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Charlie Hockett ’14, at Cascade Bicycle Club!

When I came to the UO I initially began studying history with vague plans of attending law school. However, after the first Human Geography class, I took I knew I was hooked and completely pivoted my college experience. Through my studies and experiences within the Geography department, I was continually challenged to think in terms of scale and to put aside my initial assessment of a problem or situation to focus on the facts at hand. I found that studying Geography led me to take a closer look at the interface between my day to day experiences and the built environment around me. As an avid bike rider, I became increasingly invested in the idea that increasing access to bicycling for more people could the answer to many of the environmental and cultural issues facing all of us.

 

I finished my degree in the Fall of 2014 and took off on a bicycle trip from New York City to California. I used this opportunity to film a documentary called Westward Wheels, which is about us exploring how American cities can be more healthy, sustainable, and bike friendly. The inspiration I found from meeting bicycle advocates across the US led me to work at Cascade Bicycle Club, the nation’s largest state-wide bicycle advocacy non-profit. Through what was, at the time, an unexpected turn of events I now run our partnership portfolio which includes national companies like Kaiser Permanente, Boeing, Microsoft, Alaska Airlines and Kind Bar. While it took a little time to learn the finer points of budget forecasting and contract negotiation I have found time and time again that I lean skills developed by studying Geography. Whether it is making a presentation, writing, thinking from the perspective of a partner or understanding the connection between things like infrastructure improvements and youth health, the Geography program at the UO helped prepare me for a role that requires a wide range of skills.