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Senior Instructor/MOAEL Program Coordinator
MAT, Pacific University; BS, Physical Education, New Mexico State University
Adam Elson is a senior instructor in the OAL degree program and has taught at SOU since 2005. As one of the chief designers of the OAL curriculum, he has been a part of the program since its inception in 2008. Adam has professionally guided for 25 years in various fields, such as whitewater rafting, climbing, sea kayaking, backpacking and mountain biking. He lived in New Zealand for two years working at Outdoor Pursuit Centers which focus on delivering adventure education for grades 2-12, working mainly with high school students. He also led university adventure education groups on eight-week expeditions throughout New Zealand and Australia for several years. Adam is also a certified SCUBA Diving Instructor Trainer, having worked and lived in Hawaii, the Great Barrier Reef, and SE Asia. Adam is currently serving as the OAL Coordinator and teaches Outdoor Living Skills, Wilderness Navigation, Adventure Literature, Adventure Programming, Sustainability in Outdoor Programming, Advanced Techniques in Adventure Leadership, Expedition Planning, Mountain Biking, Whitewater Kayaking, Whitewater Rafting, Sea Kayaking, Backcountry Skiing/Splitboarding, Mountaineering and Avalanche Awareness & Rescue. Adam received his Bachelor of Science in Physical Education from New Mexico State University and his Master of Arts in Teaching from Pacific University. His focus in his Master’s program was on experiential education.
BS, Adventure Education, Northland College, 2000; Licensed Massage Therapist, Ashland Institute of Massage, December, 2010
Jon McLaughlin is an assistant instructor in the OAL degree program and a recent member of the OAL faculty team. He has a degree in Outdoor Education – Adventure Education from Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin. Jon has been a professional guide and instructor in various fields of outdoor education and industry for over 15 years. Some of these experiences include Field Instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) in river, canyoneering and backpacking courses; head kayak instructor, raft guide, canoe expedition in the Canadian Arctic and Marketing Director for Sawyer Paddles and Oars. Jon has studied massage therapy since 2010 and is has been a licensed massage therapist (LMT) in the state of Oregon since February 2011 focusing his business and practice in sports massage. Jon teaches Adventure Kinesiology. His passions reside in mountain biking, backcountry skiing, whitewater kayaking, canoeing, and rafting. Jon is currently a member of the US Men’s Whitewater Raft Team – Masters Division and competes around the world with his team.
Michele A. Pavilionis
B.S. Southern Oregon University 2011; M.I.I.S Southern Oregon University 2020
Michele grew up in small-town Ashland Oregon, spending time in the woods and hiking the local trails since she was a youth. A mother of two, Michele has been a naturalist and educator in the outdoors for over 20 years. Former lead instructor and creator for an outdoor wilderness survival program for preschoolers. Experience includes training as a circle facilitator for female youth circles; level one challenge course facilitation; wilderness first aid and responder certification; basic archery and Qigong instructor. She is trained and practiced in mindfulness-based, non-violent communication skills as well as restorative justice mediation. Michele earned her bachelor’s degree with a major in Early Childhood Development, minoring in OAL and NAS. Michele focused her master’s degree in Holistic Education, building on to curriculum combining the interdisciplinary aspects of Outdoor Adventure Leadership and Native American Studies, with recent certifications in NAS and Holistic Education from SOU. She has been a presenter at AORE and PGMONE, and continues to support diversity, equity, and inclusion in the outdoors.
Senior Instructor/OAL Chair
MIIS, Southern Oregon University; BS, Southern Oregon University
Erik Sol is a senior instructor in the OAL degree program and has been at SOU for 12 years, 5 years as the Outdoor Program Coordinator and 7 years as a faculty member. Erik has professionally guided and instructed for the past 25 years in various outdoor fields, particularly as a whitewater rafting guide, taking him to Nepal, Tibet, India, New Zealand, Chile and throughout the United States. He is a Rescue 3 International Swiftwater and Technical Rope Rescue Instructor and teaches Backcountry Split-Boarding, Wilderness First Responder, Avalanche Rescue, Whitewater Rafting, Ski and Boat maintenance, Minimal Impact Adventuring, Rock Climbing, Outdoor Living skills, Practicum, Capstone projects and Expedition Planning. Erik’s passion no doubt revolves around whitewater rafting and backcountry split-boarding.
PhD, Prescott College, Sustainability Education, 2010; MEd, Education with Honors, Portland State University, 2002; BA, History and Spanish with Honors, Portland State University, 2000
Dr. Thatcher has spent his whole life exploring and adventuring throughout the world. His passion centers around exploration and helping others discover their inner explorer. He is an accomplished guide, educator, and administrator of outdoor, experiential, international, and adventure education for over 25 years. He has an extensive background in developing and implementing interdisciplinary curriculum that incorporates adventure, international, sustainable and academic components. He brings hands on experience with conceiving and building adventure education programs from the ground up through curriculum development, risk management, staff development, marketing, program management, administration, planning, technical knowledge and effective communication.
SOU Outdoor Adventure Leadership Program
1250 Siskiyou Blvd.
Ashland, OR 97520
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