• Announcing the Outer Coast Semester!

    10 August 2019

    Last Saturday, the 2019 Outer Coast Summer Seminar officially came to a close. After an incredible five weeks of hard work building trails, relationships, community, and much more, the students said their goodbyes (for now).


  • The 2019 Summer Seminar is Live!

    19 July 2019

    At the start of the month, the second Outer Coast Summer Seminar kicked off with 23 rising high school juniors and seniors.


  • Introducing the 2019 Outer Coast Summer Seminar Student Body!

    29 May 2019

    They’re coming! From down the street and around the globe, the student body of the 2019 Outer Coast Summer Seminar will arrive in Sitka at the end of June. We can’t wait for them to be here.


  • 2019 Summer Seminar Course Offerings

    20 February 2019

    We have 2019 Summer Seminar faculty and courses! Three, in fact.


  • Outer Coast announces its Board of Advisors + new application deadline for Summer Seminar

    14 February 2019

    We’re extending the Summer Seminar application deadline to February 22.


  • Summer Seminar Applications are Live!

    16 January 2019

    The Outer Coast Summer Seminar Application is now open!


  • Final Update of 2018

    29 December 2018

    Before we close out the year, we have one more thing to share with you: the latest draft of the Outer Coast prospectus – what we are calling version 8.3.


  • 501(c)(3) Status and Other Annoucements

    26 September 2018

    After what was truly an amazing summer, the Outer Coast team convened in Sitka earlier this month to take stock of where we are and make plans for the coming year.


  • The First Student Body Reflects on the Summer Seminar

    17 September 2018

    The inaugural Outer Coast Summer Seminar came to an emotional close on August 4. We, the first Outer Coast students ever, wanted to give you some insight into what our lives were like during our month in Sitka and just how extraordinary this program is.


  • Launching the Summer Seminar

    09 June 2018

    The inaugural Outer Coast Summer Seminar is less than a month away. On July 6th, a passionate, curious, and diverse cohort of exceptional high school students from around Alaska and across the country will arrive in Sitka.

    Over four weeks, students will spend mornings immersed in a college-level seminar, Perspectives on Freedom, Authority, and Polarization. Afternoons will find them beating back brush on the local trail system and re-siding an outbuilding on the historic Sheldon Jackson campus. In the evenings, they will study, host guest speakers, and determine how to live together through the practice of self-governance.


  • Join the Outer Coast Team!

    30 April 2018

    Outer Coast is hiring!

    Looking for a summer opportunity in Sitka? We are looking for two bright, self-directed, and mission-aligned individuals to join the Outer Coast team via the Alaska Fellows Program beginning this September:

    The Development and Administration Fellow is a primary collaborator on the Outer Coast team and works directly with the Development and Administration Associate. The Program and Operations Fellow assists and works with the Program and Operations Associate on all aspects of the project relating to operations and programming.

    Both fellows work on Outer Coast as part of the Alaska Fellows Program, a nine-month postgraduate fellowship program that places recent college graduates with organizations across Alaska, in Sitka, Anchorage, and Juneau. The Outer Coast Fellows are based in Sitka, where they live in community with other fellows who serve a variety of organizations in the Sitka community.


  • Summer Seminar – Student Application, Course Description, and Staff Openings

    27 March 2018

    Are you a high school sophomore or junior interested in the Summer Seminar? Or know someone who fits that description?

    You’re in luck.

    We received a bevy of applications from around Alaska and the Lower 48 and given additional inquiries about being able to apply for those who learned about the Summer Seminar in just the last few days, we are extending the deadline to 11:59 p.m. AKDT Saturday, March 31.

    Apply for the 2018 Summer Seminar


  • Summer Seminar – Student Application, Course Description, and Staff Openings

    27 February 2018

    “How do I apply for the Summer Seminar?” “What kind of course will be taught?” Two questions that have kept us busy for the last couple months as we finalized our Program Overview, went through draft upon draft of the student application, and interviewed a handful of brilliant and insightful faculty applicants.

    We have some exciting news. Really. The core team is dancing with elation.

    We have answers to these questions! Moreover, we are thrilled to share the following announcements with you:


  • Unveiling the project prospectus (and other updates)

    03 February 2018

    For our first update of the new year, we have a lot that’s new to share.

    We are launching a Summer Seminar for high school students from Alaska and beyond.

    We have expanded our team and are bearing down on all manner of work, from preparing our 1023 for final submission to the IRS for nonprofit determination to developing our logo and branding with a wonderful Juneau-based artist.

    We have been developing a recruitment network to identify promising Alaska high school students, liaising with dynamo educators and recent high school grads across Alaska, from Nuiqsut just off the Arctic Ocean, to Metlakatla on the Southeast Alaska-Canada border, to Unalaska on the Aleutian chain, and literally hundreds of others from communities big and small.

    But what we most want to share is a working draft — the latest of many (internally, it’s version 8.2, to give an idea) — of our project prospectus.


  • Outer Coast in The Economist

    22 December 2017

    ​Outer Coast is in the news! This year’s Christmas issue of The Economist has an exciting piece on Outer Coast and Deep Springs College, which highlights some of the similarities and differences between our models and approaches.

    We think the article gets a lot of things right, but there’s one thing we’d like to make absolutely clear: we intend to meet the full financial need of all Outer Coast students, whether they hail from Alaska Native communities, the state of Alaska, the Lower 48, or around the world.

    Deep minds: An alternative college education

    Your support will help us make that vision a reality for the Outer Coast Summer Seminar in July 2018, and we’d be thrilled if you can contribute today.


  • Outer Coast Summer Seminar

    17 December 2017

    Dear friend,

    The next big thing is here, and it’s not self-driving cars or tax reform. It’s the inaugural Outer Coast Summer Seminar.

    In exactly 200 days, as Southeast Alaska’s salmon start to fight their way up their natal streams to spawn, 12 high school students from Alaska and around the country will arrive by plane, ferry, and foot in Sitka for our 2018 Summer Seminar.

    For four chock-full weeks, students will spend mornings immersed in a fast-paced, college-level discussion-based seminar; afternoons will find them tackling service work from assisting resource management agencies to restoring salmon habitat to beating back brush and other maintenance work on the local trail system; and in the evenings, they will study, host guest speakers, and experience the joys and hair-ripping frustrations of self-governance.

    Sounds like a dream, right? But for a dozen curious, adventurous students, it will be real.

    The 2018 Summer Seminar is a critical step along the path of realizing our vision of Outer Coast as a thriving institution of higher education in Sitka, Alaska.

    The mission of Outer Coast is audacious: to prepare its students to make virtuous change in a world that, with every passing, tumultuous day needs it ever more. The 2018 Summer Seminar will allow us to test, refine, and further explore how to do this best.

    Please invest in the launch of the Summer Seminar. Your contribution, matched by larger gifts, will help us raise the $80,000 we need to secure student housing and classrooms, pay faculty and program staff, provide financial aid to all students who need it, and take this important step to opening the college.


    (Our generous partners at the Sitka Fine Arts Camp, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization under their parent organization, Alaska Arts Southeast, are our fiscal sponsors (EIN: 23-7240278). All contributions made by check are tax deductible.)


  • A Heads of Say What?

    20 November 2017

    We have a heads of agreement!

    A heads of say what?

    Yes, a heads of agreement, with Sitka Fine Arts Camp, owners and custodians of the Sitka Fine Arts Campus, née, Sheldon Jackson Campus, and our close partners in the Outer Coast project.

    But back to “heads of agreement” (HOA). Investopedia: “A non-binding document outlining the main issues relevant to a tentative partnership agreement. Heads of agreement represents the first step on the path to a full legally binding agreement or contract, and serves as a guideline for the roles and responsibilities of the parties involved in a potential partnership before any binding documents are drawn up.”

    We’re excited about the HOA and the pathway it represents.


  • Aurora Joins the Team

    10 October 2017

    Hello from Sitka!

    We’re excited to report on a summer of progress for Outer Coast, and a few milestones on the horizon.

    Welcoming Aurora Roth to the Outer Coast Team

    The first and most exciting news of this update is the addition of Aurora Roth to our Outer Coast team.

    Welcome, Aurora!

    In Sitka, Aurora joins Cecilia Dumouchel, who served as a Sitka Winter Fellow last year and now serves as Outer Coast’s first professional staff. Aurora and Cecilia constitute our dedicated capacity for the Outer Coast project (although we’re looking to grow the team in coming months — more on that later).

    Aurora brings a wonderful blend of positivism, focus, and dedication to go along with a rich Alaska background. Growing up in Fairbanks, and later moving to Girdwood, Alaska, Aurora competed as an alpine skier and continues to be involved in the skiing and avalanche education communities in Alaska.

    She attended Carleton College and last year earned a MS in Geophysics at the University of Alaska — Fairbanks, focusing on glaciology. Most recently, Aurora has supported science research in Greenland and Antarctica. Aurora has been deeply involved with Inspiring Girls Expeditions, which offers tuition-free wilderness expeditions for young women to explore science and art.

    We are so excited to welcome Aurora to the Outer Coast team and to the comparatively balmy, southeastern realm of Alaska!

    Aurora kayaking

    Aurora on a recent kayaking trip in Southeast Alaska.


  • Visiting the Valley

    29 June 2017

    Hi all,

    I’m Bryden Sweeney-Taylor, one of the Core Team members at Outer Coast. I was a student at Deep Springs from 1998 to 2000 and graduated from Harvard with a degree in Folklore and Mythology. Over the last dozen years, I’ve worked in non-profit education ventures, and I’m currently CEO of College Access and Success at America Achieves.

    I first learned about Outer Coast in the spring of 2015 while I was teaching at Deep Springs and Will Hunt, Outer Coast Winter Fellow and Core Team member, was finishing up his second year at Deep Springs. I met Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins later that summer, and my involvement in the project expanded throughout the 2015-2016 academic year. In the fall of 2016, I became a Core Team member.

    A Trip to Deep Springs

    Deep Springs College has been one of the inspirations for our work on Outer Coast from the get-go. So earlier this spring, fellow Core Team member Sara Feinberg and I rendezvoused with Mollie Kabler and Marya Pillifant, who serve on the Sitka Fine Arts Camp (SFAC) Board of Directors, for a visit to Deep Springs Valley in Eastern California.

    SFAC is the owner of the Sheldon Jackson Campus, the prospective home of Outer Coast, and the Board was eager to get a better sense of what Deep Springs is all about as part of their due diligence process to understand how Outer Coast could be integrated into the existing programs at Sheldon Jackson.

    Mollie and Marya came down all the way from Alaska — Sitka and Anchorage, respectively — to Las Vegas before heading north to Deep Springs. We arrived on a glorious Sunday afternoon that marked the start of the last week of Deep Springs’ spring term. Our first adventure had us heading south from the Main Circle of campus on a dusty dirt road, past the Dairy, Fields 5, 6, 7, and 8, the Metal Dump and the Dead Animal Dump, to the shores of Deep Springs Lake to catch a glimpse of the endemic Deep Springs Black Toad. We saw more than a few!

    Sara Feinberg, Mollie Kabler, and Bryden Sweeney-Taylor among the toads at Deep Springs Lake.

    Sara Feinberg, Mollie Kabler, and Bryden Sweeney-Taylor among the toads at Deep Springs Lake.


  • 6,112 Hours...

    03 May 2017

    We’re hard at work, and we wanted to let you know.

    First, marshaling our powers of arithmetic and educated estimation, and through a system of time accounting implemented last year, we have ballparked that our core team has invested approximately…

    6,112 hours towards moving Outer Coast to reality.

    We’re proud of this number. And of course, every hour has been matched by you and other friends and supporters with additional time, financial generosity, expertise, introductions, and encouragement. Thank you, all. We think it speaks to the magnitude of our commitment and the ambition of this idea.

    These inputs are creating progress.

    Terrell and Cecilia at the ferry terminal

    Terrell and Cecilia getting ready to board the M/V Malaspina (at 2:14 a.m.) to head back to Sitka from Juneau. They were in Juneau to work with Jonathan in person and meet up with key Outer Coast collaborators.


  • Sitka Winter Fellows – Outer Coast Position

    12 March 2017


    The Outer Coast team has been hard at work planning for the next program year. We have begun to map out a more robust staffing plan and organizational structure and are currently seeking someone who is eager to innovate on the cutting edge of higher education to join the team as a Sitka Winter Fellow beginning this fall.

    If you are interested in this position or know someone who would be a great fit, please pass along the position description found here. We are asking applicants to submit a resume and statement of purpose by March 24, 2017. If there are any questions regarding the application, please direct them to Cecilia at


  • Uber Eckholm and the Year Ahead

    20 January 2017

    Happy New Year!

    The Outer Coast team has enjoyed a productive couple of months. The core team gathered in New York City for a three day Uber Eckholm — we refer to our bi-monthly core team meetings as Eckholms, in reference to a cluster of islands in the Sitka Sound. At the Uber Eckholm, we had the opportunity to all be in the same room at 246 Greene Street, New York University, for a three-day-long convening.


    The principal team at work in NYC.


  • Past two months of progress; contributing to the future

    01 June 2016

    Musicals are complex creative products. You need a librettist, a director, a choreographer, a composer, a producer. A diverse team with disparate expertise working together to make the whole production sparkle.

    The same is true of Outer Coast, especially as we look back on the last two-plus months of progress. It’s a team effort. A medley of amazing people across Alaska, the U.S., and the world, working together to make real a new institution of higher learning that scintillates with creative, intellectual, and entrepreneurial energy.


    Photo credit: the inimitable Berett Wilber

    We want to showcase our own choreographers, lyricists, producers, etc., along with a sampling of their wonderful creations.


  • Building blocks for a college

    31 March 2016

    When we embarked on this project of creating a college, the process was almost more mysterious than the goal we were working towards. There’s no handbook on creating a college. Figuring out how to do it has been half the adventure, and we’re excited to share some of that progress with you.

    As we’ve marched forward we’ve identified discrete Lego blocks needed to build a college. There are many, but the most important are (in alphabetical order, because they’re all important):

    • accreditation
    • building a budget
    • campus (for us: Sheldon Jackson Campus and partnership with Sitka Fine Arts Camp)
    • curriculum, academics, and pedagogy
    • fundraising
    • recruitment, admissions, and building relationships with our future students


  • Outer Coast peers into the New Year, and looks back on recent past

    29 December 2015

    Good evening from beautiful Sitka, Alaska!

    Skiff in the mist

    (Photo by the estimable photographic talent, Berett Wilber

    Outer Coast in the news

    In the last month, Inside Higher Ed, the Sitka Sentinel, and the state paper-of-record Alaska Dispatch News have covered Outer Coast. Stray mentions are cropping up in parts of the blogosphere. We’re tickled every time a Google Alert sprouts in our inbox.


  • Blueprint for a college

    19 November 2015

    Last week, on November 11 and 12, more than a dozen creative, entrepreneurial, idealistic minds from across the country gathered in the Del Shirley room of Allen Hall, the heart of Sitka’s Sheldon Jackson Campus.

    Will, Javier, and Jonathan presented the foundational documents for Outer Coast they had prepared over the preceding two months: a detailed draft budget and what we are calling a “college blueprint” — a comprehensive blend of student handbook and operations plan.

    Our band of inspired collaborators interrogated every sentence of these documents, further invigorating the vision of the school and strengthening and deepening the detail of our plans.

    We are excited to share this college blueprint in the coming weeks. We are also excited to share a shot of last week’s gathering, taken by the inimitable James Poulson:

    Outer Coast meeting in Del Shirley room in Allen Hall


  • Outer Coast in Sitka, Alaska

    23 October 2015

    We are creating an institution of higher learning in Sitka, Alaska.

    “We” is an inclusive pronoun. The principal collaborators are Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, Will Hunt, and Javier Botero. We’ve been working on the project for a little more than a year.