Penn State grad competes in Yukon River Quest

June 29, 2010

Allen Cousins, a 2009 graduate of the Master of Geographic Information Systems program, is using what he learned in Penn State’s online program to enable family and friends to follow his progress during this year’s Yukon River Quest, a canoe and kayak race which begins June 30 at Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada, and covers the 460 miles of the Yukon River, ending in Dawson City, Yukon Territory, on July 4. More than 80 teams are competing in the race, which is one of the longest canoe and kayak marathons in the world.

“My only goal is to finish the race,” said Cousins, 41, who is racing as Team TreeBandit in the men’s solo kayak bracket.

Monitor Cousins’ progress at, a Web site he set up using SPOT (Satellite Personal Tracker).

Cousins, from Mead, Wash., is the senior GIS analyst for Avista Utilities, which supplies electric and gas service to about 450,000 customers in Washington, Oregon and north Idaho.

During last year’s race, he and his wife helped his dad manage one of the safety boat check points.

“After the race, we were having beers and chatting about the race," Cousins said. "The son of my dad’s girlfriend mentioned that he would really like to race, but didn’t want to do it alone and couldn’t find a partner. At that point we agreed to compete together in the tandem kayak bracket.”

But when his partner recently changed his mind, Cousins decided to go it alone.

“I’m really just racing for the adventure and to be able to say ‘I did it,’” Cousins said.

Cousins earned his master’s degree in GIS from the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences online through Penn State’s World Campus.

Penn State World Campus specializes in adult online education, delivering more than 70 of Penn State’s most highly regarded graduate, undergraduate and professional education programs through convenient online formats. Founded in 1998, Penn State World Campus is the University’s 25th campus serving more than 9,600 students in all 50 states and 62 countries. For more information, visit online. Penn State World Campus is part of Penn State Outreach, the largest unified outreach organization in American higher education. Penn State Outreach serves more than 5 million people each year, delivering more than 2,000 programs to people in all 67 Pennsylvania counties, all 50 states and 114 countries worldwide.


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Last Updated November 18, 2010