| Dru Falco

Alumni Spotlight: Malcolm Marshall

Malcolm Marshall, CI alumWe recently caught up with Cottonwood Institute alum Malcolm Marshall, who was involved with CI at New Vista High School until he graduated in 2012. It’s incredible to hear about the longterm impact of our programs, and what our former students are up to!

You can read more Alumni Spotlights here.

What CI program(s) did you take and when?

The first CI program I attended was the Community Adventure Program (CAP) at New Vista High School. Taking that course made me want to be more involved with CI and other outdoor adventure/sustainability programs. There was an environmental sustainability group that was starting to form at New Vista, and I knew I wanted to be a part of it. The group would eventually be known as the Earth Task Force (ETF). For the remainder of my time at New Vista, I co-led the ETF, as well as assisted with CAP trips that would happen multiple times per semester.

Outside of New Vista-related CI programs, I had the amazing opportunity to spend a week at Mission: Wolf learning about native wolves, their impact on surrounding areas, and survival skills, as well as helping out with feeding and upkeep. Truly an experience that can never be compared. 

What do you remember most about your CI experience?

Malcolm Marshall Alumni SpotlightUltimately, student-leading weekend backpacking trips has to be the most memorable. It was so fulfilling to take students to the mountains for a new experience when they may have not had the means or know-how to do it themselves. When it came time to go to college, I wanted to take that fulfilling feeling with me, and expand upon it. I attended Prescott College to study adventure education and psychology with the intent to create a wilderness therapy program. While this is not the path I ended up taking, I would not have even considered it an option if I hadn’t attended the CI programs that I did. 

What are you up to these days?

These days I am working as a software engineer (quite the 180, I know). Previously, I was working as a tower technician for a tower engineering company. I loved working on cell towers and being outside every day. But I was missing an element of mental stimulation, which is why when COVID-19 hit, I quit my job and got into software engineering. I now have more time and energy to do the things I love up in the mountains and nature away from my computer. 

Looking back now, how has your CI experience impacted you longterm?

From my experience with CI, I gained a different appreciation for outdoor activities. Not just what nature can provide me, but how I can also give back. I will forever continue to pursue experiences like I had with CI and share that with those around me.

Based on your CI experience, what advice would you give to other students?

Take full advantage of CI and the amazing programs they offer. Time moves fast, and it is all too easy to let these opportunities slide by. Opportunities that may not present themselves again in the future. This is a unique program. Everyone who works for, or volunteers with CI, cares deeply about enriching each student’s life. A community is created, and lifelong friends are made.

Thanks so much for catching up with us, Malcolm!

Are you interested in being featured in an Alumni Spotlight? Email Dru at dru@cottonwoodinstitute.org to share your story.

Categories: Alumni Spotlight

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