I'm a sport and exercise science professor at Benedictine University outside of Chicago. My love of nature really began in high school and college as an avid cross-country runner training in Wild Life Refuges or State Parks. I fell in love with the Appalachians when I lived in Virginia, and romanticized the idea of Thru-Hiking the AT while running or hiking in SNP. I lived in Colorado during my doctoral work, and taught college courses including some on hiking and took students to RMNP for class. During grad school, I struggled with staying active and gained a lot of weight. I've set the goal of Thru-Hiking the AT in 2021 to motivate myself to take my life back from stress and inactivity.