Meet the Coordinators

AESOP is student-led with support from the Office of Residence Life and Health Education. We are free to explore new trip ideas and keep the program fresh and student-focused! We love our school and we love what we do: a wonderful combination that allows us to infuse our own joy about AESOP, Bates, Maine, and Lewiston into the beginning of your four years here.

We are dedicated to making this the best AESOP possible! We work steadily throughout the school year to prepare for the upcoming AESOP program 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!

Ollie Rhee ’25 – Head Coordinator

Hometown: Washington, D.C.

What AESOP did you participate in as a First-year?

Old Orchard Beach/Field Games (Half Covid AESOP)

What’s up, everyone! I want to kick this off by extending a warm welcome to all new members of the Bates community. One thing that truly sets the Bates College experience apart is the student-led community building of AESOP, so I am so excited to be a part of the team responsible for delivering those adventures to you!

 Just a bit of background, I am from Washington, D.C. but have been coming to Maine for the summer my entire life. I had always associated Maine with time away from school. However, Bates has vastly expanded my horizons to the fun that can be found in every other season. I will major in Politics and minor in Film, Rhetoric, and Screen Studies, so I hope to meet some of you in class. Outside the classroom, I am a proud member of the Bates Sailing Team (Go Saltcats!) and like to write opinion pieces for the Bates Student. In my free time, you can find me watching baseball, skiing, working out, or dropping cups/silverware in the middle of Commons at incredibly inopportune times.

 College orientation happens at a monumental shift in our young lives, and it can sometimes feel like jumping straight into the deep end. AESOP aims to make this change more manageable by creating a space for every new student to learn just how much they mean to the Bobcat community. Hopefully, it can enable you to fully immerse yourselves in Bates’s culture and make some special memories! I can’t wait to meet you all!

Dhruv Chandra ’25 – Head Coordinator

Hometown: Kolkata, India

What AESOP did you participate in as a First-year?

Franconia (Half Covid AESOP)

Hellooo ‘cats!

I can’t wait for y’all to experience AESOP and explore the beauty of Bates and Maine. Transitioning to college can have its excitements and challenges but we are all here to support and cheer you on throughout the process!

A little bit about me: I’m an international student from the city of Kolkata, India. Growing up in a massive metropolitan, I didn’t have access to a lot of wilderness close by, but made frequent camping trips to the foothills of the Himalayas in the northern regions of Bengal which led to my love for the outdoors. Coming to Bates, I knew about New England’s natural beauty and made it a point to go on every Outing Club hiking and camping trip I could (STRONGLY recommend it btw).

When on campus, you’ll probably see me performing for the ManOps (subjectively best and objectively coolest a cappella group), at the library wearing a high-vis vest (you’ll see…), or running around from class to class trying to manage my Econ/Math/DCS double major and minor. I’m also involved in student government, as an elected class of ‘25 representative, and the Robinson Players, the century old student-run theater group and one of Bates’ oldest clubs!

AESOP is a tiny slice of life at Bates and an extremely rich and rewarding experience for everyone involved. I can’t wait for y’all to get to campus and feel the excitement for yourselves

Ananya Rao ’25 – Head Coordinator

Hometown: Bedford, NH

What AESOP did you participate in as a First-year? Cape Elizabeth Chillin & Board Games 

Hey Bobcats! I am so excited to help everyone go on their epic AESOP journey. It’s one of the most memorable experiences you’ll have as a First-year. It’s so amazing to spend time exploring your new home of Maine in a chill way while meeting some of the people you’ll be spending the next four years with. 

I grew up in New Hampshire, and have been there my whole life. Growing up in a small(ish) town In New England I knew I wanted the same in college (and truthfully I have a stronger distaste for the heat and love fall) so Maine was the perfect choice for college. I’ve been camping and hiking in Maine and NH for years and fell in love with the mountains and the sun. I’m an Environmental Studies and Politics double major with a Theatre minor (as you can tell I like to keep busy). Around campus you can find me somewhere in the maze of Pettigrew Hall (Pgrew), dancing with our hip-hop group 2beats, helping out our student-run theatre group (The Robinson Players), or studying in a random nook somewhere. In my free time, I love doing anything crafty, going to the beach, or reading a book!

I hope everyone gets to see what an amazing place Bates is in and experience all Maine has to offer. I’m so stoked to see everyone go on their Aesop trips and start their college journey on such a high note.

Sam Rice ’26 – Assistant Coordinator

Hometown: Chapel Hill, NC

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

Grafton Backpacking

What’s up Bobcats! I’m so so excited for y’all to kick off your Bates careers with AESOP! AESOP is such a great way to get to know smaller communities within Bates and take the pressure off of transitioning into college. It’s such a fun experience getting to explore Maine and create close bonds with new people and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.

A bit about me: I grew up in North Carolina loving the outdoors and wanting it to be accessible to anyone. I chose Bates because of its closeness to the outdoors and beautiful cities and I have LOVED it so far. I am a history major and a DCS minor here at school. On campus you will most likely find me hanging out with friends in Commons or playing frisbee with the Bates Coldfront frisbee team. Off campus, I’m usually wandering about Freeport, ME (my favorite city here) or skiing at Sunday River.

Maine truly has SO much to offer, from it’s mountains to its cities and beaches, and I can’t wait for y’all to get the chance to see it and begin your journey here at Bates. Get pumped!!!

Sivani Arvapalli ’26 – Assistant Coordinator

Hometown: South Windsor, CT

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

Mt Blue Basecamping

Hey y’all, I am so excited to meet all of you and embark on the AESOP journey with you. I can’t wait for you all to explore the beauty of Maine and feel at home. I fell in love with the small close-knit community offered at Bates and loved the nature of Maine. I’m a biochemistry major with an anthropology minor and concentration in public health. I hope to become a dentist one day. On campus, I am involved in various clubs and activities.

As the manager of campus activities and traditions, I plan and organize the dances. I can be found in admissions as a tour guide or in Tarbell Pool as a member of the water polo team. I am also a board member for the Chem Society club and Public Health Initiative. In my free time I love to spend time with my family and friends, read new books, and try new restaurants (I even have a food review instagram account). I am so excited for everyone to come to Bates and be a apart of this amazing community.

Maine is unbelievably beautiful and a great place to call your new home. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions through gmail ( I can’t wait for y’all to come to Bates!!

Ty Stearns ’26 – Assistant Coordinator

Hometown: Walpole, MA

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

Acadia Adventure

Hey everyone and welcome incoming Bobcats! I’m so excited to be a part of your AESOP experience. AESOP is not only one of the best ways to kick off your college career, but also an opportunity to build amazing friendships and lasting memories.

I grew up in Walpole, Massachusetts, a small town not too far from Boston. When it came to college, I knew I wanted to experience something new and fresh. Bates offered this fresh start, along with an uncanny friendliness that you experience as soon as you step on campus, so I knew it was the perfect place for me.

I’m a Politics major and a History minor, so hopefully you’ll see me in class this fall! When I’m not studying, you can most likely find me performing with the Manic Optimists acapella group, going to Mass with the Bates Catholic Students Union, or hanging out in Commons chatting with friends!

I can’t wait for all of you to experience AESOP, there is truly no better way to experience Maine and the amazing Bates community for the first time.