Katie was born in the mountains, but grew up chasing her older brother through the woods and lakes of Minnesota. She learned at a very early age that something about the wilderness supported people in setting down masks and social pretenses. The wilderness supported people in being authentic and thus, fostered true connection.
Since graduating from Williams College in 2005 (she majored in English, concentrated in Environmental Studies, and was Pre-Med), her professional path has woven together medicine, counseling, education, and Nature. In 2003, Katie began her career in the outdoors as a NOLS instructor, and since that time has had the great privilege of teaching leadership on wilderness expeditions around the world. When she discovered wilderness therapy in 2006, she was awestruck to find a field that combined the skill, power, and healing of living in the wilderness with focused therapeutic support for the individual and family.
Katie continued to pursue work in the medical field (highlights included working and doing research in SE Africa and providing medical care and counseling at a women’s clinic) until ultimately she realized this was not her true path! While Katie still deeply values physical health, she sees the indispensability of healing our minds, hearts and perceptions if we are to cultivate enduring wellness and meaning in our lives. She has continued to carry her medical knowledge and experience forward as a Wilderness Medicine Instructor, empowering individuals to provide pre-hospital care in remote settings (the wilderness, remote villages, disaster relief etc.).
In 2013, Katie and her husband, Sam, made the decision to return to wilderness therapy. They chose Open Sky for its holistic approach to healing and emphasis on the family system. Since arriving to Open Sky, Katie has continued to invest time and energy into her own growth, development and healing—through meditation retreats, a year-long mindfulness teacher training, and formal trainings centering on the field of interpersonal neurobiology. Katie transitioned from guiding to working in Family Services in 2014. Her current roles are Wellness Weekend Facilitator and Family Quest guide. Katie’s work with families is rooted in a deep sense of caring from which she blends the sharpness of her formal training with the lightness of laughter sourced in humility.
Aside from work, a most impactful avenue of experience for Katie has been traveling the world by bicycle. Her first journey was just after college, pedaling over 6000 miles through South America with her best girlfriend from childhood. From the seat of her bicycle, she continues to learn about the world and her place in it, about the practice of generosity, about what we have in common as human beings, and about the ever-giving gift of connection.
Thankfully she found a life partner who shares this passion. When they are not traveling the world by bicycle or working in the field, they can be found experimenting on their tandem mountain bike, busting “I feels” in the kitchen, or supporting one another to flourish in their own journeys.