NOLS Instructor since: 2000
Courses taught: Mountaineering, Sailing, Rock Climbing and Outdoor Educator
Paul Koubek says working at NOLS was a natural development in a 12-year career in outdoor education. He says that he values, “the time outdoors, the people with whom I work, and the opportunity to alter minds.”
A graduate of Reed College with a degree in German and Russian Literature, Paul studied and taught in Dresden, Germany under the auspices of a Fulbright Scholarship in 1996 and 1997. Paul then went on to work with adjudicated youth and with Outward Bound before coming to NOLS in 2000. In addition to leading NOLS courses, Koubek has completed numerous personal expeditions, including river trips on the Grand Canyon in 2002 and 2004, a post-Tsunami climbing trip to Thailand in January 2005 and a 1000km long motorcycle tour of India's Karnataka State, riding a Royal Enfield Bullet. In May of 2007 Paul worked as a volunteer climbing ranger, patrolling Denali's West Buttress route with the National Park Service. He was the first U.S. citizen to summit the mountain that year.
Koubek says that his favorite classes to teach on a NOLS course are the ones on land management because, “the issues are so relevant.” And he believes that the greatest lesson a NOLS student comes away with is a new perspective—“the chance to be removed from a familiar context and to live intensely and closely with a small group of people can be enlightening,” he says.