My Story

At 13 years old I did my first high ropes course. Dangling in my harness 30 feet above the ground, I said to myself: “THIS is a job! I want this job.” Soon thereafter I started working as a camp counselor and loved everything about it–working with children, spending time outside, teaching new skills, being silly and spontaneous, and most importantly, feeling like I was really making a difference in people’s lives. The opportunity to share my passions, connect people to natural environments, foster opportunities for personal and group development, and create effective educational spaces has fueled me and led me to where I am now. I’ve done this work with the Peace Corps, Outward Bound, summer camps, and now, as a college professor. This is what Outdoor Leadership is all about— harnessing the power of the outdoors and associated activities as tools for education, growth and development.


  • B.S. in Outdoor Recreation and Resource Management, Indiana University
  • M.S. in Outdoor Recreation and Resource Management, Indiana University
  • Ph.D. in Leisure Behavior, Indiana University
  • Wilderness First Responder, Leave No Trace Master Educator

Research Interests

  • Health and Natural Landscapes
  • Experiential Education in higher education contexts
  • Parent-child relationship development through outdoor adventure

Courses Taught

  • ODL 1000: History and Philosophy of Adventure Education
  • ODL 2410: Natural Environments and Human Health
  • ODL 3251: Universal Adventure Programming

Crews and Other Activities

  • Journal of Experiential Education, editorial board member and reviewer
  • Association for Experiential Education, member
  • Evergreen Community Charter School, board member

Contact Dr. Overholt

(828) 771-3820
Mitchell B
WWC CPO 6268

PO Box 9000

Asheville, NC 28815-9000
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