Although born in Massachusetts, Oliver Scofield did much of his growing up in Jackson Hole, Wyoming with Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks practically in his backyard. In high school, he worked on the Teton’s Jenny Lake ferry and did trail and conservation work in the Park. He imagined working for the National Park Service someday.
But first, he ventured the distance back east to the University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School as an “undecided” major. He chose Parks, Recreation and Tourism (PRT) – what better program to learn more about his passion, the national parks? He was especially fortunate to have Professor Robert Manning, who spent much of his career conducting research in the national parks, as his academic advisor.
As a high school champion long distance runner, Oliver also found a good fit with UVM’s Division I cross country and track and field teams.
“I wanted the experience of being well away from home,” said Oliver. “It was pretty cool to learn concepts in my PRT classes in Vermont and then see those concepts at work in the Wyoming national parks when I went back home.”
Oliver enjoyed the Rubenstein School community and its core curriculum that all undergraduates in the School follow during their four years. “I got into the senior year core courses and suddenly realized I had gotten to know all my classmates,” he shared. “You don’t get that at other institutions.”
In the Resort Management and Marketing course taught by Senior Lecturer David Kaufman, Oliver took advantage of the required internship during a fall semester. He learned the basics of hotel management, marketing, and operation at the Courtyard by Marriot in Burlington.
He also continued to spend his summers working for Jenny Lake Boating, Inc. in Grand Teton National Park. During his last summer at the Park, his growing GIS expertise, as a minor in Geospatial Technologies in the Rubenstein School, qualified him to work as a cartographic technician on the Park’s geospatial support team.
Oliver mapped and analyzed irrigation ditches remaining in the Park from abandoned ranches and acted as the local GPS expert for a glacier monitoring project. He worked in the field and office with GIS and glacier specialists and other National Park Service staff to monitor recession of glaciers in the Tetons and in Yellowstone.
As a UVM athlete, Oliver ran on the cross country team and specialized in the 3000 and 5000 meter races in indoor and outdoor track and field. Known as “the fast five,” the team of Aaron Anderstrom (’16), Fletcher Hazlehurst (’16), Dan Moroney (’16), Thomas O’Leary (’16), and Oliver (’16) lived and practiced together each day. They became one of the best groups of distance runners to compete at UVM.
Oliver made All New England Outdoor and was on the America East Conference Academic Honor Roll and the America East Conference Academic Commissioner’s Honor Roll.
As successful in the classroom as on the track, Oliver earned the Rubenstein School Junior Year Dean’s Book Award for Parks, Recreation and Tourism and as a senior, won the Academic Achievement Award for the program.
An experienced hiker and backpacker with wilderness first aid certification, Oliver plans to travel for a year after graduation and visit family, friends, and, of course, parks. “I would like to be a backcountry ranger in Grand Teton National Park,” he said, “but I want to look at other places to get a better idea of where I would like to work.”