A glimpse into the life of Redwood’s modern renaissance man

Devon Mcclain

As seniors get ready to begin their new lives outside of Redwood, many are recognized for their athletic and academic achievements that may have played a role in college admission or largely represented what that person was like as a high school student. They are typically acknowledged through awards and special ceremonies where they are recognized for their outstanding characteristics. Although there are various awards given out during ceremonies and banquets, this system fails to represent the individuals that are so well-rounded, that it would be impossible to give them a single award. A perfect example of one of these very unique “renaissance men” is senior Niklas Korn.

Photo By Charlie Werner
Korn pauses mid rappel at Dawn Falls in Larkspur

Korn doesn’t only follow his passions to an extreme, but he finds time to incorporate his dozens of hobbies and sports into his everyday life. Korn is an experienced member of Marin County Search and Rescue, an avid rock climber, photographer, fly fisherman and percussionist. He believes that these activities not only play a huge role in his life, but have helped define him as an individual.

“There’s a certain clarity that you get from climbing and the intermittent rushes of adrenaline that make it an experience unlike anything else,” Korn said.

While these activities are only a few of his areas of interest, but they have given him a great sense of direction when deciding what he wants to do with his life after high school. With his father in the medical field (working as an oncologist), and his mother exposing him to these adrenaline-filled hobbies, Korn has found a career path that balances both excitement and focus: emergency medicine.

While Korn does plan to take his medical studies very seriously in college, he urges others to expand their horizons in high school to get a good idea of what interests them in life. Korn feels if he could change one thing about his past, he would have begun these hobbies sooner.

“[I wouldn’t have] let myself get so distracted. I could have prioritized a little more on school… I just had too much fun doing all the stuff I do,” Korn said.

Korn was exposed to many of the activities he does today at a young age, starting when his mother, Tina Hariu, took him on his first camping trip when he was just over a year old. These adventures have blossomed into everyday activities that Korn never gets tired of, and somehow always finds time for.

One of his most thrilling endeavors occurred when he was on a fossil hunt with his mother up in Alaska and  encountered a territorial moose who charged at them at least five times within a span of ten minutes.

“Most adults my age have never had the experiences he’s had in his life at 18,” Hariu said.

Photo By Charlie Werner
Korn casting a line at Putah Creek while fly fishing.

Aside from his main activities, he also enjoys mountaineering, playing classical piano, snowboarding, gold panning and scuba diving. Korn has experienced many unforgettable memories over the years, and believes that this is how he has come to understand what is important to him in his life. He is grateful for taking the road less travelled by most high schoolers and being able to pursue all of his interests.


“I never imagined that I’d be working the aftermath of a fire… doing body recoveries for several operational periods… but each one of these experiences have made me love the team and love what I do even more,” Korn said.

Through these intense but rewarding moments for Korn, he has also developed great friendships and life skills. A volunteer and friend on Korn’s Search and Rescue team, Joey Mellberg, has gotten to know Korn very well over their years working together.

“Nik is always very professional during search and rescue and conducts himself like an adult, but outside of that he’s always there for a laugh and a super fun guy to be around,” Mellberg said.

Although Korn’s schedule is constantly filled with new and exciting opportunities, he never loses sight of what’s important to him. Through maintaining relationships with his friends and family, dedicating his time to search and rescue and following his musical and outdoor passions, he is well deserving of the title, the Modern Renaissance Man.

Photo By Charlie Werner
Korn shreds down the mountain in Tahoe.