0 Laura Alexeichik Thayer

Laura Alexeichik Thayer

Laura Alexeichik Thayer

Associate Professor of Recreation, Director of Epic Adventures

An avid adventurer herself, Dr. Laura Thayer is passionate about the outdoors. She completed her dissertation, titled “Towards Mutual Respect and Understanding: A Study on an Innovative
Intercultural Development Program in an Experiential Learning Environment.” Laura’s research was based in the desert of Oman with a program called Connecting Cultures and considered processes of cultural identity and transformative learning. 


  • Ph.D. | Indiana University (2015)
  • M.Ed. | Westminster College (2008)
  • B.S. | Houghton College (2001)

Courses Taught 

  • Principles of Sport, Recreation, and Wellness Management
  • Leadership Development
  • Program Planning and Evaluation
  • Outdoor Leadership Training
  • Natural Resource Management
  • Camps and Summer Programs
  • Recreation and Tourism / Adventure Sports

Professional Experience/Achievements

  • Assistant Professor of Sport, Recreation, and Wellness
    Houghton University, Houghton NY (2022-present)
  • Assistant Professor of Sport, Recreation, and Wellness
    Houghton College, Houghton NY (2015-2022)
  • Equestrian Camp Director (Summers)
    Houghton University, Houghton NY (2022-present)
  • Equestrian Camp Director (Summers)
    Houghton College, Houghton NY (2011-2022)
  • Charles Hartsoe Fellow
    National Recreation Foundation, Bloomington IN (2013-2015)
  • Associate Instructor
    Indiana University, Bloomington IN (2012-2015)
  • Project Assistant
    Indiana University Eppley Research Institute, Bloomington IN (Fall 2012)
  • Youth Enrichment Senior Manager
    Accord Corporation Youth Services Division, Belfast NY (2010-2012)
  • Adjunct Faculty of Recreation and Equestrian Studies
    Houghton College, Houghton NY (Jan. 2010-May 2010)
  • Assistant Professor of Recreation and Equestrian Studies
    Houghton College, Houghton NY (Aug. 2011-May 2012)
  • Instructor
    16-Day Coastal Kayak course, Georgian Bay, Canada (May 2011, June 2010)
  • Adjunct Instructor
    Westminster College, New Wilmington PA (Fall 2008-Spring 2009)
  • Director
    Titan Traverse Leadership Development Program, New Wilmington PA (2005-2009)

Research Interests

  • Impacts of Experiential Education
  • Liminality & Communitas in Adventure Education
  • International & Adventure Tourism
  • Perspective Transformation
  • Cultural Geography


  • “’I Came Back Different’: A Narrative Analysis of Change and Transformation in the Desert Wilderness of Oman.” 2014 Adventure Conference. Fjord, Sogndal, Norway. Nov. 2014.
  • “Transcendent Experiences and Settings: The Role of Activity and Setting in Experiential Education.” Alexeichik, L.D. et. al. Association for Experiential Education International Conference. Chattanooga, TN. 2014.
  • “Considering the Aspect of Reentry in a Non-Traditional Semester-long Off-Campus Program.” 2014 Adventure Research Symposium. Bloomington, IN. 2014.
  • “The Space Between: using Liminality in Adventure Tourism to Consider Identity, Risk, & Reentry.” 2013 Adventure Conference. Isle of Sky, Scotland UK. 2013.
  • “Leading and Facilitating Group Discussion in the Classroom.” Doctoral seminar: Higher Education in Recreation, Park, and Tourism Studies. Bloomington, IN. 2013.
  • “If You Really Knew Me.” Alexeichik, L.D. & Frawley, E.H. Accord Corporation: Youth Summit. Allegany County High Schools, NY. 2013.
  • “Using Liminality in Adventure Education.” Doctoral seminar: Leisure Behavior Poster presentation.  Bloomington, IN. 2012.
  • “Shalom Through Play and Spiritual Development in Adventure Education.” Alexeichik, L.D. & Jennings-Martin, J. Summer Institute, Master’s in Higher Education faculty and students. Geneva College, PA. 2008.
  • “Why Adventure Education?” Alexeichik, L.D. & Jennings-Martin, J. Summer Institute: Coalition for Christian Outreach Staff. Geneva College, PA. 2008.
  • “Consider Judgment and Decision-Making for Instructors during Long-Term Expedition Experiences.” Alexeichik, L.D. et. al. CCO Outdoor Leadership Team Staff Training Institute. Ligonier, PA. 2006.
  • “Leave No Trace: Stewardship in the woods.” 2006 Christian Wilderness Leaders Coalition Conference. Montreat, NC. 2006.
  • Various Class Speaking Engagements and Trainings. Houghton University, Indiana University, and Westminster College. 2005-2014.

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