Alissa Pywell geared up and headed down to Costa Rica for a week-long adventure with her (super-lucky) friend Kate. “I am excited to be able to try surfing again…and to get into Yoga.” Alissa told us, “Neither are things that I avidly partake in at home.”

Alissa avidly partakes of many other things, though. She lists camping, biking, volleyball, swimming, backpacking, snowboarding, kayaking, and exploring (phew!) among her interests. “I am very outdoorsy and love to travel,” says this 29-year-old outdoor program coordinator at Illinois State University. “My greatest accomplishments have been working with young people, introducing them to nature, and showing them that they can do anything!”

That kind of idealism seems to be second nature to Alissa. “I like to show that I can swim, snowboard, and mountain bike hard in a size 12, and I like to encourage others to keep trying new things no matter their age, weight, or perceived ability. I think Title Nine shares that mission and I’d like to promote that through this trip.”

Although she entered T9’s contest “on a whim,” that hasn’t kept Alissa from making big plans. “I am looking forward to being in a community of women and getting to know some new friends,” she says. “I am most excited about being able to explore the area and discover some of the natural history of Costa Rica.” But, in addition to the snorkeling, hiking, talking to locals, eating local food, and “watching sunsets over the water,” Alissa is most psyched about time with her pal Kate. “She and I are friends from college and haven’t seen each other in a few years. What a great excuse to spend some time together!”

Okay, okay! We admit it: We’re envious!