Meet the Coordinators

Did we mention we’re all student run?


From left to right: Bryan, Katie, and James

AESOP is still an entirely student-run operation- top to bottom, inside and out. This means that while we work in conjunction with a faculty advisor, we are pretty much free to explore new trip ideas and keep the program fresh and student focused!

We are highly dedicated to making this the best AESOP yet! We have already started preparing for this fall and will work continuously throughout the summer in preparation for your arrival on campus in August. We look forward to meeting each of you and hope you are all excited about coming to Bates! If you have any questions, feel free to email us at We’ll answer your questions as quickly as possible, but bear in mind that there are many of you and only a few of us, so please be patient!

Bryan Lehrer ’15- Head Coordinator

Hometown: East Quogue, NY

What AESOP did you participate in as a First Year? Pemigewasset Wilderness

Wow. All I got to say is wow.

Do you guys know how how lucky we are? We already all attend Bates, the darndest little school this side of the Mississippi *spoken in southern belle voice*. We have a beautiful campus, an amazing dining hall, intimate community, oh and one more thing—AESOP!

My name’s Bryan and I couldn’t be more happy to say that, alongside Katie and James, I’m one of the head coordinators of this year’s AESOP program. Here’s a bit about me and my AESOP history: I’m currently a senior, but I’ve been involved in AESOP since my earlier days at Bates. As a first-year I went on the Pemi backpacking trip and loved it so much that I led it as a sophomore with Katie. Last year I hopped on the coordinator train with Katie and James and now all of us are in the driver’s seat, and man are we excited!

I originally hail from Long Island, NY but have moved around quite a bit since then (i.e. Texas). At Bates I’m an Environmental Economics major and in my free time I like to do a whole bunch of things. Formally, I’m quite involved with the Bates Outing Club and informally, you can find me doing anything from reading on the quad to climbing around at the bouldering wall.

This summer I will be spending June in Seattle doing a pre-career program (see the blog for an impending post about this). After the program is over, I’ll be breaking free from the office and heading in more adventurous directions all throughout Washington. I’ve planned some nice backpacking trips as well as few nights stay in a mountaintop hut near Mt. Baker. It’s possibly the most incredible and baffling human dwelling I have ever seen. I’m sure I’ll be tempted to stay there forever, but the call of AESOP will have me eagerly running back to Maine come August. See you all in the fall! Ye-haw.

James Brissenden ’15 – Head Coordinator

Hometown: Belmont, MA

What AESOP did you participate in as a First Year? Maine Coastal Chillin’

THIS IS GUNNA BE SWEEEEEET! So, I’m at Bates right now, nomming on a bucket of salty pretzels with my stuffed duck (named Cashew) thinking about you guys who are going to be at Bates in the fall for none other than AESOP. Small world?

I’m so pumped to meet, befriend, high-five and share my love of AESOP with all of you guys in a few months. It’s just around the corner! But first…A bit about myself: My name is James and I’m a psychology major at Bates. I like to accomplish simple tasks within the amount of time left on the microwave clock. My mother calls me: “Sweetie pea.” I play Ultimate Frisbee, Club Soccer and get out golfing whenever I can. The greatest decision of my life reined down upon me when I signed up for the Maine Costal Chillin’ 1 AESOP trip. It was such a chillin’ trip, I decided to lead it the following year with the help of my stunningly amazing friend Sarah. Now, as the head coordinator of AESOP, I have the honor of working with you guys, as well as the other coordinators, in order to make this year’s AESOP better than waffles (the best food in the world.)

This summer I’m doing some event planning for a cute little start up company in Cambridge, MA. When i’m not driving around in the blindingly green company van, you can find me hiking some peaks in NH or catching up on Game of Thrones (I just finished the second season.) (And i’m freaking out.)

In the mean time… you guys keep killin’ it and enjoy the rest of senior year and summer! Listen to some good music, eat some delicious snacks and don’t forget to tie those shoes, because AESOP is coming!!!!!!

Katie Polio ’15 – Head Coordinator

Hometown: Simsbury, CT

What AESOP did you participate in as a First Year? Grafton Notch

Hi everyone! My name is Katie and I’m so happy to say, welcome to Bates! I can’t wait to meet and get to know you all, but in the meantime here are some tidbits about me:

I’m an Environmental Studies major and I spend most of my time playing frisbee on the Women’s Ultimate team. I also like to do zumba, go for walks at Thorncrag Bird Sanctuary, and spend hours in Commons.

My freshmen year I was on Grafton Notch and had an amazing time! I loved AESOP so much that I applied to be a leader with Bryan and we ended up leading Pemigewasset II together. You can tell we’re pretty crazy about AESOP because we both applied to be Assistant Coordinators and are now Head Coordinators together with James!

This summer I’m splitting my time between the beautiful states of Maine and New Hampshire. During the week I’m in Freeport working for a woman who is passionate about seeing community wind projects thrive in Maine. I’ll also be working on AESOP and playing frisbee in a summer league in Portland whenever I can. During the weekends I’ll be exploring Maine and New Hampshire – spending time with my family and going hiking, swimming, biking, you name it.

We’re all so excited to meet you in two months! So for now, enjoy the rest of your summer, soak up the sun, then pack your bags and come fall in love with AESOP!

Sasha Lennon ’16 – Assistant Coordinator

Hometown: Cape Elizabeth, ME

What AESOP did you participate in as a First Year? Evan’s Notch

1095012_10201967219286916_1429025632_nWelcome to Bates! My name is Sasha and I can’t wait to meet you guys! I am a studio art and psychology double major and involved in the Outing Club, Arts Society, and AESOP(!) here on campus. I grew up on the coast of Maine, and after a few childhood road trips with the fam I realized the amazing opportunities the New England outdoors has to offer. Backpacking, skiing, and sitting on the beach are probably my three favorite things, and Maine is a stellar place to do it all!

Freshmen year I went on Evan’s Notch base camping trip where my group did day hikes in New Hampshire’s White Mountains and hosted the occasional hot sauce-eating contest. Sophomore year I led Saddleback backing with my good friend Sacha-boy and could not have been happier hanging out with incoming freshmen in the rain as we hiked a section of the AT.

This summer I’ll be working in Portland enjoying the yummy food and harbor seals, making sure I fit it plenty of time for the beach. I’ll be here at Bates towards the end of the summer anxiously awaiting your arrival! Enjoy the your summer!

Jordan Cargill ’16 – Assistant Coordinator

1538749_10151806783087100_1311688646_nHometown: Tamworth, NH

What AESOP did you participate in as a First Year? Climbing

Let me begin with an analogy. AESOP is to me as rice cakes are to Nat… and believe me Nat loves her rice cakes. She practically can’t survive without them. BUT in all seriousness I love AESOP and I cannot imagine my Bates career without it as the backbone of my experiences. I’m super stoked to be an assistant coordinator and help give you an even better experience than I had (it will be tough but I believe we are up to the challenge)!

Anyways, a little about myself. I am a Sophomore Geology major with an affinity for anything that gets me into the woods. I love to ski, climb, mountain bike, backpack, fly-fish, canoe, swim, and pretty much whatever else that lets me explore the great north woods. I grew up in a small town in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, which is one of the greatest natural playgrounds in the northeast. Lucky for you guys there are several AESOP trips that go there! At Bates I’m a climbing director for the outing club and do as many trips as I can fit into my schedule. This summer I will be returning to the northern Presidential Range in the Whites for my third season of trail work with the Randolph Mountain Club. There I will spend three months playing in the mud, moving large rocks around, and having some crazy adventures with awesome people along the way.

Enjoy summer and I’ll see ya at the end of August! 

Nat Silver ’16 – Assistant Coordinator

Hometown: Bennington, VT

natbikeWhat AESOP did you participate in as a First Year? ***cricket cricket cricket***

Hi class of 2018!!  My name is Nat and I am sophomore. I am a double major in U.S. history and studio art. These days I spend a lot of time with my other coordinators getting ready for AESOP 2014 and we’re getting pretty psyched. Last year I led an A.E.S.O.P trip and I realized that this program was one of the best things about Bates.You should all be pretty excited for your trips and that you get to spend the next four years in glorious MAINE!

The most important thing about me is that I’m from Vermont. My origins dictate most of my apparel, activities and eating habits. I often bring my own maple syrup to commons. Its necessary. Vermont is the bomb, but Maine is a close second. Jordan will say New Hampshire is the best but we all know THAT isn’t true.

My favorite thing to do is ride my bike. The past few summers I have led bike trips for kids and this summer I’m hoping to do a few of my own. If I’m not on a ride, I love backpacking, climbing, nordic skiing, running and basically anything that gets me outside. This summer I hope to be outside as much as possible in VT and New England. I hope you all are looking forward to A.E.S.O.P and I can’t wait to meet ya.