Alumni Among Experts on Discovery Trip

July 11, 2019 / Andrea Wenger
Erin Hostetler '16, speaks with Discovery 2019 in San Francisco
Erin Hostetler '16, speaks with Discovery 2019 in San Francisco

Eastern Mennonite High School alumni were among the experts that Discovery 2019 participants heard from across the United States this past June as they traveled by motor coach to explore land, water, immigration, First Nations and other issues.

Erin Hostetler ‘16 met up with the group in San Francisco where she is studying this summer with Virginia Tech’s School of Architecture and Design. In a chapel at school earlier this spring, she shared how her own experience with Discovery in 2015 launched her career path.

Erin hosted the 2019 group on a walking tour and talked about architectural aspects of several buildings, including the Contemporary Jewish Museum. She invited students to draw the building. Sharing her own sketch of the building, she showed how she tends to draw — and look at things — from various angles, including cross-sections.

She encouraged students to draw as part of their journaling during Discovery and beyond. “It’s how I move through life and it helps me look at things from many angles,” she noted. “Journaling with drawing helps you develop your own language…Sketching breaks things down and helps you analyze in a new way.” Helpfully, she concluded, “I wish someone had encouraged me to do this on Discovery.”

Jessica Pease ‘07 spoke with the group at Avery Park in Corvallis, Oregon. Jessica is a postdoctoral research scholar with Oregon Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit of the Oregon State University Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. She received her PhD from Texas Tech University in 2018. Her dissertation focused on the effects of changing flow regimes and land-use patterns on Guadalupe Bass Micropterus treculii populations throughout the Colorado River Basin in central Texas.

While the group ate their picnic supper, Jessica, talked about her role as coordinator for stakeholders in the Siuslaw Watershed. In the role, she helps to manage and allocate water resources from towns to recreation areas. Her work helps endangered species in this watershed such as Steelhead, Coho and Chinook salmon.

Stephen Lowe ‘16 and Olivia Smucker ‘16 are working at Goshen (Indiana) College’s Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center, a 1,189 acre preserve containing a wetlands, lakeshores, upland and lowland forests, prairies and meadows. The group spent two days there, learning about water ecology in the wetlands, harvesting currents, raspberries, sour cherries, and helping to clean a barn.

Stephen and Olivia helped to host the group. Stephen is music education major at Goshen College, interning at the center this summer. Olivia is working this summer as a Faith Outreach Intern for Mennonite Creation Care. She is a communications major and theater minor at Goshen College. They are pictured here with Zach Bauman ‘19, who is headed to Goshen this fall and Kendal Bauman, a 1990 Goshen alumnus.

Karl Yoder, who attended EMHS till 2003 when he transferred to an international school, and his wife Jen, met up with the group along the beach near San Diego. Karl was especially happy to see his former soccer coach, Kendal Bauman. Karl is a project manager at 1798 Consultants in La Jolla, Calif., having worked previously as head of partner engagement for OpenBiomed, director of operations and director of clinical outreach for OnRamp BioInformatics. He earned a BA from Princeton University in public policy and international affairs, and a master of Pacific and International Affairs, environmental policy/China from US San Diego’s School International Relations and Pacific Studies.

Before seeing Karl in San Diego, the group met up with Marlin and Mary Yoder at Rocky Mountain National Park. The Yoders found the group at their campsite in the park, about 40 minutes from their home where they relocated in 2015. Marlin, a long-time math teacher at EMHS, has kept up his extreme running hobby in the mountains of Colorado and recently retired from another math teaching stint there. The couple moved to Colorado to be near daughter Allison ‘00 Yoder Seabeck in 2014.

EMHS alumni also helped lead the group

Andrea Schrock ‘82 Wenger, EMS director of advancement, joined as chaperone for the first half of the trip. Having a member of the school’s leadership team join the group is a good way for administration to be attuned to the value of this unique learning experience, noted leader Lee Good. This was Good’s fifth Discovery experience, the third that he led.

Alesha Melendez ‘15, picked up where Andrea left off, traveling with the group for the second half of the trip. Alesha is currently pursuing a master’s in education degree from James Madison University where she was named the “Most Promising Science Teacher” this past spring, awarded the Jeffrey R Tickle scholarship, and invited to join the National Science Teachers Association leadership team at JMU.

Alesha Melendez ’15 joined the group mid-point to chaperone. Her boyfriend Nevin Lehman ’15 surprised her on the trail in Glacier National Park. She said yes!

surprised Alesha on the trail in Glacier National Park, her first full day with the group. He flew out from Harrisonburg and, with a bit of collaboration with Discovery leaders, got out ahead of the group on their morning hike… She said yes!

Kyle Good ‘15 served as cook for the trip. This was Kyle’s fourth Discovery trip, having served as cook in 2017 and participating as a student in 2015 and as Lee’s son in 2011. Kyle graduated from Eastern Mennonite University in 2019 with a BA in liberal arts, having taken a gap year in 13-14 in Phillipi, West Virginia, with Mennonite Mission Network’s program Service Adventure.

Silas Driver ‘15 served as Discovery nurse. After one more semester at Eastern Mennonite University, he will graduate with a degree in nursing.

See more than 1,000 images and details of each stop on the group’s Facebook page.

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