WWU Women Journey to get Certified in Wilderness First Responder

Erika Bro

Major: Community health and Spanish with minor in international studies

Maia Gurol

Major: Environmental science with minor in history

Seniors Erika Bro, 23 and Maia Gurol, 22 begin a 12-day program to train to get their certification in wilderness first responder, one step below an EMT at Discovery Park, Seattle. Bro and Gurol get to apply their majors to real life and involve their passion for hiking.

We heard RMI, remote medical international is a good institution to get certified from and it is an intense certification only offered three times a year, Gurol says. 

“I’m super excited, I know it’s going to be hard work but it will be so rewarding,” Gurol says. 

“I’m ready for the challenge,” Bro says.

Bro explained she wants to do this because she wants to pursue global health work and work in rural communities to assist people in communities who have not had the privilege like her to get a certification in wilderness first responder. She said she wants to have the basic knowledge to be able to serve populations in need.

Gurol explained she wants to do this because being an environmental science major she knows she will have to be outdoors a lot and said she thinks it is wise of her to be aware of situations that can occur outdoors. Gurol will be teaching kids at Mount Baker during winter quarter and she said this certification will prepare her.

Gurol became interested in environmental science because she realized she needed to something that is hands on. She explained she really took an interest in chemistry and realized it is a field that helps you in so many situations. 

When deciding on a degree, Gurol said she wanted to be apart of the Huxley College because it is so forward thinking, talented and artistic. Gurol describes the Huxley College as having the ability to teach you a solid understanding of environmental science and emphasize the environmental impacts our world faces.

“The professors are great,” Gurol says. 

Bro first began as an aerospace major at Saint Louis University but realized she did not need to prove to herself she is capable of an aerospcace  major, Bro said. Bro transferred to Western and soon after went on a research program in Thailand and India to research the role of non-governmental organizations of refugees and prisoners.

Bro explained it is recognizing that having water is such a privilege and she is able to experience a bachelor's degree in science and social sciences. Having a degree in community health allows her  to learn about anthropology, sociology and learn about programs that she can implement to the world.

Bro said you can do anything with a community health degree and travel to help people.

“Community health gives me confidence with I’m doing,” Bro says. 

Bro and Gurol both have a passion for hiking. Bellingham’s connection to nature had brought Gurol to Western.

“I hike to relax, be with friends and have fun,” Gurol says.

When asked what Bro and Gurol would recommend for hiking in the Bellingham area, the two said oyster dome, heliotrope ridge, lost lake, fragrance lake and chain lakes loop. 

Bro recommends if you haven’t been hiking much to start with something moderate, bring snacks and wear layers. 

Gurol recommends to go with someone who knows what there doing and don’t be afraid to do something intense as long as you know you are with someone who knows what there doing.

“Always have chocolate with you,” Gurol says. 

Bro and Gurol begin their prorgam on December 12, 2014. The program includes indoor and outdoor lectures and two outdoor night sessions.