SeaState’s Mission is to create study abroad programs that combine unique and dynamic course instruction and community engagement with immersion in coastal communities. The goal being to build cultural awareness, environmental stewardship, and practical skills for our alumni to take with them into OUR globalized world.

What we do…

In all of our unique and accredited programs, we create a study abroad environment that combines close relationships with faculty and staff, cultural and language immersion, engagement with local stakeholders, rigorous academic content, and the most fun imaginable.

Why we do it…

A great deal of research, including ours, finds that international tourism tends to create a bubble around tourists which shelters them from the real people, landscapes, and challenges facing the areas visited. SeaState strives for authentic immersion, engagement, and participation with local people and ecosystems to burst these bubbles of ignorance. The purpose of our trips are to not only provide memorable and life changing experiences, but also to transfer skills necessary for our alumni to enhance their compassion, global citizenship, environmental stewardship, and marketability for our globalized world.

Apply to Study

We have built global networks through extensively traveling and conducting scholarly research, which we hope to share with you in the field. Below you can find out a bit more about us.


Sarah Hughen


Sarah Hughen was born in rural Wisconsin. Her upbringing was deeply rooted in nature, and this draw to wild places has led her all over the world.  A desire to connect, and not merely move through places found her on numerous extended expeditions including a 100 day kayak and first ascent mountaineering trip in Southern Patagonia, a 90 day paddle across Northern Canada, and a photography expedition down the Mackenzie River for 1,000 miles documenting local villages in the Arctic.  Sarah received a formal Degree in photography from Montana State, and currently lives in Cardiff-by-the-Sea with her husband of 20 years and two young boys Oliver and Evan. Living in Cardiff Sarah made a deep connection to the wilderness and lessons that surfing brings, and is hopelessly addicted. Her most recent project (A Wave A Day) involved an awareness campaign for breast cancer in which she vowed to surf every single day for a year, and document her inspiring personal challenge. Founding SeaState is a natural extension of Sarah’s immense field experience and deep rooted passion for responsible travel and the life altering experiences it can bring for all.

Dr. Leon Mach

Academic Advisor

Leon’s passion for surfing has not only led him around the world, but has also guided him through graduate school. He has completed his Ph.D. from the University of Delaware’s Center for Energy and Environmental Policy with focuses in environmental justice and international tourism and also earned a Higher Education Certification. Leon has led numerous accredited study abroad programs throughout Central and South America and Southeast Asia and is an energetic advocate for encouraging students to apply what they are passionate about into their studies as he has with surfing and sustainability.

Brad Zaporski

Program Leader / Professor

Brads interest in being an educator started while working as a contracted guide to Medical Aid workers in Papua New Guinea. Brad filled his time there working with the International Education Agency teaching in tribes outside of the capitol city of Port Moresby. Subsequent to this, Brad spent a decade guiding on some of the world’s most powerful and remote rivers before settling in Telluride, Colorado. Those years as a professional river guide took Brad around the globe and ignited a desire to work with the existing forces of nature to develop clean renewable energy in his own community. It was this desire that set Brad on course to work with San Miguel Power Association, where he became the Chief Executive Officer in 2016. Brad is known for helping develop hydro-generation using existing dams and legacy infrastructure from the mining boom in the San Juan Mountains in the late 1800s. He was also the winner of the 2013 Best Solar Collaboration Project from Solar Power Generation USA for, at the time it was built, the development of the nation’s largest community solar project. Yet his attachment to water never waned and Brad sought a new goal and life lessons through the joy of surfing.  Now combining his love for the ocean, decades of professional trip leading experience across 5 continents, and the spark he found as a tribal educator, Brad has found a perfect application for these passions with Sea State. His primary motivation comes from the opportunity to work with the amazing students that SeaState attracts. Brad finds the ocean and the communities that surround it to be a powerful classroom and is committed to applying his passion to the benefit of the students.

Dr. Scott Laderman


Scott Laderman is a Professor of history at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, and the author of Empire in Waves: A Political History of Surfing (University of California Press, 2014).  Born and raised in California, Scott spent much of his life in the ocean before moving (he assumed temporarily) to the Midwest in 1998 to pursue his Ph.D. in American Studies at the University of Minnesota.  He now lives on Lake Superior, where he has discovered the pleasures – and challenges – of cold-water surfing.

In addition to Empire in Waves, Scott is the author of Tours of Vietnam: War, Travel Guides, and Memory (Duke University Press, 2009), which explored tourism and memory in that postcolonial Southeast Asian nation, and, with Edwin Martini, he co-edited Four Decades On: Vietnam, the United States, and the Legacies of the Second Indochina War (Duke University Press, 2013).  Scott has also published articles and essays on film history, American empire-building, and Cold War tourism, among other topics, for the Pacific Historical Review, Mass Communication and Society, and a number of other journals and anthologies.

Sean Newcomer


My passion for surfing began at the age of five on the beaches of Cardiff-by-the Sea.  Little did I know then that this passion would someday become the focus of both my Master’s thesis entitled: “Aerobic Capacity of Humboldt County Male Surfers” and my research endeavors as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at California State University San Marcos (CSUSM).  In the past my research at CSUSM has focused on characterizing the physiological requirements of participating in recreational surfing across the lifespan.  In addition, research projects investigating the impact of surf equipment on paddling efficiency, oxygen uptake, heart rate, thermoregulation, and mechanics (in collaboration with Dr. Nessler) are currently underway in our outdoor surf laboratory.  These projects are funded by our collaborators in surf industry and are carried out by undergraduates as part of their Kinesiology curriculum at CSUSM.


Tim Goldstien

Leader / Professor

Tim grew up in the state of New Jersey where he developed his love for surfing, the ocean and traveling. Studying at the University of Rhode Island, where he majored in Spanish, led him to his first teaching job in Costa Rica where he instructed Physical Education and took students on outdoor excursions. This experience ignited a fire for Tim to want to continue teaching, traveling and surfing the the world. Eventually, he ended up in Southern California where he has been teaching Spanish for the past 8 years. During the summers, Tim travels to Latin America where he can surf and practice his Spanish and also works as a lifeguard on the beach back in his hometown in New Jersey. Tim has a strong ability to connect with his students and combines his life experiences and interests into his instruction. Engaging students in their work and pushing them to think critically is what he loves most about education.

Nadine Lehner


After years working in conservation while exploring wild places, Nadine dove into Chulengo to build connections between people and place that inspire lasting change. After graduating from Harvard College, where she studied History & Literature with an environmental focus, she headed south to work with Doug and Kris Tompkins (founders of The North Face, Esprit and Patagonia, Inc).  As Executive Director of Conservacion Patagonica, she focused on the establishment of the new Patagonia National Park, the 700,000-acre flagship national park that is home to most of Chulengo’s expeditions. After five years with Conservacion Patagonica, she pursued a joint MBA – MS in Environment and Resources at Stanford University.  She’s a NOLS instructor and has led wilderness backpacking and river expeditions for over a decade. She now spends most of her time in one of her favorite places on earth, Patagonia National Park, leading expeditions with Chulengo.

Mikiko Ellis

Trip Leader

Mikiko Ellis has 15 years of experience as a bilingual high school educator. She is a licensed teacher, and community and school counselor. She has traveled extensively throughout many regions of the world, served as a Peace Corps Education Volunteer in Benin, West Africa, and recently received a Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching granting her to research education in Chile. Mikiko currently works as a high school counselor at New Mexico School for the Arts in Santa Fe, NM. She is passionate about education as a means to make positive and lasting social change worldwide.

Alizé Carrère


Alizé Carrère is a National Geographic Explorer, filmmaker, and PhD researcher examining the myriad ways people adapt to environmental change. In 2013, Alizé received support from National Geographic to conduct research in Madagascar, where she spent several months uncovering an unlikely agricultural adaptation in response to severe deforestation. This work evolved into a broader educational film project that has taken her around the world, documenting stories about people and climate change in India, Bangladesh, Vanuatu, Norway and the United States. Prior to starting her PhD, Alizé worked for Lindblad Expeditions for four years, designing and leading voyages aboard the 102-passenger National Geographic Orion. As an expedition leader, both on board the National Geographic ships as well as in her scientific research, her field experiences have afforded her unique insights about what true environmental leadership looks like on the ground. This expertise continues to guide her research and teaching as she supports the next generation of environmental stewards. Alizé received both her B.A. and M.Sc. from McGill University, and is now pursuing her PhD at the University of Miami in Ecosystem Science & Policy.