Category Archives: Interdisciplinary Studies

Alumni Spotlight: Ben Bishop

Ben Bishop, a Sierra Nevada College alumnus, using his videography and photography skills throughout the world.

Ben Bishop, a Sierra Nevada College alumnus, using his videography and photography skills throughout the world.

By Justine Nelson

Ben Bishop, now an outdoor action sports filmmaker and photographer whose work appears on ROXY, ESPN, Red Bull Media House and National Geographic, reflected on how Sierra Nevada College prepared him to be successful in the professional World.

“Life has been all over the place since graduation, lots of projects with many different people and companies all over the globe. I feel very thankful for all of them”. He explained that the most valuable thing he learned at SNC was to engage and reach out for mentoring and advice to overcome obstacles. As a veteran world traveler who frequently clocks six months straight of travel and work in places like China, Japan, Canada, Colorado, Utah, he says, “I don’t think I would be anywhere if it weren’t for SNC”.

Ben says SNC guided him to identify a path he is truly passionate about through the unique academic experience of tailoring his major to his specific skills and interests. “I had to bring all these skill sets together in a multidisciplinary way…and that is what my career is now. It was valuable being able to be at a small school that had the ability to adapt and say, ‘I’m really interested in the outdoor realm; I’d like a degree in it, and then have my advisors help formulate a program.”

In 2014, Ben has just returned from a trip to the Arrigetch peaks in the Gates of the Arctic on a trip for National Geographic. He first joined the expedition as an aid to carry equipment for the camera crew, but when he was handed a camera he jumped in to help shoot the rock climbing documentary. Afterwards, he and a friend rafted the Atlanta River in pack rafts for a total of 140 miles in 7 days. “With a lot of time to reflect, I am very thankful for the knowledge I obtained from SNC so I could head off on adventures like the Arctic on my own.”

Aside from filming, Ben also loves to shoot still photography on his travels. He says, “It is a medium that I have always loved but have never considered as a career”. He is hired occasionally to help people with their photographic needs, and a few of his images have been published, but he says having a secondary film camera allows him to personally document his trips. On the Atlanta River trip when he visited the small Native Village of Allakaket he said, “I was completely taken by what I was experiencing; it’s remote, there’s no running water or roads that lead to or from the village and I wanted to show people what I saw there. Instead of filming, which is very specific and sometimes can take a lot of time to tell the smallest of stories, I chose to shoot photos instead. To me, photography in this situation spoke much more, and that is why I have chosen to consistently carry an additional camera around. In the near future, I intend to release a photo book of my personal work from many of my trips.”

Justine Nelson is studying Art & Psychology. She is interested in the power of thought and intention.

Alumni Spotlight: Nick Cahill

Nick Cahill excelled in an internship with Force 12 Media, turning the opportunity into a position with the media company as their videographer and photographer.

Sierra Nevada College alumnus Nick Cahill excelled in an internship with Force 12 Media, turning the opportunity into a position with the media company as their videographer and photographer.

By Justine Nelson

Nick Cahill graduated from Sierra Nevada College in 2013 as an Interdisciplinary Digital Arts and Management major and is now the Media Director at a the well-established niche publication company, Force 12 Media. Force 12 Media focuses on outdoor and military content which is distributed to over 40 million viewers monthly.

Cahill focuses on video and photography for the site and is also currently working on expanding their network to reach Apple TV and Netflix. Go to the “Team” tab on the website to see Nick’s bio or scroll down on the home page to see the various websites Force 12 Media provides content for: navyseals.com, specialoperations.com, etc.

In addition, Nick just recently landed a cover image with National Geographic “Guide to the Night Sky” book set to be published in print fall of 2015.

Nick first picked up video and photography during his schooling at SNC, taking photographs of the race car he built, as well as videos of his friends enjoying the sweet adventures of life. Cahill also feels very thankful for his education he received at SNC.

Nick Cahill continues to make Lake Tahoe his home base, while traveling the world for Force 12 Media.

Nick Cahill continues to make Lake Tahoe his home base, while traveling the world for Force 12 Media.

“I owe Chris Lanier and Rick Parsons a huge thank you for guiding my photography and video skills, and pushing me to research beyond my knowledge and obtain a wider grasp on these incredible art forms”. Cahill also mentioned that it was through Lanier and SNC that he was introduced to Force 12 as an internship. He is now a successful member of their team.

Cahill still lives in Tahoe, and even though his job allows him to work anywhere, he chooses to stay here because of the tax benefits and lifestyle. “Lake Tahoe remains a home to me that fosters my creativity and love for the outdoors”. On the side, Cahill also has a passion for landscape and music photography. His works appear all around the Tahoe Basin, and he says he will continue to push his connections around the globe. You can check out his personal work at cahillfilms.com.

Justine Nelson is studying Art & Psychology. She is interested in the power of thought and intention.

Holistic Sustainability Film Night creates awareness

1495267_10154860394870232_9097612480930717245_oDuring the 2014 fall semester, senior Rachael Blum added a honors component to the International Environmental Issues course. She chose to host a short-film film festival with discussions between each film. The project came to fruition through the course, after instructor Brennan Lagasse and Blum were discussing how the rest of the SNC community  does not have access to the Sustainability curriculum. This idea was also acknowledged at a Justice Club meeting with current and former students at the time. The students agreed that a discussion-based space must be made accessible to the entire campus.

The Holistic Sustainability Film Night was created, featuring a variety of short films highlighting biodiversity, desertification, capitalism, and welfare with discussions between each. Faculty Brennan Lagasse, Samantha Bankston, and Bob King were present as experts in the topics and aided in facilitating the discussions.

Approximately 23 people attended, and the event was cut short after 3.5 hours spent viewing and discussing the films. Those in attendance were happy to have a space made available to ask questions, express views, and learn about these issues. Snacks were provided by Uncommon Kitchen and the Justice Club. This also benefitted Kelly Benson’s coat drive for Project Mana. Overall, the event was successful.

Films that were shown include: Forest Man, Freegans: Living Outside of Capitalism, Love and Capitalism, How Welfare Does Not Work the Way You Think.  All movies can be found on Films For Action.

 

SNC organizes warm winter clothing drive again

A winter clothing drive, which was an idea born in the Social Justice Club, contributed over 150 warm items for underprivileged families in North Lake Tahoe.

Sierra Nevada College Senior Kelly Benson has organized the coat drive for the past two years. After collecting items for six weeks at five drop-off locations, the warm clothing was distributed by Project Mana on Dec. 17.  An article about SNC’s gift to the community was published Dec. 23, 2014, in the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza.

Kelly is majoring in Global Business Management, but has a strong interest in sustainability and social justice.

“I thought that it would be really interesting to learn about even if it’s not the career path that I choose, because it includes things that you can implement into your daily life,” Benson said.  “And so, coming here and having that be a major, and knowing that I could just learn what it means to be sustainable. Then, my mind was blown when I learned about Social Sustainability, because I didn’t even think about that before I got here. I started thinking holistically about the term, the environment and the people.”

Justice Club adviser Brennan Lagasse hopes to rally enough students in the fall to continue Kelly’s work for next year’s warm clothing drive.

Ecowatch publishes articles by Sustainability students

Arctic-Sustainability-2014-450-1

Professor Brennan Lagasse and six students from Sierra Nevada College had a once-in-a-lifetime cultural experience with the Gwich’in tribe in August 2014 in Arctic Circle, Alaska.

SNC students who visited the Gwich’in Tribe in the remote town of Arctic Village, Alaska last summer, are sharing their experiences through a series of articles on Ecowatch.

Two of the six articles have been published at this point, detailing the sustainability issues the Gwich’in tribe faces as proposed oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would threatens the “Caribou people’s” way of life. The first article, “How Drilling in ANWR would threathen the Gwich’in People’s Way of Life,” was written by Rachael Blum and published Feb. 9. The second article, “Trash or Treasure?,” was written by Aaron Vanderpool and published March 5.

Six students were able to stay in the village for a week and learn about the Gwich’in culture because Gwich’in Tribal Elder Sarah James invited SNC Adjunct Professor Brennan Lagasse to come and visit the tribe in Arctic Village, Alaska. Lagasse jumped on the rare and precious invitation to stay a week in the Alaskan village with James and her tribe, and the students traveled to Alaska in August 2014.

Brennan Lagasse, adjunct professor in Sustainability

Brennan Lagasse, adjunct professor in Sustainability

Ecowatch has chosen Sierra Nevada College as one of its university partners and will showcase work by Sustainability students at the college. Ecowatch is a website reporting on environmental news, green living and sustainable business. As portion of its coverage, the website says it features content from students around the world, providing a venue for the millennial generation to voice their environmental concerns.

Lagasse said the affiliation with Ecowatch is a great way to show off the work the Sustainability program is doing, and encourage students that their work can make a difference in the “real world” as well as get published.

Scout Sorcic presents “Backcountry Games” at LA conference

Scout is a rockstar and a stellar ambassador of the ODAL Program.

Scout is a rockstar and a stellar ambassador of the ODAL Program.

Scout Sorcic (an Outdoor Adventure Leadership and Ski Business & Resort Management major) not only attended, but also presented at the Western Regional Outdoor Leadership Conference (WROLC) in Los Angeles this month.

Yeow! Here are her highlights from the adventure!

Highlights from Scout:

  • Being a solo presenter from Tahoe surrounded by  huge schools from Southern California and being the only one to present twice.
  • Having 46 people show up for her Backcountry Games Workshop. She also received 18 emails WROLCfrom enthusiastic conference attendees with new games to add to her growing list, found on her blog, YeeHaw Backcountry Games.
  • Learning about post grad positions and how to better apply for outdoor jobs
  • Sunny and 75°
  • Explaining to people that outdoor ed is her degree, not just a hobby.
  • WROLC5Hearing Brendan Leonard speak. He is the author of the “New American Roadtrip Mix tape” and owner of Semi-Rad.com

WROLC6

Sustainability in the Arctic

Arctic-Sustainability-2014-450-1The Gwich’in town of Arctic Village lies north of the Arctic Circle and just south of the border of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), often called “the last great wilderness.”

In August, six SNC students met SNC Professor Brennan Lagasse in Fairbanks AK and took a bush plane to Arctic Village, to share the traditions of the Gwich’in Tribe and experience firsthand the majesty and vulnerability of ANWR. Those students will be sharing their experiences at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 1, in Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences Room 106. The event is free and open to the public.

The once in a lifetime opportunity for SNC students resulted from tribal elder Sarah James’s respect for Professor Lagasse’s previous work with Indigenous peoples, and the tribe’s commitment to make “friends in the south” to advocate for their environment and way of life.

During their time in Arctic Village, students went hunting and fishing with their hosts; participated in elder celebrations, and many interviews and discussions with local tribal members; ate traditional meals of caribou, fry bread, and ground squirrel; and hiked and camped amongst the rugged peaks of the Brooks Range.

The experience is one that excites Lagasse about the sustainability program at SIerra Nevada College. He was quote in an Eagle’s Eye story as saying, “What we did in Alaska, that’s it man. I guarantee any liberal arts school, any progressive sustainability program, anybody sees that and knows what’s up in the sustainability world would look at that say ‘Wow, that’s cool.’

Welcome back English & Journalism majors!

Welcome back English BA, BFA and New Media Journalism majors and minors! The English Department is holding a get together this Friday to celebrate your return and hear about your summer adventures!

Come on over to DiMaggio’s (800 Tahoe Blvd) from 4-6 p.m. this Friday and the English Program will cover a variety of free pizzas and soda (you’re on your own for any other beverages). Bonus beverages for anyone who beats Dr. Bob King at pool. 

Field Experience to take students to remote Alaskan village

Chandalar_River_near_Arctic_Village

The Chandalar River near Arctic Village, Alaska. Photo by William Troyer of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Students will be camping in the Arctic Village of the Gwich’in Tribe, while learning about the potential impacts of petroleum exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) during a Sustainability field course in August.

Sustainability Instructor Brennan Legasse will lead a group of 5-7 students to Alaska on Aug. 6-15. This field trip intends to immerse students in the Arctic environment to help them better understand the traditional and contemporary lives of Indigenous people living in Arctic Village, those that advocate for ecosystem health in the local bioregion, and how the world’s dependence on a finite, polluting resource compromises the attainment of holistic sustainability.

Besides exploring the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, the students will be meeting with tribal elders about climate change and tribal members about socio-cultural issues born from colonization and proposed resource extraction plans.

The Arctic Village Visitor Center.

The Arctic Village Visitor Center.
Photo by Wazefaire via Wikimedia Commons

The cost of the course is just under $3,000, including airfare, food, a one-night stay in Fairbanks, camping fees, and a tribal donation. The course number is Sustainability 381 for those interested in signing up.

Students will live in Arctic Village, camping during their trip and will have daily interdisciplinary engagements that touch on Outdoor Adventure Leadership, Sustainability, and Environmental Science. This is a special opportunity to live with members of the Gwich’in Tribe, visit the wild landscape of ANWR, and address issues of sustainability through an intimate experience in a unique place.

 

Good Morning Truckee! Let’s talk journalism

Good Morning Truckee! Every table was filled, and nearly every place marked by hot coffee, as Truckee-Donner Chamber members gathered in the Tahoe-Truckee Airport Conference Room for the community breakfast forum. Each month a different subject is featured and this month’s topic was “The Changing Landscape of Media.”

Tanya Canino, reading the news, as always.

Tanya Canino, reading the news, as always.

As a longtime journalist in the area and the journalism instructor at Sierra Nevada College, I was invited to be the panel discussion moderator for the morning. On the panel were Michael Gelbman, publisher of the Sierra Sun and North Lake Tahoe Bonanza, Mayumi Elegado, owner and publisher of Moonshine Ink, Katherine Hill, owner and publisher of The Weekly, JD Hoss, of KTKE 101.5 FM, Eric Brandt of Tahoe TV and Robert Grossman of Lake Tahoe TV News.

Chamber organizers asked me to talk about my 25-year career in the area and then give an overview of the changing media landscape, before asking thought-provoking questions of our panel.

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