Scholarship Winner: Keagan Cross

Keagan's passion for the outdoors is only surpassed by her passion for making a positive difference in the world.

Keagan Cross’ application blew us away. She epitomizes what is all about: getting out there, giving back, and sharing in adventure with friends and family.

As a young girl, Keagan craved adventure as a respite from anxiety. In high school, she joined the competitive climbing team at a nearby school, connected with other outdoor enthusiasts, started a climbing team of her own, and landed her first job at a local climbing gym, which helped her afford more gear. During her junior year, she lived in the Bavarian Alps as an exchange student and discovered mountain biking and snowboarding all while broadening her cultural horizons. Oh, and she did all this while maintaining a 4.4 GPA. Wow.

Today, she seeks adventure from the Stanford campus, where she is a freshman studying environmental justice and a member of the Stanford Climbing Team, the Stanford Outdoor Outreach Program, Fossil Free Stanford, and Students for a Sustainable Stanford.

We asked Keagan a few more questions to get to know her beyond her application, and we know you’ll be as impressed as we are. Let’s just say we all want to be Keagan when we grow up. We are proud to support her adventures and know she’ll accomplish great things. Go get ‘em, Keagan!

You can follow Keagan’s adventures here at or on Instagram at @keagan.cross

Age: 18

Being outside makes me feel:

My hero: My mom

What kinds of adventures will the gear on your wishlist make possible? I'm working on my Wilderness First Aid and Outdoor Leadership certification right now, and a large enough backpack would mean that I wouldn't have to loan one out from the outdoor center anymore for longer trips. I'm also excited to take my new crash pad to Bishop with me for a trip with the climbing team.

How will you pay it forward to your community? Stanford Outdoor Outreach Program, or SOOP, gives resources and outdoor leadership skills to local teens in East Palo Alto to try to make adventure more accessible. This is a cause that is really important to me—the prohibitive cost of gear often made me feel like I didn't belong in the community. But I do! Everyone does!

I also want to help encourage the connection between outdoor enthusiasts and climate activism. By fostering an appreciation of the natural world, I hope people would feel more moved to act in situations of environmental injustices.

In five years, I want to be: Working for an environmental nonprofit

Bagels or Donuts: Bagels! (although I'm eating a vegan donut as I type this)

Ocean or mountains: Mountains

Beyonce or Bob Marley: Bob Marley

Three things on your bucket list:
1. Learn how to mountaineer
2. Watch an activism campaign of mine come to fruition
3. Travel around a country by bike

Three words my friends would use to describe me:
Passionate, Adventurous, Kind

Favorite book: The Snow Leopard by Peter Mathiesson

Favorite movie: Napoleon Dynamite

Favorite cause: Environmental Policy Advocacy

Outdoor misadventure story, and what did you learn from the experience? I got sick while hiking down from Annapurna Base Camp. I learned to always filter your own water (and bring extra ORS).

If I’m not at school or outside, I am: Riding my bike around downtown Palo Alto

Anything else? I'm forever grateful to the team for making so many adventures possible. 

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