Meet the Coordinators

Did we mention we’re all student run?

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 e-mail 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!

Allie Balter ’14- Head Coordinator

Hometown: Wellesley, MA

What AESOP did you participate in as a First Year? Presidential Traverse!!


Hey Class of 2017!! I’m Allie and I’m a Junior here at Bates. I am a Geology and Environmental Studies double major and I love being outside. From backpacking, to mountaineering, to snowboarding, I’ve tried it all! I now hone my outdoor skills to bring you all the greatest AESOP year you could ever imagine!

Here’s my AESOP story (surprisingly similar to Josh’s- see below): I came to Bates as a nervous young first-year eager to impress. So I signed up for the toughest AESOP I could think of: the Presidential Traverse. There to greet me by the infamous Puddle were my trusty AESOP leaders, who proved to be as welcoming and encouraging as I had hoped. Josh happened to be there too. In the next four days, we bonded over conquering the Prezzies like no group had done before! Josh and I had so much fun that we decided to lead the Saddleback AESOP together in 2011! Still, our partnership proved positive, and we moved on to become Assistant Coordinators for the 2012 AESOP season. And oh man, it’s a good thing we like each other (and AESOP, for that matter) because were going on to four years as AESOP cohorts. And this year, we’re here to make AESOP 2013 the best one yet!

But never fear, AESOP doesn’t take up all of my time at Bates! Here’s a little more of what I do: I am an active member of the Bates Outing Club, Vice President of the Shred Club for Men and Women (we shred everything from paper and cheese to powder and concrete! And we do it co-educationally), and I’m a Peer Writing Assistant in Ladd Library. This summer, I will be travelling to northern Norway to live with Sami reindeer herding communities, and will then be hopping off the coast to Svalbard to do thesis research. But don’t worry, I’ll be back in time to finish planning AESOP with Josh. I’d never leave ya hangin’!

Enjoy the rest of the year, and I’ll see you all on August 26th!


Josh Sturtevant ’14- Head Coordinator

Hometown: Freeport (aka L.L. Bean), Maine

What AESOP did you participate in as a First Year?: Prezzzzzzies!

Ahoy! I’m so jazzed that you have landed yourself here and that we at AESOP are in charge of introducing you to Bates and the great State o’ Maine! Whether you realize it or not, it’s almost like you just won the lotto for four years straight.

Anyways, my name is Josh and I am Allie’s partner in crime as AESOP Head Coordinators for 2013. She’s given you my basic AESOP narrative, but the long and the short of it is just that AESOP is the best around, and we all love being apart of this unique program and this legacy. You should be too.

But about myself… I’m a senior studying geology here at Bates. When not out in the field, I enjoy honing my skills that I inherited as a native Mainer, which include hiking, backpacking, canoeing, snowboarding, ice skating and just plain old adventuring with the Outing Club. This past summer, I spent an insane two months trekking through and learning about southern Greenland (pictured above) for a Bates-sponsored Otis Fellowship. As a part of my off-campus study with Sea Education Association this semester, I am about to spend the next six-weeks aboard the 134′ sailing vessel the Robert C. Seamans conducting oceanographic research and learning how to sail a traditional tall ship (code words for becoming a pirate).

If everything goes accordingly and I don’t get marooned on a small island in the equatorial Pacific, I will be back just in time for all the preparation that goes into making the 48 best outdoor orientation trips around! So, if you are in the area at all this summer, let me know! I’ll be spending my time in between the office and the White Mountains for AESOP and thesis research. I can’t wait to meet everyone, and hope you have a great summer. We’ll be waiting for you come August!


James Brissenden ’15 – Assistant Coordinator

Hometown: Belmont, MA

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

James Brissenden

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 bought a fake Christmas tree from Wal Mart to celebrate the holidays and it’s still kickin it in my room, as we speak! 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 assistant coordinator of AESOP, I have the honor of working with you guys, as well as the other coordinators, in order to make this years AESOP better than waffles (the best food in the world.)

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


Katie Polio ’15 – Assistant Coordinator

Hometown: Simsbury, CT

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

dsc_0540Hey guys! My name is Katie and I’m an Environmental Studies major with a French minor and Public Health GEC.

At Bates I’m a Student Volunteer Fellow (SVF), I play on the Women’s Ultimate Frisbee team, and I volunteer at an elementary school in Lewiston where I read to kindergarteners (they’re adorable). Outside of school in my free time I like to practice yoga, go hiking, swimming, and biking.

My freshmen year I was on Grafton Notch and had the best time everrr!!! We had an awesome group and a few of them turned out to be some of my closest friends at Bates – who woulda known?! Now this part will start to sound pretty similar to Allie and Josh’s … I loved AESOP so much that I applied to lead one with Bryan (look below) 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 this year. So, we’re spendin some more quality time together as we prepare with Allie, Josh and James to make this an unforgettable experience for you guys!

In addition to AESOP I also love Bates and Maine, which is why I’ll be spending the summer here! During the week I’ll be working at a local non-profit, Community Concepts (look for more about that in the blog!) and playing Frisbee in a summer league in Portland whenever I can.

I can’t wait to meet you all! Enjoy the summer and get excited for AESOP =D


Bryan Lehrer ’15 – Assistant Coordinator


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