• AS Outdoor Adventures

Meet the Guides

Get to know our close knit community of trained and experienced student staff. All of our Wilderness Outing Instructors have over 10 days of back country training and an additional focus on technical activities to provide you with the safest, most competent wilderness experience possible. All our staff are an equal mix of trained medical practitioners, cooks, drivers, outdoor educators, and fun facilitators culminating in pretty incredible outdoor professionals.

  • Jon Acuna

    Jon Acuna

    Looking for a one-of-a-kind guide to show you the way? Look to the stars! Jon has a passion for astronomy that is matched by his love for pushing his physical limit. Let Jon guide you on a mystic night hike, then pull up a chair by the fire and listen to the story of our universe through the eyes of a star speaker. Our resident astrophysicist hopes to use his experience in the marines and CSUN degree to someday work for NASA designing telescopes. To hunt for the best night skies, Jon has wandered the Sierras. When he is not backpacking or canoeing, you can find Jon strolling around Comic Con with his signature grin.

  • Jefferson Barstad

    Jefferson “JB” Barstad

    JB is coming back for his second year as a guide for Outdoor Adventures. Rumor has it he summited Mount Whitney at age 7 and has been hooked on crisp mountain air ever since. JB hopes to become a doctor one day, but until then he is more than happy to share his favorite places across California with folks. JB describes his perfect weekend as backpacking around Lake Tahoe with a backpack full of Nutella and a kindle full of Game of Thrones.

  • Wayne Borromeo

    Wayne Borromeo

    Wayne is a fourth year CTVA major here at CSUN. When Wayne isn’t on an excursion down one of the many canyons of Pasadena, you’ll find him drawing or practicing photography. Wayne grew up with a love of the outdoors living in Washington. After traveling to Thailand and the Philippines, he decided to pursue an education in the entertainment industry and wandered his way to Northridge. If there is rock climbing or rappelling going on, Wayne will be sure to show up with a helmet and a camera.

  • Peter Chagnon

    Peter Chagnon

    Peter has been working for Outdoor Adventures for 4 years and has led trips to Big Sur, the Colorado River, numerous day hikes in LA, Yosemite, and Joshua Tree. When he is not studying puns of the English and French language, he works on finishing up his CTVA degree with a French minor. Peter is a natural teacher whose passion for introducing people to the wonders of the outdoor world is unparalleled. Peter also has 80 hours of wilderness medicine training. After one trip with Peter, you will have all the skills and knowledge to camp anywhere and everywhere.

  • Cole Christie

    Cole Christie

    Cole Christie has been a trip leader for Outdoor Adventures for 4 years, an EMT, and adrenaline junkie; if it’s an Outdoor Activity, Cole has done it — probably twice. When he is not leading OA trips or working as a supervisor in the office, you can find Cole riding his motorcycle, hanging out in natural hot springs, and generally doing awesome stuff day in and day out. Cole's trips cover a lot of ground and have a lot of fun, so be prepared to be moving from sun up until sun down as you explore the woods with him.

  • Ariana Cortes

    Ariana Cortes

    Ari Cortes is a third year trip leader of Outdoor Adventures. She is a certified food handler and trained in Wilderness First aid. Expert backcountry chef, and prone to giggling, Ariana has worked and laughed her way across California. Her favorite trip was snowshoeing in Yosemite National Park, with backpacking through the Southern Sierra coming in a close second. During her free time, she works at the OA Rental Center, drives her mini cooper, and plays with her cat “Milkshakes.” One of the nicest people you will ever meet, she puts on a pretty great trip when you go into the backcountry with her.

  • Erica Flores

    Erica "E-Rex" Flores

    Erica ‘E-Rex’ Flores is a second year student, determinedly working to someday be Ellen Degeneres' co-host. Until then, E-Rex, brings her spunky, fun loving attitude out into the woods with Outdoor Adventures. Erica has explored the dunes of Death Valley, the slopes of the western Sierra all while pondering life, and raving about dinosaurs. As you would expect from her nickname, E-Rex is quickly climbing the outdoor food chain as she takes on any and all Wilderness Experiences that she can get her hands on.

  • Celeste Ghottschalk

    Celeste Ghottschalk

    Come say hi to Celeste in our Rental Center and sign up to go out into the woods with our resident Ultra Light Backpacker. Celeste is currently studying Recreation Tourism Management and hopes to run her own summer camp some day. This past summer she hiked sections of the Appalachian Trail throughout the East Coast and worked as a camp counselor in Pennsylvania. Celeste has her Wilderness First Aid Certification, and is also a Leave No Trace and TREAD Lightly instructor. Celeste’s favorite outdoor experience has been doing off trail navigation throughout Joshua Tree National Park.

  • Danielle McGuire

    Danielle McGuire

    Danielle McGuire has been know to kayak rocks and climb water. That's right, it’s not backwards, she is just that awesome. Her facebook is an extensive collection of her standing on the edge of massive rock faces, most of which tower above sweeping oceans or rugged boulder fields. When she is not climbing, backpacking, or paddling across California, she finds time to pursue her degree in English and write for Darling Magazine.

  • Sara Mcgillewie

    Sara Mcgillewie

    This girl lives and breathes outdoors! She lives out of her tent on a sustainable co-operative farm, picking berries and hosting the occasional music festival. When she is not tilling the land, Sara can be found relaxing in a hammock with a Biology textbook, novel, drawing pad, or harmonica. Passionate about human and animal rights, yoga, ethnobotany, herbal teas, and rock climbing, Sara hopes to apply her hobbies to a career in Wildlife Ecology. Take a trip with this girl, and you will certainly not forget it. Just don’t forget to pack your tie dye!

  • Kelsi McRee

    Kelsi McRee

    Kelsi McRee is our favorite East Coaster. Kelsi hails from smalltown USA, somewhere in Connecticut. She always dreamed of bringing her big smile, bubbly personality, and silly accent to California. Since she was out here she decided she should explore every inch of this strange new state and every activity that she couldn’t partake in at her cold, harsh homeland. As a second year kinesiology major, Kelsi has been able to apply her knowledge to Outdoor Recreation and Education. Get ready for a fun trip full of laughs with Kelsi.

  • Emma Millard

    Emma Millard

    OA’s resident super athlete Emma hails from Finland. Emma is a third year Recreation Tourism Major, who is also a member of the CSUN Track Team where she crushes hurdles in her spare time. Emma loves backpacking and road tripping. Her favorite place to be is backpacking in the Sierra (ideally Sequoia). Emma once hiked 27 miles in one day along the California Coast. Just a little marathon through the sand… no biggie.

  • David Montero

    David Montero

    You might not see David around campus, because every free moment he gets is spent exploring the green spaces of California and Arizona. After hiking every trail in Santa Barbara he could find, David and his family would camp and explore throughout the Sierras from Yosemite to Sequoia and everything in between. David is a swiss army knife of skills, knowing how to canoe, kayak, rock climb, slack-line, backpack, canyoneer, go caving, and wilderness first responder. Be ready for adventure on a Montero trip.

  • Cristina Moreno

    Cristina Moreno

    Once a traveler, always a traveler: Cristina is a seasoned world-trekker. In between global humanitarian work and personal camping trips, Cristina manages to find time to dedicate herself to family, friends, and Outdoor Adventures. From her humble beginning as an OA participant, she was managed to broaden her outdoor career from coordinating summer camps with the YMCA to leading trips with OA. If you are lucky enough to get a trip with Cristina, we guarantee that her infectious smile will be there too!

  • Ian Navarro

    Ian Navarro

    A senior graduate assistant at CSUN Outdoor Adventures, Ian identifies himself as a climber who is trapped behind a desk. After working at REI’s across the country for 7 years, Ian decided to bring his many talents to CSUN OA. Aside from managing the SRC Ridge rock wall, teaching classes and clinics on climbing and advanced backpacking, and guiding trips, Ian also loves to slack line and mountain bike whenever he can gets the chance. After getting his masters in Recreation Tourism Management he hopes to open a sustainable eco tourism hotel/farm nestled in the foothills of the Sierra; until then he wants to share his passion and knowledge of the outdoors with anyone and everyone.

  • Connor Reeves

    Connor Reeves

    Baptized in the waters of rock climbing, Connor has become one of our most talented climbers. When he isn’t lead climbing in his off time, he can be found furthering his passion on the SRC wall. A true lover of the arts, Connor spends his down time looking for the best music and preparing his next film project. With a camera in hand, rest assured Connor is ready to document the world through the eyes of a mountain strider.

  • Jessica Rivas

    Jessica Rivas

    Have you ever wanted to meet Indiana Jones in real life? We have the next best thing; Jessica Rivas. She is our resident explorer, Anthropologist, hiker, adventurer, and pizza enthusiast. She has recently discovered her love for trying new things; and thus can be seen climbing in her trademark reversible pants. Stop on by the Office to say hey, get some gear rented out by Jessica, and ask about which trips she’s attending!

  • Michael Suzao

    Michael Suzao

    What do you get when you mix an athlete, with a scientist, a little Bear Grylls, Central American spices, and a calculator? OA’s own Michael Suazo. With a degree in mechanical engineering and working at the municipal water treatment plant, Michael Suazo ensures that we all get our eight glasses of water a day. When not running trips, you can find him on the weekends playing soccer and giving the goalie a run for his money. Playing on one of 4 teams, tearing it up in white and pink, it would be wise not to try and outrun him because he used to dominate the 400 meter back in the day. Fueled up by protein, protein, with some protein on top, you will be ensured to have plenty of food on any of his trips. Come into the office and you will be greeted by his warm handshake and guaranteed smile.

  • Skyler Szczepanski

    Skyler Szczepanski

    From mountain tops to ocean depths, Skyler Szczepanski loves traveling in nature, guiding trips, and exploring the outdoors with awesome people! An aspiring jack-of-all-trades, "Skylie", one of our youngest trip leaders (by age not experience!), is an ambitious outdoor explorer focusing on rock climbing, learning how to whitewater kayak, scuba diving, and slowly but surely venturing into the sacred waters of ultralight backpacking. You can find Skyler working at the Ridge Rock Wall, where he is one of the lead route setters, or stacking his schedule with equal parts, personal excursions, and awesome guided trips to the wilderness here at OA! Skyler’s five year plan includes learning to trad climb, becoming a whitewater raft guide, scuba diving in the Caribbean, backpacking Europe’s wilderness, completing the famous John Muir Trail, climbing Machu Picchu, and winning a prized Graduate Assistantship at an Outdoor Adventure program somewhere within a close proximity to all types of class A, outdoor recreational fun and adventure.

  • Tim Szczepanski

    Tim Szczepanski

    After founding CSUN Outdoor Adventures (OA) in 2008, Tim has worked tirelessly toward making CSUN OA one of the best collegiate programs in the nation. From a one room office with 2 trips a semester, Tim now oversees over 40 trips a semester, team building, equipment rentals, workshops, clinics, high ropes courses, first aid training, rental equipment, and a freshman camp. Not a day goes by when he doesn't take on another project. In another life, Tim was a pre olympic pole vaulter, professional dancer, and dabbled in competitive powerlifting. Now he is an ultra light backpacking enthusiast, RTM instructor, and one of the most personable, kindest, hardest working people you’ll find on campus.

  • Jack Trager

    Jack Trager

    Jack is a fourth year trip leader veteran and is our Day Trip master. If it’s within a 60 minute drive from CSUN, Jack has climbed, hiked, and paddled it more times than you can count. After getting his degree in Religious Studies, Jack hopes to travel the globe. His favorite color is purple, and his least favorite color is anything that is not purple. He is a certified Wilderness First Responder, amateur stand up comedian, and expert conversationalist. Going on a trip with Jack guarantees lots of laughs.

  • Chris Whitesides

    Chris Whitesides

    So you want to know everything there is about paddling the great rivers, lakes, and oceans of the world? You’re in luck! If you happen to get on a paddling trip with Chris Whitesides, you will know what it takes to be a master aquatics guru on anything that floats upon the sacred waters of our blue Earth. As a graduate assistant at CSUN Outdoor Adventures coming all the way from a town with just one stop sign, Whitesides also knows what it takes to work on a living ranch, raising cows (his favorite animal), and picking apples. Working towards his master’s degree in recreation, tourism management, this self-proclaimed Arcteryx sponsored enthusiast runs on organized chaos and self-induced ink poisoning (yep, he has a degree in English as well). When not running trips, you can find this stud riding stray stallions.