Gap Year: using a year between high school and college in particular ways in order to maximize the value of college. In Episode 81, Chris Cahill talks Gap Year with Ethan Knight, co-founder of the American Gap Association. The AGA serves as a comprehensive resource for those interested in the programmatic Gap Year’s instructional, experiential, and adventuresome qualities.
You can find out more about Ethan Knight and the American Gap Association here.
Ethan Knight has been working within the world of Gap Years since 1996, when he took his own Gap Year to India, Nepal and Tibet. Back in those days the only options to taking an official Gap Year was through the Center for Interim Programs, and that’s exactly how he first heard about this strange thing called a Gap Year. After an inspired talk at his high school, he started a conversation with Interim Programs to discuss what would eventually turn into his own sojourn. Ethan graduated from Willamette University – a small Tier 1 private liberal arts university – with majors in English and Philosophy, and a minor in Environmental Sciences. Immediately after graduating he went to work for LEAPNOW as an intern where his passion for education really took firm root. With the help of a few key mentors along the way, primarily Sam Bull, Ethan eventually led programs for groups of Gap Year students through Latin America and Asia, finally working his way up to Assistant Director of the organization.
After seven years at LEAPNOW, Ethan returned home to Portland, Oregon to found Carpe Diem Education. While Carpe Diem began with just three programs, Ethan added five more over the next six years in order to create more options for a wider variety of students. During his tenure at Carpe Diem Education, Ethan also founded the International Carpe Diem Foundation (now Carpe Mundi) – a non-profit dedicated to the inclusion of economically disadvantaged students in Gap Year programs and higher education. It is currently the only non-profit of its kind in Oregon.
Eventually, after 6 years at Carpe Diem he recognized a need for a professional association amongst Gap Year providers. The needs of the industry were demanding a hub for information-sharing, development of best-practices, and objective evaluation. Thus, in 2012 he worked with many in the field to found the American Gap Association.
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