Name: Ezra Fradkin
Graduation Year: 2015
Education: Self-Design Major, BA Civic & Community Agriculture
Current Hometown: Keene, New Hampshire
Employment: Program Director at Kroka Expeditions
Other Interests: performing in local community theater and exploring the underground world of New England
Can you tell us about your current work?
I am an administrator for a farm-based wilderness expedition school that serves 1,000+ kids and teenagers annually. My work is about 80% in the office and 20% in the field: I spend two weeks each season guiding expeditions and the rest of my time planning programs, hiring and training staff, marketing, and enrolling students. We’re a small, dedicated team with a bold mission operating on a minimal budget, so there’s never a dull moment. Yesterday we closed the office for our annual chicken slaughter. Today I’m on the phone with the BLM in Utah putting together last-minute permits for a canyoneering trip. Tomorrow I’m interviewing applicants for the Arctic to Manhattan Semester.
How did Sterling influence your current career path?
I learned about Sterling back when I was a student at Kroka, and I was hired for the position at Kroka while I was a Sterling student. It’s been exciting to see the relationship grow between the two organizations. We currently have five Kroka alumni up in Craftsbury Common, and Sterling serves as a partner for the programs we offer at Kroka. In a way my current work is an extension of my time at Sterling. Sterling taught me to be a generalist and that life skills matter, and these two values have been key to developing my career path.
How are you serving as a beacon in these turbulent ecological and political times? What are you hopeful about? Where/how/from what do you find inspiration?
I’m fortunate that my workplace is supportive of activism and committed to social justice and that I can stand behind the mission. There’s a lot going on in the political picture that is scary and hard to confront. Focusing positive energy at the community level is a powerful source of light: there’s an abundance of inspiring local projects that have brought young people to settle in this part of rural New Hampshire. You don’t have to be out in the streets to make an impact, but you have to be willing to buckle down and make the change.
What is your most memorable “out in the field” story?
I had a blast with Farley Brown and Carol Dickson on the first-ever Hudson River Watershed Global Field Study. There were only six students on the trip. We camped in the Adirondacks where the park requires bear canisters, so we had to carefully measure our food before departing. But we stopped on the drive out to pick apples and arrived in our first night’s camp with twice as much as could fit in the canisters. We all cracked up! It was the start of a memorable two weeks that ended with a bunch of Sterling students in Manhattan.
Any words of wisdom for current Sterling students?
Most of my learning at Sterling took place outside of classes. Sterling is what you make of it: if there’s an opportunity to attend a lecture, share a meal with faculty, go on a Student Activities trip, or join a field study, do it! If there is something that you want to do, even if it doesn’t exist yet, make it happen. It’s a short few years. You won’t always be in a space that exists entirely to support YOU!