My name is Jakob Markwardt, I am a documentary studies and production major from Ithaca NY, and I completed the Outdoor Pursuits Minor in the Spring of 2017. I enjoy rock climbing, hiking, swimming, and mountain biking, and I am a pole-vaulter on the Varsity Track and Field team.               

I discovered the RLS program during my Freshman year when I was searching for a minor. My degree requires an 18 credit minor, so the Outdoor Pursuits Program was a perfect fit. I decided to come to Ithaca College to study film in hopes of becoming an adventure filmmaker, but I felt that I lacked the outdoor experience to be successful in the field. Before embarking on the Immersion Semester, I had spent a lot of time enjoying the outdoors, but had never really been rock climbing or backpacking before. I had no idea what to expect, and after flying alone for the first time, I found myself under a tarp in the desert cowering from 40mph winds. Nothing I have done before or since comes close to the experience I had during the 74 days that followed, and I found myself constantly in awe that I got to wake up every morning and hike through canyons, raft down rivers, and rock climb on ancient volcanic structures.                          

Even though I had never been backpacking before the Immersion Semester, by the next fall I was teaching a backpacking course with Cornell Outdoor Education. I jumped into the field of outdoor education immediately after I got home, and have spent the last two years working as a ropes course facilitator for the Cornell Team and Leadership Center, and as a counselor for Cornell's rock climbing sports school. The Outdoor Pursuits Minor gave me the skills and confidence to do things I had only dreamed about, and the people I have met through the program rank among the most incredible and inspiring people that I know.  

Feel free to contact me at jmarkwardt@ithaca.edu if you have any questions about the Outdoor Pursuits Minor or the RLS department.