Expeditionary Studies Faculty and Staff


Gerald (Jerry) Isaak , Assistant Professor and Chair. Jerry grew up in the Fraser Valley, British Columbia and is a graduate of the Thompson Rivers University Adventure Guide Diploma program. He received an MSc with distinction in Outdoor Education while studying as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar at the University of Edinburgh (Scotland) and has worked as an expedition leader and guide in Canada, the USA, Morocco, Scotland, Austria and the Arctic. Personal climbing and skiing expeditions include journeys in Kenya, Nepal and throughout North America.

Jerry’s research interests are in the areas of outdoor education, social influences on risk tolerance levels and decision making, and educational expeditions.

Contact Jerry Isaak
Office: 102 Broad Street
Phone: (518) 564-5292

Laurence Soroka. Dr. Soroka taught in the English and History Departments at SUNY Plattsburgh from 1988-2000, where in addition to teaching American literature and history, he coordinated “Looking for America,” a freshman learning community. Before coming to Plattsburgh, he was an owner and guide for "On Ice," a year-round climbing school located in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Dr. Soroka has rock climbed and ice climbed from the Cascades to the Tetons to the Adirondacks and the White Mountains, as well as in the Canadian Rockies. He teaches climbing, skiing, and sea kayaking courses, and "The History and Culture of the Expedition” and “Expedition Theory and Planning.”

Contact Laurence Soroka
Office: 102 Broad Street
Phone: (518) 564-5292
Email: laurence.soroka@plattsburgh.edu

Casey Henley, Head Climbing and Skiing Instructor. Casey grew up in the Canadian Rockies where he learned to climb and ski. A graduate of The University College of The Cariboo Guide Program and the Mount Royal College Outdoor Pursuits Program, he has guided, climbed and skied throughout North and South America, Asia, Antarctica and Europe, including ascents of Denali, Logan (with ski descent), Imja Tse, Ama Dablam, Mt. Elbrus (with ski descent), Aconcagua, Cho Oyu, and the Vinson Massif. Casey has instructed and guided for Outward Bound, Mountain Madness, Slipstream Adventures, The Alaska Mountaineering School, The British Army Training Unit and The Canadian Outdoor Leadership Training Program.

Contact Casey Henley
Office: 102 Broad Street
Phone: (518) 564-5292
Email: casey.henley@Plattsburgh.edu

Steven Maynard, Head Paddling Instructor. Steven started kayaking more than 20 years ago on remote sea lochs in North West Scotland. Since then he has paddled, guided and instructed extensively in the United Kingdom, and throughout Europe and North America. Steven holds qualifications in many adventure sports, including sea kayaking certifications at the highest level from the British Canoe Union and American Canoe Association. Steve enjoys nothing more than helping people improve their understanding of technique and environment to make stronger safer paddlers.

Contact Steven Maynard
Office: 102 Broad Street
Phone: (518) 564-5292
Email: maynars@Plattsburgh.edu


Sarah Henley, Coordinator of Odyssey Freshmen Adventure Programs, Expeditionary Studies Equipment Manager. With a B.A. in Adventure Education and Social/Cultural Studies, from Prescott College, Sarah has been working in the outdoor industry since the early 90's As a Prescott alumnus, she worked as an instructor for their Wilderness Orientation program. Sarah has climbed and guided throughout North America, as well as in Africa, Asia, Mexico, and South America. She worked and instructed for Outward Bound for six years and also guided for Mountain Madness. In 2004 she was their Everest Base Camp Manager.

Contact Sarah Henley
Office: 102 Broad Street
Phone: (518) 564-5292
Email: henleys@Plattsburgh.edu

Affiliate Faculty

Gary Kroll, Environmental History and History of Exploration. Dr. Kroll teaches an array of courses in environmental history, but his primary interest is the history of exploration. He is the co-creator and instructor in the foundation course, "The History and Culture of Expeditions," for our expeditionary studies program. As an environmental historian and a historian of science, Dr. Kroll brings an important perspective to the expeditionary studies curriculum. In a past life, and one he still dreams of, Dr. Kroll spent hours blowing glass.

Contact Gary Kroll
Email: gary.kroll@plattsburgh.edu

Charles List, Professor, Philosophy. Charles List is a member of the SUNY Plattsburgh Philosophy Department, where he teaches courses in environmental ethics and outdoor ethics. His recently published articles on the ethics of hunting and fishing and the role of outdoor activities in character development are an outgrowth of his expeditionary studies course, EXP 370: Outdoor Sport and Culture, which combines instruction in fly fishing with a study of that sport in cultural contexts.

Contact Charles List
Office: CVH 302
Phone: (518) 564-2833
Email: listcj@Plattsburgh.edu

Bryan Higgins, Professor, Geography. Bryan Higgins is a professor of geography & planning and Director of International Education. He is interested in global education, geographies of environmentalism, and the geographies of travel. Bryan teaches GEG 332: Environmental Justice, an elective in the “History and Culture Foundations” requirement in the expeditionary studies degree. For more details visit Bryan's Web page.

Contact Bryan Higgins
Offices:102 Broad Street 0202 and Hawkins Hall 0134B
Phone: (518) 564-2321
Email: higginbr@plattsburgh.edu

Lauren Eastwood, Assistant Professor. Lauren Eastwood is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology. She researches United Nations-based policy making, particularly regarding the environmental negotiations involving climate change and biodiversity. Her recent writing and research has also analyzed the intersection between international law involving Indigenous Peoples’ rights and World Bank social and environmental policies. “Sociology of the Environment” (SOC367,) which analyzes social, institutional, or cultural perspectives influencing the way society thinks about and responds to environmental issues, is part of the “History & Culture Foundations” requirement in expeditionary studies.

Contact Lauren Eastwood
Office: Redcay 231
Phone: (518) 654-3309
Email: eastwole@plattsburgh.edu

Mark Holden, Instructor. Mark Holden is sculptor, writer, bow-hunter, and teacher, contributing his eclectic talents and interests to the expeditionary studies curriculum. As award winning short-story writer, Mark has published his stories in a variety of magazines and journals, ranging from North American Review and Traditional Bowhunter Magazine. Mark teaches “EXP 370: Archery and Culture” for EXP students.

Contact: Mark Holden
Office: Champlain Valley Hall 215
Phone: (518) 564-2416
Email: holdenmj@plattsburgh.edu

Adjunct Faculty

Melissa Maynard, Sea Kayak Instructor. Melissa has been sea kayaking since 1994, when she trained with and then worked for Cal Adventures in Berkeley, California from 1994-1997. Upon returning to New York in 1998, Melissa founded Sea Cliff Kayakers. Melissa has worked for Maine Island Kayak Company and Manhattan Kayak Company and has guided and instructed for Miramat Adventures in Baha, Mexico.She is a certified American Canoe Association (ACA) Open Water Kayak Instructor, British Canoe Union (BCU) Aspirant Level 3 Coach Sea, and 4 Star sea kayaker. She holds a B.A. in International Relations from Tufts University and an M.A. in Education from the University of California at Berkeley.

Contact Melissa
Email: bici20@hotmail.com

Photo of Don Mellor climbing on ice.

Don Mellor Climbing Instructor. Don Mellor is a climber, teacher, writer, and guide who has more than forty years climbing in the Adirondacks and beyond. His resume ranges from multi-day ascents of the biggest rock walls in Yosemite to first ascents of ice routes in Newfoundland. Locally, he’s done more than a hundred first ascents, including Big Brother (NEI 5), Airie on Moss Cliff (5.12) and the first free ascent of Mental Blocks (5.12) on the big backcountry cliff of Wallface.

Among his published books are four rock and ice guides to the Adirondacks, the instructional Rock Climbing: A Trailside guide, and cultural studies American Rock and Alpine Americas. He serves as a volunteer for the DEC high-angle rescue team, the peregrine falcon restoration project, and the steering committee of the Lake Placid Outing Club.

Don lives in Lake Placid, where he serves as English teacher and school counselor at Northwood School.

Contact Don

Jesse Williams, Climbing and Skiing Instructor. Jesse Williams is owner of Cloudsplitter Mountain Guides LLC. After graduating from nearby Middlebury College (B.A. Environmental Studies, 1994), Jesse started a professional rock, ice and ski guiding career in 1995 with Adirondack Alpine Adventures, Adirondack Rock & River, North American Telemark Organization and SUNY Plattsburgh. He is an internationally certified IFMGA Mountain Guide (rock, ice and skimountaineering) as well as a Level 3 Avalanche Forecaster, Wilderness First Responder and a LNT (Leave No Trace) Master Trainer with over fifteen years of regional, national and international guiding experience. His work and passion have found him climbing from Alaska to Chamonix, from the North Cascades to the Rockies, and skiing in Alaska and the Wrangell/St. Elias Ranges.

Contact Jesse
Email: Jesse@cloudsplitterguides.com

Jim Sausville, Kayak Instructor. If anybody knows Adirondack whitewater and flatwater, it's Jim Sausville. With nearly forty years of paddling experience on and travels to great rivers from The Moose, outside Old Forge, New York, to The Colorado, where he's made three descents, Jim is the guide/instructor "par excellence." To be sure he's never too far from the water, Jim restores classic wooden boats when he's not out paddling. Jim is an ACA Level IV Whitewater Instructor.

Contact Jim
Email: jimboat2@northnet.org

Colin Loher, Climbing Instructor. Colin Loher graduated from Northland College with a double major in biology and outdoor education. Since graduating, he has climbed and skied extensively around the U.S., while working for numerous guide services. Colin’s teaching philosophy is grounded in his belief that adventure sports create opportunities for personal growth and awareness.

Contact Colin
Email: lohersofthenorth@frontiernet.net

Emilie Drinkwater, Climbing and Skiing Instructor. Emilie has been a climbing guide & instructor since 2000, frequently working with Adirondack Rock and River, Plattsburgh State’s Expeditionary Studies program, and Cascade Ski Touring Center. A former collegiate nordic ski athlete (B.A. Anthropology, St. Lawrence University, 1998) and two-time Lake Placid Ironman triathlete, Emilie is an AMGA Certified Rock Instructor, AMGA Single Pitch Instructor, a NYSDEC licensed Tier 1 rock and ice climbing guide and a PSIA certified nordic instructor. Emilie is also in aggressive pursuit of additional AMGA Certification, and recently completed the AMGA Ski Guide Course and Aspirant Rock Guide course/exam.

Contact Emilie
Email: edrinkwater@hotmail.com

John Carmody, Paddling Instructor. John has spent most of his adult life around the ocean. A BCU Level Five Coach, Joan has led trips through Maine, the Canadian Maritimes, and the British Isles. He regularly teaches at kayak symposiums through the US. A team paddler fro both P & H and Werner Paddles, John is an ACA Open Water Instructor, an ACA Level Four Surf Instructor, and a BCU Four Star Sea Assessor.

Contact John
Email: john@seacliffkayakers.com


Barry Brown, Sea Kayak Instructor and Manager, Valcour Kayak Center. Barry grew up in the western foothills of the Adirondacks, where he was first introduced to outdoor recreation. That set him off hiking the Adirondacks but also mountaineering on Mt. Ranier and kayaking the Florida Keys and the Maine coast.
Barry oversees all facilities and operations at our Lake Champlain paddling site, The Valcour Kayak Center.

Contact Barry Brown
Office: Myers Fine Arts 0122a
Phone: (518) 564-2322
Email: barry.brown@plattsburgh.edu

Photo of Joan Kornecki

Joan Kornecki, Secretary. Joan has worked at SUNY Plattsburgh long enough to be familiar with offices and policies all over campus. She manages the complex office and administration for Expeditionary Studies.

Contact Joan Kornecki
Office: 102 Broad
Phone: (518)564-5292
Email: kornecjw@plattsburgh.edu