Aerie instructors are a diverse group, sharing at least three qualities essential for a wilderness medicine instructor. All Aerie instructors are:
- Skilled, enthusiastic and knowledgeable instructors (we are going to count that as one quality!)
- Experienced in a wide variety of outdoor interests and professions
- Involved in health care, almost all professionally, almost all with a minimum of EMT certification
We work closely with our medical director, Greg Moore, MD, and our Board of Advisors to ensure that our curriculum is current and our teaching techniques appropriate. Read through their biographies. Contact them individually or through our office with questions.
In reality, the above qualities form only a baseline standard for employment at Aerie. What you will find truly unique about our staff is their commitment to service. They arrive at class eager to provide the training you need, to answer your individual questions, and to be a resource for you after the course ends. Many Aerie graduates have changed their careers or specialities after taking our courses. Why? In most cases, they tell us it is because of their instructors' inspiration. Sounds corny, but it's true. Most of our staff are Aerie graduates who found something in their instructor that inspired them to work with us. While we don't expect that every graduate will become an Aerie employee, we do expect that their course will have an impact far beyond the topic of wilderness first aid.
Gaytri Bhatia, Instructor
BA Environmental Studies, Mount Holyoke College; WFR
Originally from Bombay, India, Gaytri grew up without much separation from the outdoors - swimming oceans, running along hills, loitering in forests. She worked for 7 years in Boston as an environmental consultant to the US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). Following this, she returned to India, splitting her time between agriculture (producing fruits and herbs) and backpacking (working as an Instructor with the National Outdoor Leadership School).
Bryan Bennett, Instructor
WEMT, Advanced-EMT, Avalanche 1, B.S. Psychology and Biology
Bryan Bennett was raised in Salt Lake City, UT where he first discovered his passion for the outdoors through skiing and climbing in the Wasatch Mountains. His first experience with emergency medicine was in 2006 when he attained his EMT basic. In 2007 he moved to Missoula and attended the University of Montana. During college Bryan worked in an emergency room and a neuroscience laboratory. When Bryan isn’t working he is traveling the world, rafting rivers, and backcountry skiing.
Ryan Berube, Instructor
WEMT-B, Swiftwater Rescue Technician, Level 1 Avalanche
A current member of the US Coast Guard, I'm proud to call Montana home and look forward to further delving into the medical community. Growing up exploring the White Mountains of New Hampshire and beyond, the West has become my gateway to further adventures and practice of my favorite hobbies, including rock climbing, backpacking, mountain biking, and fishing.
Joe Blattner, Instructor, Management Director
WEMT; NREMT-B; Lead Instructor & Advanced EMT (Montana); Level I Avalanche; Swiftwater Rescue Technician; Rope Rescue Technician I/II
Originally from Illinois, Joe now calls Missoula, Montana home. He started work with Aerie in 2006. Joe has taught and lectured at all levels of Aerie courses. In addition to teaching he manages a number of operations within Aerie.
Joe is a long-time member of Missoula County Search and Rescue. He’s currently the acting chief of that rescue unit. Joe has taught for the University of Montana since 2010, primarily teaching pre-hospital medical classes. Outdoor pursuits have brought him to guide river trips, work industrial river accidents, and climb high-altitude mountains throughout the world.
Joe graduated from the University of Montana with an associate degree in Information Technology. He went on to complete a Bachelor of Applied Science with significant coursework in pre-hospital emergency medicine and wilderness rescue management.
In his free time, Joe enjoys hiking, sleeping in wind-laden tents, being away from technology.
Samantha Boucher, Instructor
ASN, RN, and ACLS
Sam grew up in Northern Wisconsin and fell in love with the woods at a young age. At 18, she moved to Maine to attend the University of Maine, Augusta and acquired her Nursing Degree. While in Maine she fell in love with the ocean and first began exploring nutrition and herbalism as alternatives and complements to western medicine. She moved to Montana in 2013, and has been loving every second here. She spent some time WWOOFing at the Nine Mile Schoolhouse and currently she is working in Home Health as a nurse. In her spare time, she is learning as much as she can about wildcrafting, fly fishing, essential oils, gardening, ultralight backpacking, cooking,and, of course, wilderness medicine.
AEMT, WEMT, BAM, Rope Rescue Technician
I am originally from France and have called Montana my home for several years. I have always loved the mountains, and my favorite outdoors interests include alpine and backcountry skiing, snowboarding, rock climbing, ice climbing and mountaineering. I have been lucky enough to enjoy those activities throughout the European Alps, both as a civilian and as a member of an alpine military unit. In addition to teaching with Aerie at the Wilderness EMT level, I work as a pro ski patroller during the winter and am currently working towards a RN-BSN degree. I am also a member of our county's Search and Rescue unit, and volunteer with the local ambulance service every chance I get. I sincerely believe in Aerie's statement: "Caring for injured or sick people is a privilege. Preparing people for this service is Aerie's mission." I am proud to contribute to this mission, and grateful for the opportunity to keep learning.
Darcy Chenoweth, Instructor
BSN; R.N; WEMT-B
Darcy Chenoweth’s first impressions of the world were shaped in Colorado by high winds, biting cold, rugged mountains and sunshine. Unable to tear herself away from the Rocky Mountains she currently lives in an off-the-grid, straw bale home at the base of the Mission Mountains with her husband. When not working on her house, Darcy teaches avalanche courses for the West Central Montana Avalanche Foundation, emergency medicine for Aerie Backcountry Medicine and helps implement courses in the Indian Himalaya for the Nature-Link Institute. She is currently pursuing ceramics while juggling her teaching jobs and enjoying a sabbatical from Emergency Department nursing. She has been a professional ski patroller and spent time volunteering for Denali Mountain Rescue in Alaska. Darcy has had the incredible fortune to experience places such as Tanzania, Costa Rica, South America, India, and the mountains throughout North America pursuing professional roles, all the while seeking remote mountains in these places to ski and climb for pure enjoyment. Regardless of why or where, Darcy continually feels drawn to the vertical world.
Jay Corti, Instructor
Born and raised in Montana Jay grew up skiing, biking and hunting. After 10 years of competitive mogul skiing, he now coaches athletes year round. Now attending Montana State University to finish a Bachelors in Exercise Science with plans to go to Paramedic School after graduation. I still love to be outdoors any excuse I can get. Aerie provides me a great opportunity to travel and teach in the great outdoors.
Eagle Cruz, Instructor
WEMT; Level 2 Avalanche; OEC, practitioner of the Rolf Method of Structural Integration, Upledger Institute of Osteopathy
I live in Frenchtown, MT with my wife Victoria and my two teenage children, our daughter Sophie and son Hunter. We also have an extended animal family with 4 horse, 2 dogs, 2 cats. I am a graduate of Aerie’s WEMT class in 1999. I was a volunteer on the Frenchtown Rural Fire District Ambulance Service for ten years and am the assistant director of Snowbowl’s Pro Patrol. Between ski patrol and ambulance service I have been active in the EMS system for 12 years. I’ve studied martial arts for 30 years and teach kids and adults karate at Viking Martial Arts in Frenchtown. In my free time I enjoy skiing, fly fishing and hunting with my family.
I never imagined myself actually teaching emergency medicine, but the more I teach, the more I realize how much I enjoy sharing what I really love to do.
Jaime Dibrowa, Instructor
BSN, RN, Rush University, WEMT-B, BS Recreation Management and Spanish, University of Montana
Jaime teaches all levels of courses. She lives in Boulder, Colorado and works as an RN in the ER in Denver. She loves everything outdoors, but particularly climbing (rock and ice), cross-country skiing, snowboarding, triathlons, wilderness tracking and survival. She has rock climbing and white water rafting guide experience, and has taught for Aerie since 2001. Currently she is working on a Master's degree in Nursing as a Family Nurse Practitioner. She also teaches nursing students at the University of Colorado.
Danielle Donovan, Instructor
W-EMT, A-EMT, R.N., ACLS, PALS, Level II Avalanche
I was born and raised in the Boston area, but often found myself feeling more at home while skiing, hiking, camping, or riding my horse in the mountains throughout New England. Having always been drawn to the west, I made the decision to relocate to Montana in 2004. In 2006 I completed my WFR with Aerie, which unexpectedly ignited my interest for emergency medicine. This ultimately led me to complete my W-EMT with Aerie in 2008. Since then, I have gained valuable working experience as a Professional Ski Patroller at Grand Targhee Resort, and through continuing to follow my passion for healthcare by pursing an education in nursing. In that time, I also spent 5 seasons living and working on a backcountry, wilderness trail crew on the Bitterroot National Forest. I currently work as an Emergency Department RN at a rural hospital in Big Sky, Montana. Along with wilderness medicine, my passions include rock climbing, skiing, hiking with my dogs, riding my horse in the mountains, and traveling internationally. I have been working with Aerie since the fall of 2012. I take great pride in working for the organization that helped instill in me a passion for emergency medicine, and hope that I can do the same for my future students.
Megan Fisher, Instructor
BS Health & Human Performance, emphasis in Athletic Training, Certified/Licensed Athletic Trainer & WEMT-B
Meg is proud of her Canadian roots and is thrilled to call Montana home. Like many Missoulians, Meg has a diverse background that lends itself well to teaching a variety of subjects. Meg has been a Certified Athletic Trainer since 2006, and currently works for Alpine Physical Therapy where she evaluates, treats, and rehabilitates athletic injuries. She works at the University of Montana as an adjunct instructor for the HHP Department. Meg also trains and races with the US Paralympic Cycling and Triathlon Teams. In her free time, she loves to get outside and adventure with her dogs mountain biking, hiking, and cross country skiing.
Chris Flory, Instructor
AEMT; WEMT-B; Swiftwater First Responder; Hazmat Operations Technician; B.S. Biomedical Engineering
Chris first fell in love with the great outdoors during college, where he led climbing, backpacking, canoeing and caving trips throughout Appalachia with the Johns Hopkins Outdoors Club. Since earning his WEMT in 2011, Chris has worked for ambulance services in Sterling, VA, and Olympia, WA, and is proud to be able to share those experiences and his passion for emergency medicine as an Aerie instructor. He is currently pursing Paramedic studies and is still actively involved in biomedical engineering in addition to teaching for Aerie. In his rare free moments, Chris seeks adventure rock and ice climbing, alpine skiing, cycling, running and paddleboarding.
Nikos Galpin-Plattner, Instructor
Originally from Denver, CO I was introduced to the wilds at an early age. I moved to Montana at the age of 18 and began my wilderness medicine career in 2009 when I recieved my EMT through Aerie. My ski patrol career started on the Snowbowl pro patrol that same season where I worked for 4 years. I recently moved back to Colorado to work on the patrol at Arapahoe Basin and enjoy living in the mountains. When I'm not working I enjoy fishing, skiing, mountaineering and camping.
Fernando Giaccaglia, Instructor
WEMT; Swiftwater Rescue Technician
My passion for the outdoors began in my home town of Mar del Plata in Argentina where close proximity to the ocean led me to become a competitive swimmer and later a triathlete. Competing throughout Central and South America introduced me to Costa Rica and a career as an adventure guide with Coast to Coast Adventures. Mountain biking, hiking and rafting in some of the most remote and spectacular locations for twenty years has kept me busy. I have been a Wilderness EMT for over ten years and have been teaching with Aerie that entire time, instructing wilderness EMT, wilderness first responder and wilderness first aid classes throughout the US as well as in Costa Rica and Mexico. I translated Aerie's wilderness medicine text into Spanish and assist running Aerie's free health clinic in Costa Rica each year.
Skeet Glatterer, Instructor
Skeet Glatterer is a Cardiothoracic Surgeon living in Golden, Colorado. He is the Medical Director and Chairman of the Medical Committee for the Mountain Rescue Association. He has a strong interest in the outdoor application of medicine and has been active in the Wilderness Medical Society for over 10 years. Skeet has taught multiple courses at the Colorado Mountain Club where he founded the Mountain Medicine Section. He is an expedition physician for guided mountain trips from Alaska to Russia, Africa, and Nepal. Skeet is an OEC (Outdoor Emergency Care) Instructor Trainer, ski patrols at Copper Mountain Resort in Colorado, and is a member of the Alpine Rescue team in Evergreen, Colorado. His most recent adventure was as a volunteer Climbing Ranger and member of the Denali Rescue Team in Alaska.
Trenton Harper, Instructor
Critical Care Paramedic, WEMT; ACLS (instructor), PALS (instructor), PHTLS (instructor), AWLS, TCCC, Swiftwater Rescue Technician, Avalanche Level 1
Originally from West Virginia, I grew up with an affinity for the mountains which sparked an early interest in the natural world and the traditional skills of land-based peoples. I spent a number of years practicing and teaching wilderness survival skills before coming to Montana in 2001. I was drawn into the world of emergency medicine through my desire to be more self sufficient in the backcountry; the unintended result has been an immersion in society as a professional care provider. I have worked as a paramedic-ranger for Yellowstone National Park, volunteered with Missoula Search and Rescue, and have provided medical relief in Haiti and along the US/Mexico border. Presently I am a full time paramedic for Missoula Emergency Services where I have served as a Tactical Paramedic and Backcountry Response Team member. I dedicate the majority of my teaching hours to wilderness skills development with our WEMT and Semester in Wilderness Medicine students. I have taught specialty medical and survival courses for the National Park Service, law enforcement, air medical, and military Special Operations groups.
I am fascinated by the real world application of skills based knowledge under stressful conditions; as an instructor for Aerie I am able to continually explore the interactions between human physiology, psychology, and ecology.
Cody Harris, Instructor
EMT-B, Rescue III International Swiftwater Rescue Instructor
Cody is a past member of the U.S. Canoe and Kayak Development Team. Cody teaches WFR and WFA courses and the swiftwater component of our WEMT classes. He has spent the better portion of his life exploring the rivers of North and South America. Cody has been a kayak slalom coach and an American Canoe Association whitewater instructor since 1994. Currently, he is pursuing a seasonal lifestyle as a ski patroller at Montana Snowbowl and river guide at Montana River Guides . Cody is an avid follower of water--either frozen or flowing.
Mike Johnston, Adjunct Instructor
EMT-B; Swiftwater Rescue Instructor for Rescue 3 International
Mike has been teaching River Rescue since 1995. Mike is an incredibly skilled instructor and one of the funnier people you will ever meet. He is a former ski patroller & backcountry ranger in Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks. In 1994 he founded Montana River Guides, a whitewater rafting company that guides raft, canoe, kayak and riverboard trips on the Alberton Gorge, Blackfoot and Bitterroot Rivers. Mike teaches the swiftwater rescue component of Aerie's Wilderness EMT and combination courses.
MD, FACEP, FAWM
Mike Kremkau first got his EMT in 1995 in Colorado and taught mountaineering for Art of Adventure. He went on to work on a transport ambulance in Portland Oregon and was a resident firefighter/EMT for Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue. Dr Kremkau trained in Emergency Medicine at Oregon Health and Sciences University. He has worked overseas in Honduras and in Kosovo on disaster relief missions and is a veteran of the National Disaster Medical Service. He now lives and works in Missoula Montana as an Emergency Physician at Saint Patrick Hospital (Level II Trauma) and is a reserve Deputy for Missoula County Sheriff Department. He is a member of and medical director for Missoula County Search and Rescue and Missoula County Sheriff Department Special Response Team. Dr Kremkau recently helped author the curriculum for S.T.O.R.M. (Specialized Tactics for Operational Rescue and Medicine) and will be teaching this through the Medical College of Georgia.
Nick Lois, Instructor
WEMT-B, Level 1 Avalanche
Originally from the heart of America’s Dairyland, Nick was born in a sleepy little town called Madison, Wisconsin. Fast forwarding a few years later Nick received his B.S. from the University of Wisconsin majoring in Biology, Community and Environmental Sociology, and minoring in Global Health. In the winter, Nick now resides in Bozeman, Montana where he works at the local hospital, ski patrols at Big Sky Resort, and helps teach the visually impaired and people with cognitive or developmental delays how to ski through the Eagle Mount Adaptive Ski Program. In the summer, Nick works down in South America for an adventure tourism company. When Nick isn’t working he likes to go play and adventure outside and is an avid skier, mountain biker, climber, and coffee drinker.
Amy Mazzarisi, Instructor
RN, Critical Care Paramedic, MSW-University of Michigan
Amy is a nurse currently working ED in Missoula and Kalispell, Montana. Before that, Amy was an ambulance paramedic in Bozeman and the EMS Training Coordinator for the National Park Service in Yellowstone National Park. She previously worked as a Park Ranger/Crew Leader for the Yellowstone Youth Conservation Corps, and volunteered for the Lake County Search and Rescue. She worked as a paramedic for Marcus Daly Hospital in Hamilton, Montana, and for the Lost Trail Ski Patrol. Every summer she patiently waits for the snow to fly once again. While she is waiting for the snow, you can usually find Amy hiking and backpacking in the Montana wilderness.
Dara McDevitt, Instructor
WEMT; Swiftwater Rescue technician, Avalanche Level 1, BS from University of Montana in Resource Conservation (May 2014)
Dara grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico and spent her childhood summers living in Yellowstone National Park. Through time she spent in both place, she developed a love for being outside and eventually, an interest in working for the National Park Service. She has worked in Yellowstone as a bear biologist and as part of their EMS team. Additionally, she worked in Yosemite as a backcountry ranger intern, providing medical services and working with the YOSAR team.
Dara has a degree from University of Montana in Resource Conservation. She has been involved with Aerie since 2012. Outside of wilderness medicine and environmental science, she has deep-seated enthusiasm for making her own gear. She has worked for manufacturing companies in Montana sewing bags. Dara sewed for Mystery Ranch Backpacks. Currently, she works for Goertzen Adventure Equipment. In January 2017, she began building the Aerie first aid kit bags.
When she's not teaching for Aerie or at her sewing machine, you can find her riding bikes or running on trails in Missoula and dreaming about the desert.
David McEvoy, Director
Critical Care Paramedic; BA, Bates College; MS, Biology, University of Montana.
I have worked outdoors since 1983 with organizations such as the Student Conservation Association, the Green Mountain Club, the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps, the US Forest Service and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. I began working as an EMT in Missoula, Montana, and then completed a Paramedic program there in 1991. I've worked continuously as a medic at Missoula Emergency Services since then, serving at times as their Training Officer and Director of the Education Department. As a Biology graduate student at the University of Montana, I taught anatomy and physiology in the cadaver lab and have been taking EMT, paramedic and Aerie students there since that time. I love traveling and have lived for different extended periods in Israel, India/ Nepal/ Tibet and Central America. I love hunting, fishing, hiking and anything else that gets me outdoors, particularly if I can share it with my two daughters and my wife. I started Aerie in 1995 with two fellow medics and believed then, as now, that providing medical care and teaching others to do so is both a privilege and a responsibility. I consider myself very lucky to do what I love in some of the most beautiful places in the world.
Greg Moore, Medical Director
MD; FACEP; FAWM
Greg Moore is a leader in Montana's Emergency Medical field. Greg grew up in Tennessee exploring the flora and fauna of the Great Smokey Mountains. He completed Medical School at Ohio State University and did a dual residency in Emergency Medicine and Family Practice He has practiced as a Board Certified Emergency Room Physician for over 30 years. He now serves as Barrett Hospital's Chief of Staff and Director of their Emergency Department in addition to Medical Director for Saint Patrick Hospital Rural Outreach. He is Fellowship trained in Emergency Medicine and also was among the first Fellows in Wilderness Medicine. Greg is very active in EMS serving as Medical Director for Missoula Emergency Services Ambulance, Missoula Rural Fire Department, Missoula County Airport Authority, Powell County QRU, Beaverhead EMS, Beaverhead Search and Rescue and Wisdom Ambulance. Greg is actively involved in teaching and instructing all levels of medical professionals and is passionate about Wilderness Medicine and instructs Advanced Wilderness Life Support. Greg is an avid outdoorsman who loves to hike, hunt, ski, snow machine, raft, fish, dive and travel.
Valerie Moody, Instructor
PhD, ATC, LAT, CSCS, WEMT-B
Valerie teaches at the University of Montana in the Department of Health and Human Performance. She has been a certified athletic trainer for 11 years and is also certified as a strength and conditioning specialist. She has worked in a variety of settings including an orthopedic physician’s clinic, physical therapy clinic, hospital, high school, and college. Valerie enjoys most outdoor activities, especially snowboarding, running, hiking/climbing, and fishing.
Ted Morrison, Instructor
RN, EMT-B; Level I Avalanche; MS in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana
Along with working for Aerie, Ted is a lead alpine mountaineering instructor for Outward Bound Wilderness in Colorado. He was a former member of the Western Montana Mountain Rescue team. He has also led crews for youth conservation corps in Vermont and worked as a field biologist. Ted has been a world traveler from birth and enjoys rock climbing, mountaineering, backcountry skiing, and exploring.
Eric Mullen, Instructor
EMT, OEC, Swiftwater rescue technician, SSI Autonomous diver, STCW offshore basic safety, BA environmental studies University of Montana
Growing up surfing and sailing on the wind swept island of Nantucket Massachusetts instilled a deep connection with community, culture and our landscape. A passion for adventure and other cultures have taken Eric around the world. Eric has spent time traveling and working as a photographer, engineer and EMT/diver on several deep ocean explorations around the world involved in sea floor mapping and ship wreck search and salvage operations. Eric also spends his winters as a full time Pro Ski Patroller at Bridger Bowl where he is based between adventures in Bozeman Montana. After moving to Montana in 2003 to finish an undergrad degree in environmental studies Eric obtained his WEMT with Aerie in the pursuit of bigger adventures and continues to explore the world.
Josh Olsen, Instructor / Hiring And Staff Training Manager
WEMT, Avalanche II, Swiftwater rescue technician, OEC, BA St. Olaf College, M.Ed University of MT
I am a native Montanan and have worked as an educator in many capacities from instructing kayaking and climbing to teaching English in Tanzania, Africa. In addition to instructing for Aerie, I am the Co-founder and Program Director of the Montana Wilderness School based in Bozeman. During the winter season, I work as a Pro Patroller and avalanche rescue dog handler with my dog Numa in Southwestern Montana. I am a member of the Gallatin County Search and Rescue hasty avalanche response team. I am a former wilderness instructor for an “at- risk” youth program and worked for many years as a professional sea kayak guide and as a climbing guide. In addition to trying really hard to only work outside I gained valuable experience working as an ER tech and as an EMT for multiple rural ambulance companies servicing wilderness areas. I live in Bozeman with my wife Bina.
What I love about Aerie’s approach to teaching Wilderness medicine is the commitment to scenario based learning, helping to bridge the gap between education and experience.
Eddie Olwell, Instructor
WEMT; B.S., Economics, LeMoyne College; Level I Avalanche; Swiftwater First Responder
I have been involved with Aerie since 1999 when I took a WFR course for my guide and outfitting business. The course had a big impact on me and several months later I took the Aerie WEMT class. Having the WEMT certification helped me land a job on Lost Trail ski patrol and then as an instructor for Aerie. Patrolling and instructing for Aerie compliment each other very well. Teaching keeps my skills fresh for patrolling and the patient care I do on the ski hill is very relevant to what we teach at Aerie. When I am not skiing or teaching I can be found pursuing my other passion , fly fishing on Montana's great trout rivers. I own and operate Fishs Eddy O Fly Fishing Outfiiter and Guide Service, specializing in guided fly fishing trips on the Bitterroot and other western Montana rivers. Fly fishing has taken me across North America, to the south island of New Zealand, the Patagonia region of Chile and who knows where in the future.
Shantanu Pandit, Instructor
I grew up in a suburb of Mumbai, and today live in that area. I've been hiking since college days, rock climb, and have been involved in numerous climbing expeditions in the Himalaya. From 2000 until 2013, I was a NOLS instructor and since 2000 have also been facilitating outdoor management programs for Indian business organizations. Over the years, in order to earn money, I was forced to start an adventure company, but ended up enjoying it tremendously as I got to visit various Himalayan regions! Currently, in addition to teaching for Aerie, I offer consultancy to outdoor & experiential education organisations in programme content, risk management and staff training. In my spare time, I like photography and sketching – have even illustrated a book!
Damien Powledge, Instructor
PA-C, ACLS, ATLS, Avalanche Level 1, Primary Care and Trauma Services
Damien grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southern Virginia but has called Montana home since 2002. He spent several years working as a Senior Wilderness Instructor for at-risk youth year round in the backcountry of Montana, as well as providing care in the Emergency Department in Missoula. He is currently applying to Nursing school and enjoying the teaching end of wilderness medicine. He spends his free time trail running, volunteering medical services for trail races, ice and rock climbing, and enjoying strong cups of black tea.
James Pyke, Instructor
EMT-B, Avalanche Level 1 & 2
I am originally from New Hampshire, where I was an avid moutain-biker and skier. In search of bigger mountains, I made the move to Missoula in 2004. I am constantly inspired by the vast wilderness areas that surround the Missoula valley. I took the Aerie WEMT class in Glacier in 2010. In the winter, I work as a ski patroller at Montana Snowbowl. I also work as a ski guide and avalanche instructor at Altoona Ridge Lodge near Phillipsburg, Montana. When I am not working, I enjoy backcountry skiing in the many ranges around Missoula. When the snow melts, I like to visit the same ranges, substituting running shoes for skis.
Niqole Roybal, Instructor
Advanced EMT, WEMT, B.A. Sociology-Criminology, Certification in Forensic Sciences, Swiftwater Rescue, Hazmat Technician
I grew up in Portland, OR which is where my love for being outside began. I moved to Missoula in 2006 to attend the University of MT and to be closer to my family in Kalispell. In the summers I did a lot of golfing, hiking, volleyball and wildland firefighting. I began volunteering with Missoula Rural Fire Department and would later become a resident as well. Upon graduating from the university, I chose to stray from my law school career path. Leading me to take my WEMT course from Aerie in 2010 and began my journey in the medical field, which I continue to broaden and expand. I absolutely love helping others, patient care, and being an instructor. When I'm not at work in the emergency department, I love being outdoors, traveling the world, camping, fishing, windsurfing, running (recently delving into the ultra-marathon world), cooking, watching football, and of course stargazing with s'mores.
Roman Sanchez, Instructor
WEMT-B; Swiftwater First Responder; Level 1 Avalanche
Roman works for the Indian Peaks rural fire district as a firefighter and EMT/SAR member. He is also an active ski-patroller. Roman is an outstanding educator, with teaching experience as a Peace Corps volunteer in Honduras, a Master's in Teaching English as a 2nd Language, and years teaching in a bilingual elementary education program. Roman volunteers with the Buffalo Field Campaign in the Yellowstone area. His hobbies include camping, x-country skiing and snowboarding. Roman lives with his wife Justine and son Japhy at 9200ft in an off-grid strawbale home in the mountains of Colorado.
Kurt Schallock, Instructor
WEMT-B, Swiftwater Rescue Technician
Kurt is the CEO and co-owner of Pure Medical Inc. distributing medical products throughout the Northwest. His mind is always on whitewater as Kurt was a riverboard/raft guide for Flathead Raft Company in Polson, MT for 8 years. He worked as as an EMT for Missoula Emergency Services and was a member of the Backcountry Emergency Response Team here in Missoula, MT. He also has held positions with federal, state, and private organizations. Those positions were in timber, fire and rangeland management. He enjoys the outdoors..... spending his free time with his wife, son and dog (Maya) rafting, riverboarding, camping, biking, snowboarding, bird hunting and fly fishing.
Joan Scheffer, Instructor
R.N. WEMT- B
Joan is a 4th generation Montanan who loves the outdoors and has a particular interest in all horse related activity. She has competed in endurance riding and competitive trail riding. She is a certified registered nurse first assistant (CRNFA) who specializes in orthopedic surgical procedures and care at Missoula Bone and Joint Surgery Center . Joan also likes to mountain bike, hike, and cross country ski whenever she isn't out riding. Joan volunteers a great deal of her time with children at a therapeutic riding program.
Adam Scheletsky, Instructor
Adam received his WEMT from Aerie several years ago and has continued to make the most of it. He currently ski patrols at Moonlight Basin in Big Sky and is an outdoor instructor for teenagers in the backcountry during the summer. Adam has rappelled from the buildings of New York City as a rope access technician, and recently rode his bicycle down the west coast. His next adventure by bike is the Continental Divide mountain bike tour from Canada to Mexico, as well as spending enough time in one place to harvest the garden he planted in the spring. Adam is currently taking prerequisites for medical school at MSU, and might actually go if life stops getting in the way!
Michael Schmitt, Instructor
Michael worked for a year as an intern for Aerie Backcountry Medicine while attending college for pre-medicine and has now emerged on the other end as a practicing physician. In his spare time, he enjoys camping, fishing, and mountain biking in Montana’s backcountry.
Steve Shepro, Instructor
PA-C; Paramedic; WEMT; Swiftwater Rescue Technician; Level-I Avalanche; BS, Paramedicine; MCHS, University of Washington
I began teaching for Aerie in 1999 after completing my W-EMT in Glacier NP. My interest in emergency medicine began while volunteering with the Western Montana Mountain Rescue Team where I later became the president and training coordinator. I also volunteered with Missoula County SAR, the National Ski Patrol, and co-founded the Idaho AED Initiative. I am a former guide with Mt. Rainier Alpine Guides and International Mountain Guides, worked as an EMT/ Swiftwater Rescue Technician for the Whitewater Rescue Institute. I worked as an EMT on the ambulance with Missoula Emergency Services and Madison Fire Department, then as a Paramedic/ ER Tech at Teton Valley Hospital. After graduating PA School at University of Washington’s MEDEX Northwest, my wife and I moved back to Missoula where I work as a PA in the Structural Heart Program at the International Heart Institute. We are excited new parents of an energetic little boy and love to ski, bike, climb, hike, and float the river together.
Our students constantly inspire me to continue learning. In turn, I hope that we can inspire our students to learn about medicine and the outdoors, and empower them to help others who are in need.
Amy Shuler, Instructor
WEMT, Western Montana Search Dogs K9 Handler, HAM radio operator KF7YJA, BA Spanish K-12 Education
Amy absorbed a love of nature from her childhood growing up horseback riding Montana trails, fly fishing, and white water rafting. She has called Bozeman, MT home since college, where she began volunteering for Gallatin County Search and Rescue and took her first Wilderness First Responder course from Aerie in 2009. On track for a degree in Spanish education, Amy never saw herself becoming involved in the medical field, until learning about the need for medicine in an outdoor field setting. Now, she continues to volunteer on SAR missions and train her pup, Finn in cadaver recovery and tracking/trailing work. Amy also works as an EMT on Bozeman’s ambulance service and hopes to soon further her EMS training as a Paramedic. She enjoys being able stay up to date with changes in wilderness medicine and share her outdoor and medical experiences with students as an instructor for Aerie.
Andrea Stephens, Adjunct Instructor
WFR; MS, University of Montana.
I have been working outdoors professionally since 1987 and was a NREMT and WEMT for ten of those. I spend the majority of my time outdoors studying and teaching about watersheds for Swan Valley Connections in the wild Swan, Blackfoot and Flathead Valleys in Western Montana. I have lead backcountry trail crews in Alaska, Montana, Wyoming and Idaho and for the past ten years have been working with Aerie's Semester in Wilderness Medicine to teach backcountry navigation and other essential outdoor skills in Central America and Montana.
Josh Tapp, Instructor
WEMT-B, Level - II Avalanche, B.A.,Political Science, University of South Carolina
The things I enjoy most are almost always mountain related activities. Be it climbing in the desert of Utah, skiing my favorite powder stashes, or fly fishing in one of Montana's beautiful rivers, my life revolves around being outside. As a guide for IMG one of the most enjoyable experiences I get is watching people experience the mountains for the first time. Being a guide, I have the chance to help people achieve their goals and have experiences that are always out of their comfort zones. To add to this, I have found a passion for wilderness medicine. Being an Aerie Instructor seemed to be the next step as I pursue a career in the mountains. I have been involved in many search and rescues, and I enjoy teaching others the systematic approach to being a first responder in a wilderness environment. I hope that you as a student can learn from my good and bad judgement, so that you someday will know how to handle an emergency if need be.
Ellie Thompson, Instructor
I always wanted Montana to be home. It had the mountains, all four seasons, great people, and amazing opportunity. I moved to Montana after I finished my undergrad at Hamilton College, outside Syracuse, NY. I decided to move out to Montana 10 years ago to maximize mountain exploring, and basically be a ski ‘bum’. In the summers I wandered around the Wind River mountains in Wyoming for the National Outdoor Leadership School for 5 years. After awhile, I decided to settle down a bit, and I started to apply my psychology degree as a field instructor with Three Rivers Wilderness Therapy in Belgrade, MT. For the past 7 years I’ve ski patrolled at Moonlight Basin in Southwest Montana, and spent a season ski patrolling on the south island of New Zealand at Lake Ohau. Avalanche rescue became a passion as well, and I trained my dog, Chica, to work on the ski hill with me as an avalanche rescue dog. I loved the aspect of having to make sound decisions in stressful situations so much that I began to teach wilderness medicine for Aerie Backcountry Medicine, and working part-time for American Medical Response in Bozeman, MT. I continue to incorporate emergency medicine into my life, and get out in the mountains skiing, rockclimbing, and mountain biking as much as possible!!
Becca Wallace, Instructor
WEMT; Paramedic: Associate of Applied Science Degree, University of Montana
Becca is a native Montanan; growing up she spent most of her time exploring Montana's wilderness. Becca's hobbies include backcountry skiing, snowboarding, backpacking, white water rafting, fishing, and skydiving. She especially enjoys recreating outdoors in the winter. Becca was an Anatomy and Physiology Teaching Assistant at the University of Montana cadaver lab. She is the former education director for Missoula Emergency Services and works as a Paramedic for wildlands fire.
Emily Weiler, EMT Exam Coordinator
WEMT, Lead Instructor, BS. Chemistry at University of MT, National Allergy Bureau Pollen Counter
Emily has lived in Missoula, MT since she was 4 years old and gained a love for the outdoors by adventuring with her big sister in the mountains and forests of Big Sky country. She loves to ski, run and canoe and just got her first taste of alpine racing. She loves travel and has explored both North and South America, and will soon add China and Europe to the list. After taking a WEMT class in the fall of 2013, she now coordinates EMT exams and looks forward to instructing in the future. When she’s not working for Aerie she can be found in her laboratory on campus, studying respiratory diseases and putting her Chemistry degree to good use. And those pollen reports you see on the news? Those are from her! The only certified pollen counter in the state of MT!
Justin Woods, Instructor
Paramedic, Swiftwater Rescue Technician
Justin is a full-time, professional firefighter/ paramedic in Whitefish, Montana. Justin works as a raft guide in the summers. He spends as much of his spare time as possible in the backcountry skiing, ice & rock climbing, or kayaking in Montana and Alaska. Justin coordinates Aerie's courses in the Flathead Valley - Glacier National Park area.
Dave Zinn, Instructor
WEMT; EMT-B; OEC; Whitewater Rescue Technician; Graduate National Avalanche School; BA History, University of Oregon
Dave has worked his way across the country living in Maine, Colorado, and Oregon. He has returned to the Rocky Mountains in Southwest Montana where he is the director of a non-profit youth whitewater kayaking program and a full time ski patroller.
Before moving to Montana he was a program director, history teacher and coach at a travelling kayaking high school leading the program’s young kayakers on trips around the United States and to Canada, China, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Zambia, and Uganda. During this period Dave developed a deep respect for attempting to avert the need for backcountry medicine. Since taking his first WFR many years ago, Dave has worked to continue his education and to refine his skills as a medical practitioner. Now, he is excited to bring his educational experience to Aerie and start others on their journey. In his spare time you will find Dave on the water, snow, trails, and in the backyard enjoying the many recreational opportunities one finds in Bozeman.
In Memory Of Our Dear Friend
Adrienne arrived in Missoula in 1980 to attend the University of Montana, where she earned her Master’s degree in recreation management. During her early days in Missoula, Adrienne worked at the YWCA and for the Wellness Center, Campus Recreation and Human Resources within the University. Shortly after 2000, Adrienne found her “work family” when she accepted a position in the Department of Health and Human Performance. In her new position she laid the foundation for one of the most diverse activity class programs, which now offers more than 100 recreation sections each semester. Adrienne also brought her passion for life and active lifestyle to the program. In her free time she served as a ski instructor and Pro Patroller at Montana Snowbowl, was active in Missoula Freestyle and worked for Aerie Backcountry Medicine. As a Lead Instructor, Adrienne taught countless students in Wilderness First Aid, Wilderness First Responder and Wilderness EMT courses. Adrienne always lived life at warp speed and thoroughly enjoyed life. Her family and friends thought of her as an Italian Eveready bunny. Adrienne was the kind of person who excelled at everything she did and focused her sharp mind and endless energy on countless people and projects throughout the community, always with the goal of helping others succeed. On May 28, 2013 Adrienne passed away after a long, fierce fight against cancer. Adrienne was the captain of her ship right up to the end and will be remembered as a brave, kind soul graced with a quick wit. Adrienne will be missed by many but forgotten by none that knew her.