stratton
Darran Wells
Missy White
Roger Yim

The Semester in the Southwest is one of the few courses at NOLS to experience the wild underground world. Here large stalagmites decorate Chimney Cave in Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico.
© Phil Schneider
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