AEE Staff

Mitsu Iwasaki
Acting CEO

When Mitsu turned 16, his parents sent him to Chignik, Alaska to work on a commercial salmon fishing boat. 14 hours, 2 jets, and a chartered Cessna flight later, he landed on a dirt airstrip on the Alaska Peninsula – the edge of the world to his 16-year-old mind – and was overcome with wonder and awe. This experience sparked an enduring love for wild places and inspired a life-long journey of adventure, exploration, and learning through experience. The natural extension of this love was a decade spent instructing Outward Bound courses across the Great West.  After a decade of honing his skills as an Outward Bound Instructor, Mitsu transitioned to administration and program leadership. He led the operations of Big City Mountaineers and most recently served as Executive Director of Northwest Outward Bound School. Mitsu is also a Partner at the Outdoor Policy Outfit, serves as School reviewer for Outward Bound International and National Council at Big City Mountaineers.  

Mitsu brings his experience building and operating organizations, engaging stakeholders, and developing resources to his work with AEE. Mitsu is fueled by love for people and learning, and memories adventures with his partners. When not behind a desk, he can be found running, climbing, and skiing throughout our wild places.

 


Steve Pace, M.S.W.
Director of Standards Development & Accreditation
Contact: [email protected]

Steve was introduced to the power of experiential education when he was an undergraduate at Antioch College. He was  transformed after participating on a 3 month semester course and had the opportunity to lead a similar course before he graduated. Since that time Steve worked for eleven years at the Voyageur Outward Bound School as an instructor, course director, program director and risk manager. He then spent 25 years at Prescott College teaching in the Psychology and Human Development and Adventure Education Programs and later as the Dean of Resident Degrees.  His areas of expertise include adventure education and college program administration, risk management of field activities, interpersonal and group communication, mediation and conflict resolution, and therapeutic use of adventure education.

In 1979 Steve went to his first AEE Conference and was introduced to this remarkable community of educators. Later, while working at Prescott College, Steve became an active member of AEE and served both as the President of the Board of Directors, and as the Chair of the Accreditation Council. For over twenty years Steve has witnessed the effectiveness of the AEE accreditation process and how it gives organizations a comprehensive method to evaluate and evolve. He is humbled to work with the many talented and dedicated volunteers who make this grass roots program so strong.

In addition to his work at AEE, Steve serves as a member of the Wilderness Risk Managers Conference Steering Committee, and the Safety Committee of the Board of Outward Bound USA. He is also an Emeritus Professor at Prescott College.


Anna Miano
Membership Services & Engagement Coordinator
Contact: [email protected]

As the daughter of a canoe instructor and avid fly-fisherman, Anna grew up exploring the natural world around her with her older brother by her side. Through Girl Scouts, hiking, camping, rock-climbing, kayaking, and countless other adventures, Anna built her values around the natural world and learning through experience. Anna started attending the National Wildlife Federation Conservation Summits (now called Family Nature Summits) as a child, where she deepened her commitment to the environment and the value of outdoor education.

Anna had the opportunity to experience the benefits of experiential learning early on; as a "lifer" and graduate of Abington Friends School, a Quaker school in Philadelphia, that placed a high value on community engagement. While at Abington Friends, she developed a passion for the arts, taking part in theater and art classes and activities. Anna went on to continue her exploration and curiosity about the world around her in her experientially based theater major in college.

After her graduation from Hobart and William Smith Colleges, she found herself back at a Quaker school where she worked to build and strengthen the community within the Admissions department. She then transitioned into working as an event manager, where she was able to leverage her work in experiential communities and strengthen her professional skill sets.

Anna is thrilled to be back in a community-based environment that strives to serve others educationally, personally, and socially. Anna brings with her a passion for community engagement, first-hand knowledge of the power of experiential learning, and a keen sense of adventure.