Faculty profile: Rosie Hackett


Photo courtesy: Rosie Hackett

Professor Rosie Hackett keeping warm in the snow filled winter

It’s 5 a.m. and Rosie Hackett’s alarm is already going off. To start her days off with consistency and discipline, Hackett begins every morning with yoga, meditation and affirmations. She then makes sure that before her long workday, she manages to get outside for an intense physical activity. Whether it’s a quick backcountry ski lap, or getting muddy while mountain biking, she knows the way to get herself in the right headspace for the day is breathing in some cool, crisp air first thing in the morning.

“I’m like a hippie at heart. We’re all one. We’re all part of this universe,” Hackett said. “When you get outside, we sort of remember that, and we throw down all these barriers of what makes us feel different and more special than others.”

Hackett is an energetic, free-spirited, outdoor enthusiast, who once spent all 365 days of the year sleeping outside under the stars. She is also responsible for creating the Outdoor Adventure Leadership major at Sierra Nevada College. She gets through her days by helping students find sparks within themselves and helping them learn how to ignite them.

“My mission is that I enthusiastically support my students in getting radically curious and courageous about their potential,” Hackett said.

Hackett grew up an east New England girl, living on a horse farm with her family. She attended a small liberal arts college in Maine, where she found her love for the outdoors. Her freshman year, Hackett joined in on a wilderness orientation where she had her first real extended outdoor experience.

“I just knew from that moment, as I am hiking with this crew, this is what I want to do,” Hackett said. “That changed my life. I truly saw the power of being outside to change lives and to enrich the community.”

After her first year of college, Hackett decided she needed a break. She took a year off to explore. During that year, Hackett obtained her captain’s license and sailed from Maine to South America, sailed the West Indies and sailed the Caribbean Rim. She also became a pro snowboarder and spent her winter at Squaw Valley competing. To cap the year off, Hackett decided to enhance her outdoor skills and took an outdoor educators semester in the Pacific Northwest. After her adventures, Hackett said she came back to school more disciplined and knowing what she really wanted to study.

Throughout college Hackett developed other outdoor skills. She worked every summer building on her experiences with adventures including: working for Outward Bound for sailing and sea kayaking, traveling to Colorado to work in winter environments, in Alaska to be a river and sea kayaking guide, and in France to guide climbers up big peaks. She also did an exchange year to India and Nepal and then stayed for a year after to climb mountains.

“The stars and the granite were all starting to flow through my veins,” Hackett said.

Of all the far-flung places she’s worked, Hackett says her favorite job is working at SNC.

“It’s one thing, when you lead expeditions; but when you teach others to lead, and to be in their boldness and their beauty, it creates this incredible ripple effect,” Hackett said. “I think that’s what I love so much about SNC.”

Hackett is the one responsible for creating the Outdoor Adventure Leadership course at SNC along with Interdisciplinary Studies Program Chair Katie Zanto. Hackett is happy with how the program has turned out. She thinks that the program is in a perfect stage currently, because it has had 10 years of growth, but is still young enough to be dynamic and always adapting.

This program helps students learn transferrable life skills of communication and risk management. Hackett says this is one of the most beneficial majors students can take.

“Putting on your hiking boots, and hiking through gnarly terrain, is the same skill set its going to take you to be successful in any aspect of your life,” Hackett said.

When Hackett isn’t at SNC she is spending time with her two kids. She aims to help her kids find the same passion for the outdoors. Her older daughter is currently her favorite ski buddy. Hackett has been pushing her to hike to find better lines, and to find the flow state. Hackett says sharing the mountains with her kids is the most amazing thing in her life right now.

The future for Hackett is looking just as adventurous as her current lifestyle. Hackett hopes to continue to help people be their best, and find themselves in the outdoors. She sees herself in 20 years being really refined in her coaching and leadership skills. She hopes to have at least visited Japan, New Zealand, Iceland, Norway and Scandinavia by then, and possibly to have lived in a van traveling around with her husband.

“I just truly believe that people breath deeply and connect with one another on a really deep level when they get outside,” Hackett said.