Course Catalog

« Return to Course Catalog

Brown Environmental Leadership Lab: Alaska

Course registration will be available for this course once it is scheduled.

Course Description

Study with Brown University in Alaska!

BELL is a unique outdoor learning laboratory. The courses draw their curricula from many different disciplines: history, biology, geology, economics, environmental studies, and leadership theory. In this course, students will travel to southern Alaska to experience, first-hand, the beauty and complexities of present-day Alaska. Learning will be fast-paced, experiential, and include widely diverse perspectives.

Over the course of 2-weeks, you will explore the issues Alaska Natives face when trying to balance cultural and environmental preservation with economic growth. Our life choices, world-wide, have a direct impact on trade-offs between conservation and consumption that play out on the Alaskan stage. This program will specifically focus on current environmental issues in Alaska with relevance around the globe.

We will specifically focus our learning around:
-Alaska Native history and cultural preservation
-Arctic marine and terrestrial ecosytems
-Oil exploration and extraction
-Socially-responsible leadership
-Sustainable harvests of salmon

For more information, please see the program website:

*Although the BELL program is co-educational, students will spend 2 nights in yurts while the group is on the Kenai Peninsula. Yurts are separated by gender, therefore it is critical that we track registrations by gender in order to accommodate the single sex nature of our overnight lodgings. If you have questions about this designation, please contact us at 401-863-7900.

If you are female, please enroll in CRN 10682.
If you are male, please enroll in CRN 10861.

Prerequisites: None

Staff Bios

Dave Atcheson is the Evening Education Coordinator at Kenai Peninsula College. He is also an author, whose latest book is Dead Reckoning, Navigating a Life on the Last Frontier, Courting Tragedy on its High Seas, a memoir based on his days as a commercial fisherman. He is also the author of National Geographic's Hidden Alaska: Bristol Bay and Beyond and the guidebook Fishing Alaska's Kenai Peninsula. He has written for a variety of periodicals, from Outdoor Life to Boys' Life, and is a frequent contributor to Alaska Magazine and past contributing editor for Fish Alaska Magazine.

Gil Carr has been living in Alaska for six years now. He moved up to AK sight-unseen from NY for an MS in Outdoor and Environmental Education and has been working as a recreational therapist for the last four years. He's done such things as been a NOLS instructor, Appalachian Trail thru-hiker, and has managed a team building and climbing center. He's been working with Brown for three years and is stoked to share Alaskan insights and issues with the rad students who attend BELL AK.

G. Maris Jones graduated from Brown University​ in 2015​​, where she was a member of the Climate and Development Lab,​ with a B.A. in Anthropology and Portuguese & Brazilian Studies.​ ​Since graduation, Maris has facilitated experiential education programs focused on environmental stewardship and indigenous knowledge systems for youth in Hawai'i, as well as aquatic ecosystems and sustainability in Portugal. In the fall, Maris will begin working towards a PhD in Anthropology​ to research the ways vulnerable, marginalized communities in coastal areas and small island states are adapting to climate change. ​She is beyond excited to ​be a part of ​the BELL Alaska​ team​ ​​​​for a third summer​.​

Eric LeFlore is a Ph.D. candidate in the Dept. of Environmental Conservation at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass). He has always been fascinated by the interactions between large mammals and people and his dissertation research focuses on addressing human-lion conflict in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. Over the last few years, Eric lived and worked closely with rural villagers in northern Botswana to test potential conflict mitigation strategies. He received a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Connecticut College in 2011 and a M.S. in Environmental Conservation at UMass in 2014 for his work studying coyotes, red fox and gray fox in Massachusetts. In addition to his studies, Eric works with the Division of Migratory Birds at the US Fish & Wildlife Service. Eric is a BELL alum, having participated in the program throughout his own high school years, and has remained active with Brown’s Leadership Institute in a variety of capacities since then.

Genevieve O'Connell graduated from Columbia University with a B.A. in Neurobiology and Behavior. She worked in molecular biology research labs for about a decade after graduation. Throughout, she taught adventure programs on weekends, getting to know amazing people and helping them to build strong communities. In time, she decided to make her weekend job, as an experiential educator, her full time job. She has since worked with Project Adventure, Boston University's Sargent Center, and The Browne Center at UNH. She also served as the Director of Education at Hale Reservation and the Challenge Course Director at Haffenrefer for Brown's Pre-College Programs. Recently, Gen has created curriculum for the Master's degree in Education as a Design Fellow at the brand new Woodrow Wilson Academy at MIT. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, rock climbing, making her own knitting patterns and traveling to beautiful natural places.

Dr. Robin Rose has served at Brown for 37 years in several key senior positions. In addition to serving as Senior Associate Dean for Summer Programs at Brown, she was the founder and on-site director for the Leadership Institute, BELL Rhode Island, BELL Hawaii, BELL Louisiana and BELL Alaska. She loves working with and learning from young people. Throughout her career she has been a creative force in utilizing experiential and place based learning to inspire young leaders. Her leadership in these roles has earned her a national reputation for innovation. She currently serves as Senior Advisor to the Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Dean of the School of Professional Studies.