Cornell Tree Climbing Institute


Marc Magnus-Sharpe 
Lindseth Director of Cornell Outdoor Education
255-8004 |

Recently escaping NYC’s gravity, Magnus joined COE fall of 2013. His experiences include 11-years with Outward Bound as instructor and program director, as well as almost twenty years teaching and leading in public, independent and international schools. His city adventures went well beyond the canyons of midtown, guiding for Discover Outdoors as well as helping launch their foundation, which provides outdoor experiences for under served youth. Dedicated to service, Magnus is a long-time member of the National Canoe Safety Patrol, National Ski Patrol, OEC instructor, EMT and former paramedic.

Chris Leeming 
Land Programs Coordinator 
255-6273 |

Born and raised in Ithaca, Chris spent his summers working at camps along Cayuga Lake. After college (BA in psychology) Chris started working for the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School. Chris found his passion instructing 30 day wilderness courses with adjudicated students in the scenic, but hot, humid, and buggy swamps of Florida. Chris accumulated over 1800 field days as an Instructor and Course Director from Florida to Maine and stops in between. Along the way Chris has earned two Masters Degrees from two different institutions (MA Educational Administration, MS Recreation Administration). Chris has also coauthored a chapter on Outdoor Education with Dr. Tom Smith. In March, 2013 Chris was appointed to the Board of Advisors for Outward Bound USA. Previous to his current position with COE Chris was the Lead Facilitator for the Cornell Team and Leadership Center. When not working Chris can often be found baking bread or helping out at the local farmers market.

Ben Blakeley 
Outfitting Manager; Wilderness Medicine Coordinator
254-8264 |

A true local, Ben grew up in the hills surrounding Ithaca, but it wasn't until his senior year at Cornell, 1997, that he became involved with COE. Ben quickly resolved to make up for lost time and started by being a teaching assistant for basic rock climbing. He now teaches climbing, mountain biking, trail running, backpacking, sea kayaking, caving, and cross-country skiing. As Outfitting Manager, Ben manages course issue, and student and public rentals.  Ben is also in charge of COE's Wilderness Medicine program. In between COE activities he can be found playing soccer, playing with his dog, Acer, or playing with a yo-yo.

Rob Cook 
Climbing and Biking Programs Coordinator 
254-8255 |

Originally from the strip malls of Long Island, Rob came to Ithaca in pursuit of music. Very quickly he fell in love with the area and found himself exploring the gorges and backpacking instead of practicing his bass. He graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Outdoor Adventure Leadership and has previously worked in wilderness therapy, conservation and nature education. Rob enjoys Nordic skiing, paddling, rock climbing, backpacking, mountain biking and he can make a fire by rubbing sticks together. He lives in a yurt outside of Ithaca and still plays his bass.

Mark Holton 
Director of Outdoor Programs and Risk Management 
254-2798 |

Mark considers himself a transplanted Ithaca local. Originally from NH, Mark came to Cornell for graduate studies in Chemistry. While he did eventually graduate, Mark spent a good deal of his early years in Ithaca teaching rock climbing and skiing for COE. In October 2001, Mark finally decided to follow his heart and teach outdoor education full time.

Amy Kohut 
The Dan Tillemans Director of The Cornell Team & Leadership Center 
254-7474 |

Amy Kohut is the Director of the Cornell Team and Leadership Center. Amy has been a manager, trainer and consultant for experience-based programs for over 25 years, and has worked for top rated organizations such as Outward Bound and Project Adventure. In 2005 Amy received the Excellence in Training and Consulting Award for Creative Leadership in the Art of Facilitation from Project Adventure, Inc.

Annie Socci '01 
Academic and Long Term Programs Coordinator, CTLC 
255-6932 |

Annie (’01) discovered her love of backcountry spaces as a student instructor at Cornell Outdoor Education teaching backpacking, paddling, winter camping and outdoor leadership. Annie has since gained over 12 years of experience as an instructor, course director and trainer (of both people and sled dogs) with the Voyageur Outward Bound School in Minnesota, and earned a PhD in Biology from Boston University (’11). In her new role at COE, Annie is excited to be integrating outdoor and experiential education into academic courses at Cornell.

Matt Cowburn 
Challenge Course Program Coordinator for CTLC 
255-9512 |

Joining the COE family full-time in July 2014, Matt has worked as an experiential educator since the late 90’s. He holds a current ACCT Challenge Course Manager Certification and is an Alum of the Recreation and Leisure Studies Department at nearby SUNY Cortland (BS and MS). Matt has been part of the COE community in the past. During the summers of 2011 and 2012 he held the Summer Lead Facilitator position for CTLC. In summer 2013, he began work at Syracuse University as the coordinator of their newly built challenge course. There, he helped build SU’s program and facilitator staff until his return to Cornell. A local native, Matt enjoys playing/ seeing live music and spending quality time with his wife Rebecca and their two dogs, Guinness and Sierra.

Sarah Myers 
Skiing and Paddling Programs Coordinator 
255-3802 |

Sarah came back to her home state of NY in search of snow and pleasant summers after living in North Carolina for the past seven years. After acquiring the new married name Myers, she moved here with her husband and their black lab, Buzz, and settled right off of Myers Point where there is easy access to the lake. Together they enjoy canoeing, hiking, mountain biking, and eating ice cream. Other university outdoor programs that Sarah has worked for include Quest at Bloomsburg University, East Carolina University's Adventure Program, and Venture at UNC Charlotte. Sarah believes in the power of experiential education and enjoys introducing others to the outdoor activities that she loves.

Andrew McLaughlin 
Special Programs Coordinator 
254-1357 |

After assuming many positions with COE and CTLC Andrew is at home in a full time capacity. Believing that experience is the best way to learn, Andrew has been in many professions that all have the commonality of being outside, different each day, and full of new learning. He has been backpacking since he couldn't carry a helpful load and started to experience the snow bundled in a pulk behind his parents. While studying Geological Sciences, in college he fell in love with rock climbing and has been looking down on beautiful scenery ever since. ACCT Level 2 and SPRAT Level 1 certified.

Amy Woodin 
Office Manager/COE Registrar 
255-6183 |

Amy has lived in the area her whole life. She started at Cornell in 1987 and has had numerous positions throughout the university. Amy enjoys birding with her husband, Mike and spending time on Cayuga Lake in the summer with her family and 2 labs.