Student - Alumni Spotlight

A photo of Jessica Jessica Blount, Equipment Manager, National Outdoor Leadership School Patagonia, Coyhaique, Chile

The December before I graduated high school, I received a pamphlet about this hiking trip called First Ascent. I asked my Dad for the backpacking trip as my High School graduation gift. We went to REI to shop for all the gear I would need and all I wanted him to buy me was a backpack. He obviously said, “No,” seeing as I had never even set foot on a trail before. “What if you don’t like backpacking,” he retorted. Little did either of us know it would be the beginning of a life-long passion.

That was in 2002. I went on the backpacking trip and quickly fell head over heels in love with Outdoor Programs. I went by the office as much as I could, eating lunch there everyday with people...

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Derek DiLuzio's Headshot Derek DiLuzio, Adventure Photographer

Derek graduated from Appalachian in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science in Recreation Management

It was in Boone while I attended Appalachian where I discovered the outdoors and first picked up a camera. I began by leading trips through Outdoor Programs.   At first, I hated people who would take photographs on my trips. It drove me nuts. Constantly stopping, holding the group up and taking away from the experience I was trying to deliver. Then, on an expedition to New Zealand through Appalachian I took a disposable camera. Throughout the month I shot one roll of film. I brought it back and showed some friends and family. They loved the photographs. So I decided to buy a small digital...

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