Erik PetersonErik Peterson

Summit Intern


Economics & German


Bear, DE


Whenever I have a moment free I spend it rock climbing outside as a first choice and in a climbing gym as a close second!

UD Involvement:

As an undergraduate I was involved with the Outing Club for all four years and served as president during my senior year. I was also a member of the climbing club and an employee at the UD rock wall in the Little Bob. I also spent every summer as a student leader/coordinator with the Summit Program.

Most exciting UD memory:

In my freshman year I applied and was accepted to be an officer in the Outing Club; all three of my Summit leaders were officers so obviously I’d had my sights set on the position from day one. My most exciting memory is of our first get together as officers for a BBQ at one of the upperclassmen’s houses; I remember the butterflies and the excitement I felt as I walked into the backyard. Little did I realize though, I was introduced to my best friend for the first time, I was meeting a group that would become my family, and I had already found my place here at UD.

Advice for a new student:

Find your niche and scratch it! UD is such a large university that there are nooks and crannies of student involvement that apply to everyone! Whether you choose to get involved in Greek life, find your place in an club organization, or spend all your time training for intramurals, there’s a place for everyone! There are unlimited opportunities at UD, and everyone should try to take advantage of them while they have the chance. That doesn't mean you have to fall in love with every activity you try, but give it an honest chance. I used to be horribly afraid of heights and then I found out about rock climbing. Now I work at two different rock gyms, and I spend my free time rock climbing. You'll often be surprised what you fall in love with.

Advice for their parents:

Give your student room to grow and experience college on their own terms. With this being such a big transition period in their lives it’s important to remain as a support system, but don’t get involved unless they ask you for help! College will be a big challenge for them, but your biggest challenge may be just to let them make their own decisions. The transition to college is a leap of faith for everyone!

Why I chose Delaware:

As a senior in high school I absolutely did not want to come to Delaware. I went to Newark High (approximately 1 mile away from campus) and was not looking for a repeat of my high school life. I was very reluctant to begin my college career, but in the end my path took me far from where I had expected. UD is a diverse and large enough place that I was able to make new friends and experience, previously unimaginable, new adventures!

How I decided on my major:

At the impressionable age of 18 I did not know what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, and so asking me to choose my major based on that seemed unreasonable. Rather I simply chose topics that were genuinely interesting to me. I’ve always found econ to be a natural way of thinking so I chose it as my first major. I’ve also always wanted to learn a new language, and realized that college is the best time for me to do that! Every semester I would sit eagerly in front of my computer to be the first to sign up for my next German course, and after I spent my junior fall semester in Salzburg, Austria I added it as a second major. Finally, I’ve always been a bit of history buff so I naturally signed up for as many history classes as I could, and by the end of my sophomore year my advisor told me I had already completed a history minor.

Favorite outdoor adventure:

My greatest outdoor adventure would have been this previous winter semester. I spent the month of January rock climbing in Utah for 3 weeks and then 1 week in Tennessee on a prolonged road trip with one of my buddies. UD has a notably long winter break and I have spent it in every imaginable way: I’ve taken classes, I’ve worked, I’ve studied abroad, and I have spent the time on my own. This trip was an amazing experience for me; I learned so many new things and faced so many new challenges in such a short time. I grew more personally on this trip than I had during any other winter break.

Future plans:

I plan on pursuing a career in outdoor education; college has helped to change my perspective on my outdoor passions. I love rock climbing and backpacking, but what I love even more is getting to share these beautiful activities with others. My experiences in the outdoors have changed who I am on a fundamental level; that kind of influence is very special and I hope to play a role in other people’s lives as an outdoor educator.

Favorite memory of my Summit Experience:

My favorite experience from Summit was our day of climbing at Annapolis Rocks. The morning started off with some of the thickest fog I’ve ever seen and was quickly followed up by a torrential downpour for the duration of our climbing. I couldn’t have had more fun. Every climb felt like we were trying to ascend a waterfall, and the added challenge of wet rocks only made the day that much more exciting. My clothes may have been soaked for the full next day, but my spirits certainly weren’t dampened!