Our goal at GO Outdoors is to provide a multitude of opportunities for outdoor recreation to the university community, while giving students the resources to help them become confident and capable leaders in the backcountry and in their daily lives. The position of Student Facilitator is a volunteer position aimed at developing student leadership skills through immersive experience in outdoor recreation. Student Facilitators are responsible for leading groups of students, faculty, and staff on a variety of outdoor excursions, including but not limited to: hiking, camping, backpacking, climbing, kayaking, and biking. Many of our participants are first-timers or beginners, thus facilitators must have very strong interpersonal skills and an ability to adapt to the needs of any group. GO Outdoors serves not only its student staff but the whole university community, so Student Facilitators must have the skills to facilitate participant development whilst maintaining a safe and positive environment for all involved. Students are compensated for their work though a variety of field experiences, certifications, and trainings. Facilitators are expected to attend and complete all training opportunities offered through GO Outdoors. Applicants for the position of Student Facilitator should know that this is a student development program that should be taken as seriously as any other job. Previous leadership experience is highly recommended and an interest in further leadership and personal development is required. Extensive outdoor experience is NOT required but will be taken into consideration.

Alex Slater

Yo, I’m Alex! I’m a sophomore majoring in Exercise Science, intending to pursue Physical Therapy. This is my first year as a Go Outdoors facilitator but, as an Eagle Scout, for sure not my first experience outdoors. My favorite outdoor activities include climbing, hiking, scuba diving, water skiing, kayaking. If I’m not outside, I’m usually in a pool, cooking something delicious or singing.

Victoria Swantek

Hey! I’m Victoria Swantek and I’m studying animal science at SEBS. This fall will be my first year as a Go Outdoors facilitator. My favorite outdoor activities are hiking, kayaking, and horseback riding. In my spare time you can find me at the barn, sometimes riding but mostly cleaning up horse poop.

Kevin Bornkamp

Hi! My name’s Kevin and I’m a senior majoring in Environmental and Resource Economics. I’ve always had a love for the outdoors, even though I am allergic to pretty much everything in it. From spelunking in Mexico to hiking in Costa Rica and camping in Maine, I’ve had great opportunities to go new places and do new things. I hope to continue that trend within GO Outdoors, and inspire people to do the same!

Meet Our Facilitators

Jordon Phillips

Hey, I am Jordon and I am a third year student studying History. This fall marks my second year as a GO Outdoors facilitator and leading trips for this program has been one of the most fulfilling experiences I have had during my time at Rutgers. My favorite outdoor activities are hiking, climbing, and kayaking.  When I’m not leading trips I like to spend my time exercising, climbing at the rock wall, or reading.

Humna Awan

Hi, I am Humna, a third-year PhD student in the Physics & Astronomy department. This year will be my first as a GO Outdoors facilitator and I am absolutely psyched — I have been a long time aficionado of outdoors and GO activities have been a tremendous resource to explore the area and rejuvenate. While my favorite activities (so far) include kayaking, hiking, snowboarding and horseback riding, I am looking forward to exploring more. Can’t wait for fun trips with exciting people!

Ryan Kostrzewa

My name is Ryan Kostrzewa and I have been in the outdoors since my parents took me on my first hike when I was a month old and rock climbing at 3 years old.  I am proud to say I have become an Eagle Scout and gained a greater understanding of how to be prepared.  Since then I have planned many of my own adventures such as scuba diving ship wrecks, hiking the Grand Canyon, and completing a 60 mile backpack/canoe trek down the Delaware River. I have three seasons I follow a year; snowboard season, hiking season, and football season. Go Eagles! This will be my fifth year at Rutgers studying Bio-Environmental Engineering and I have been on many trips through “Go Outdoors” but will begin my first year as a facilitator.

Nadia Saponara

Hi! My name is Nadia and I’m a sophomore majoring in environmental policy, institutions, and behavior. This will be my first year as a go outdoors facilitator. I love rock climbing, kayaking, running, and finding cool plants. My favorite foods are ice cream and raspberries. I also have a cat named scruffy who likes the woods even more than I do.

Anna Yu

What’s good! I’m Anna and my involvement in the outdoors started from a very young age. Road trips have been my thing for a while now, and I’m always looking for a rad adventure. Go Outdoors has allowed me to keep on exploring throughout my college experience at Rutgers, providing opportunities for professional advancement in outdoor recreation as well as creating a tight-knit group of outdoorsy people like me. This is my senior year and I’m proud to say I found my home away from home within this program. Come explore with us!

Brendon Pearsall

Hello! I’m Brendon Pearsall and this is my first year as a facilitator for GO outdoors. I’m a junior currently studying Agriculture and Food Systems, and my wife and I hope to own a small farm someday. My travels have included hiking in Portugal, cycling in Ireland, and caving in Cuba. I look forward to many more exciting trips with GO. In my free time you can find me woodworking in my home shop, or tending my garden. Hope to see you on the trails!

Tim Bransford

Howdy, I’m Tim Bransford and I’m a PhD candidate in the Biological Anthropology program. Besides studying wild orangutans in Borneo, I love to explore our natural treasures here in the US!  My favorite outdoor activities include hiking and backpacking, canoeing and kayaking, and of course the occasional motorcycle trip. GO Outdoors helped me discover some of the areas best kept secrets, and now I am excited to share similar experiences with others, whether you are trail-worn or a newbie!

Erin Dippold

Ayyy, my name is Erin Dippold and I’m a senior Chemical Engineering major. I like turtles, eating my way down Easton Ave, and long walks on the beach (well more like long walks in the woods, but beaches are nice too!).  This is my first year as a GO Outdoors facilitator and I really wish I had joined sooner because it has already been such a fun and rewarding experience!

Katie Jakubowski

Hi I’m Katie!  Im currently a junior studying Public Health and Human Resource Management.  I work at a golf course in the summer time and as a ski instructor in the winter.  My hobbies include skiing, playing golf, hiking, kayaking and running triathlons. My favorite food is ice cream and in my free time I like to exercise or play with my dogs.  Im super excited to be part of the GO Outdoors program and can’t wait to explore with you!

Sasha Leidman

Hi I’m Sasha, I’m a third year PhD student studying Greenlandic Geography at Rutgers. This will be my first year as a GO Outdoors facilitator and but I worked as a backpacking, sea kayaking, and whitewater rafting guides for six years in California. My favorite outdoor activities include mountaineering, whitewater kayaking, and ice climbing. If not outside adventuring, you can usually find me making maps and studying up on the effects of climate change. I’m excited to be a part of GO and get the chance to explore the East Coast some more.

Esha Rao

Aspiring to become a submarine officer and astronaut, I have always been curious and adventurous which is why I became a GO Outdoors facilitator. I am currently a sophomore majoring in Astrophysics and Mathematics as well as a Midshipman with the Rutgers Naval ROTC Unit. Some of my hobbies include hiking, watching Netflix, scuba diving, and eating chicken. With the time that I have on Earth, I want to explore as much of it as possible with others, so make sure to come along with us on one of our trips.

Nikita Jain

Hey! My name is Nikita, and I am a junior majoring in Chemical Engineering and minoring in Mathematics! This will be my first year as a GO Outdoors Facilitator. I grew up in Japan, and I love to travel. Traveling for me entails venturing outdoors and going hiking, backpacking, kayaking and embracing the natural beauties our world has to offer. I also enjoy photography, swimming, going on walks, or even just chilling in my room watching Netflix with my favorite comfort food, ramen noodles. I am excited to be a part of the GO team and see more of the East Coast!!

Stephanie Cain

Hello! My name is Steph and this is my first year as an GO Outdoors facilitator. I am a junior majoring in Cell Biology and Neuroscience and minoring in Environmental Studies, and being outdoors is essential to my happiness. I really enjoy climbing, hiking, camping, kayaking and trying as many new activities as possible! Fun fact: My love for hiking stems from me venturing into the woods to try to get over my irrational fear of snakes. They still freak me out but at least I awoke the adventurer within me!