Portland Staff

Our headquarters staff, based out of Portland, Oregon, ensure a smooth experience from your time as an applicant to an alumni. They are connected to the field by their past experiences leading our semester trips, committed to their on-going professional development, and genuinely compassionate people who strive to inspire growth and transformation through experiential education, community and intercultural exchange.

Amanda Rader

Amanda Rader

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Amanda Rader

Indigenous Americas Program Director

Though born and raised in Pennsylvania, Amanda’s sense of ‘home’ has extended across the globe. Her first international travel immersion was after her first year of college, as a volunteer in rural Honduras. The 6-week experience sent her life spiraling along new paths centered on questions of justice, and explorations of the lived experience and the interconnectedness of diverse approaches to it. Amanda’s Honduran journey inspired her to join the Peace Corps after completing her undergraduate degree in Sociology and Spanish from Franklin & Marshall College. As a Peace Corps volunteer, she spent three years serving in the capacity of Community Health Promoter in the Dominican Republic.

Turning her sights to graduate school, Amanda applied for and was awarded a World Peace Fellowship from Rotary International. Through this fellowship program, Amanda completed her MA in Peace & Conflict Resolution from the University of Queensland in Australia. During the course of the fellowship, Amanda was also fortunate to study in Argentina and Brazil and intern in Kathmandu with a progressive youth organization, Youth Action Nepal. After a brief yet powerful chapter of living and teaching on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona, Amanda launched into her first semester with Carpe Diem as a co-leader for the FANZ trip. Since, she has also led semesters to Central America, South America, Southeast Asia and India.

In the spring of 2010, Amanda began focusing her energy on the cultivation of a new semester program, Indigenous America. Her inspiration for this semester was born primarily of her experience living on the Navajo Nation, where she was struck by the beauty of the natural landscape, the unique power of the culture, and the complex history of reservation land and its peoples. Amanda realized the immense learning opportunities available within the contours of our own country, and is hopeful for the paths generated through the IAM semester to allow for greater understanding and harmony between native and non-native peoples.

Amanda has developed a passion for life through the intensity of her journey across cultural boundaries. She holds a profound belief in the potential of inspired youth to positively transform our world, and is grateful to be collaborating with Carpe Diem in generating a network of such changemakers.

Fun Facts

“. . . the supreme triumph is to be most vividly, most perfectly alive….The dead may look after the afterwards, but the magnificent here and now of life in the flesh is ours, and ours alone, and ours only for a time. We ought to dance with rapture that we should be alive and in the flesh, and part of the living, incarnate cosmos.” – D. H. Lawrence

Anne Koenning

Anne Koenning

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Anne Koenning

Director of Enrollment

Anne comes to her role as Director of Enrollment at Carpe Diem after working in the admissions offices of two other experiential education organizations for four years. Born and raised in Oberlin, Ohio, Anne grew up in a small town and moved west to attend college at Lewis & Clark in Portland, Oregon. Anne majored in Sociology and Anthropology in school and spent much of her time exploring the Pacific Northwest, studying the Bassoon and playing in the college orchestra. During her junior year, Anne participated in a Semester in India with the National Outdoor Leadership School which is where her love of international travel and experiential education began.

After graduating from Lewis & Clark, she came upon Carpe Diem and had the opportunity to intern in the headquarters for six months where she became familiar with the ins and outs of program administration and what goes on behind the scenes of making transformative experiences possible for students. Since completing her internship in the Carpe Diem office, Anne has lived in Lander, Wyoming and Boulder, Colorado and is thrilled to be living back in more temperate Portland.

While working in the administration of a similar international education organization, Anne had the opportunity to lead groups of students along the Silk Road from Beijing to Kashgar in China and throughout Myanmar. In her role as Director of Enrollment, Anne loves having the opportunity to connect with students and their families as they prepare for an international semester experience. When not interviewing students and supporting them through the application process, Anne can be found running, riding her bike throughout Portland (preferably when it’s sunny!), cooking and spending time with friends near and far.

Fun Facts

Anne has worked as a cook at both a French language immersion camp in Northern Minnesota and at an organic farm camp on the coast of California.

Anne was the winner of the annual concerto competition in college and performed as a Bassoon soloist with the orchestra.

One of Anne’s favorite meals is freshly popped popcorn and Annie’s Macaroni & Cheese … together.

FAVORITE QUOTE:

“The real things haven’t changed. It is still best to honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures; and have courage when things go wrong.” – Laura Ingalls Wilder

Avy Harris

Avy Harris

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Avy Harris

East Africa & India Programs Director, Latitudes Advisor

Avy's wanderlust began early – when she was 7 she made her best friend sign a contract that one day the two of them would ride a hot-air balloon all the way to Egypt. While the hot-air balloon scheme has yet to fall into place, Avy has been exploring surprising nooks and crannies of this world ever since. Two days after high school graduation, she hopped a Greyhound bus and took off from her native Colorado on a grand tour of the West, sleeping on buses and beaches and discovering the courage to enjoy solitude and travel. After a summer of exploration, she went to the University of Colorado at Boulder where she studied Women and Gender Studies as well as History. She also completed an intensive two-year community leadership program based on social and environmental justice which incorporated trips in both the American Southwest and Mexico; this was Avy's first experience with community-based service learning, and she knew she was hooked for good.

After college, Avy found herself on a series of eye-opening adventures.  She paddled down rivers in Laos, learned to Scuba Dive in Thailand, and explored ruins of Cambodia.  She helped develop a non-profit assisting former child soldiers in Northern Uganda and lived on the border of Sudan.  She taught English on an island off of South Korea and lived in Ethiopia to work with a community-based eco-tourism project.  During her time back Stateside she could be found wandering through the aisles of libraries, or the trails of the Rocky Mountains.

In the Fall of 2011, Avy led her first semester for Carpe Diem Education in East Africa. She has since led 7 semesters in East Africa, India, and the South Pacific while also leading various high school trips in places like Nepal and Nicaragua over the summers. These last few years of working with students and co-leaders have been an incredible journey, and she is overwhelmed with gratitude to be joining the Carpe Diem HQ team.

Fun Facts

Avy once backpacked solo for 500 miles in the summer in the Southwest desert – and she can’t wait to do it again.

Avy’s first paid job was as a cliff diver at a theme restaurant. Today she’s completely forgotten how to dive but can do some great belly-flops.

Now that she’s based in Portland, Avy is learning to garden and cook and having a blast exploring the Pacific Northwest.

Favorite Quote:

“Tell me – what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” ~Mary Oliver

Brent Bellamy

Brent Bellamy

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Brent Bellamy

Managing Director, Visioning and Outreach

As an Oregon native, Brent graduated high school and was accepted at OSU to pursue a career in engineering. For reasons that still aren’t clear, he made a last-minute decision to delay his academic aspiration and took his first trip overseas. He landed in Australia and began traveling and living with an international community that began to transform his perspective of the world. This 6-month excursion redirected his life and paved the way for a decade of study, travel and work all across the globe. Altogether, Brent has spent nearly 4 years in 35+ countries. Some of his experiences include: well restoration/water purification in West Africa, organizing peace-building events in the Middle East, youth empowerment education in rural South America, eco-tourism development in SE Asia, leading wilderness/white water excursions across the US and community engagement projects in India.

Brent holds a B.A. in International Development and a Master in Public Administration with a focus on Global Leadership and Management. He also facilitates a communal living space in NE Portland. Brent feels strongly about utilizing his passions and interests to promote social equity and global awareness.

Fun Facts

Occasionally commutes to the office via unicycle.

Has captained a commercial fishing boat in Alaska.

Was once a member of a fire street performance group.

Favorite Quote:

“There is something special that happens when people come together for a common goal. I feel most alive when I get to contribute to that kind of collective effort, especially when I witness the joy that comes as people discover how they can contribute to the world.”

Brian Jewett

Brian Jewett

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Brian Jewett

Office Manager

Brian was born into a family of travelers in Eugene, OR. He spent many summers camping and backpacking across the Pacific Northwest with his family and his Boy Scout Troop. Brian is an Eagle Scout Award recipient and it shines through in his leadership abilities. As a participant in Eugene’s International High School program, Brian acquired the skills to understand, communicate with, respect, and value cultures of the world. Brian developed his thirst for travel when he was 9 as his family spent 10 weeks traveling across the country together in their motor home visiting national parks, historical sites, and amusement parks. He then dove into the world of overseas travel while spending a semester abroad in Japan during his junior year of High School. He gained a much better understanding of Japanese language and culture as all of his classes were conducted in Japanese. Since his initial dive he has continued to explore the world by visiting Mexico, Europe, Uganda, Tanzania, Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand. He traveled to SE Asia to help scout for Carpe Diem Educations program there and then co-led the semester in the fall of 2009.
Brian started his college career by moving to San Francisco to soak up the melting pot of culture and attend SF State University. He returned home two years later to complete his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with minors in Business Administration and Japanese Language at the University of Oregon. After graduating in 2003, Brian moved to Portland where he started working in coffee shops throughout the region. For the last 6 years he has juggled and transitioned through being a barista, manager of a coffee shop, behind the scenes help for Carpe Diem, Overseas Educator, and now our Office Manager.

When Brian is not traveling or working, he can often be found outside getting his hands dirty in the garden. While in the garden Brian becomes lost in the sights, smells, and sounds that surround him. He also enjoys spending time with family, cooking, riding his motorcycle, home construction, and spending as much time outdoors as possible.

Education, service, and community have long been themes in his life and we're proud and honored to have him working in the office with us!

Fun Facts

Carpe Chef! during leadership training.

Bought a motorcycle in Las Vegas and rode it home.

Jack of all trades.

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards

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Drew Edwards

Managing Director, People and Partnerships

Eight years ago Drew decided that he was ready for something different in his life; something radically different. After growing up in the suburbs of Chicago and spending the majority of his life in the Midwest always teetering on the edge of the box but never exploring too far outside of it, he decided to pick up and hit the road; having no idea that he would not get off it for a long time to come. The journey has taken him all over the world. Starting as a rock climbing instructor and high ropes course supervisor in Wisconsin Drew was able to explore the beauty of the glacial-carved Midwest while enjoying some of his biggest passions. Moving on from there, Drew began to work as a trip leader for international travelers keen on journeying throughout the United States and Canada. In this role, he spent almost every night under the stars in National parks all over North America. Through all this he cultivated within himself a deep love and connection with nature which continues to serve as the basis for his spirituality today. After a few summers working with the international crowd and many miserable attempts at Irish, English, Australian and Scottish accents (amongst others), Drew began to work as a Wilderness Therapist for Alternative Youth Adventures in the back country of the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. In this position, he led 60-day intensive backpacking trips for at-risk adolescents. Drew's hope and intention was to provide the youth with a set of soft and hard skills that would empower them to fulfill their own purpose in life. In the process of this work, Drew learned as many lessons from his students as they did from him, and it turned out to be the most transformative, rewarding and challenging job of his life at that point.

Drew began leading trips for Carpe Diem Education in 2008. To date, Drew has led four trips to the South Pacific, South America and India. He has also done a lot of solo exploration which has taken him to almost all 50 states, traversed across Canada, explored much of Mexico, trekked the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal, and backpacked across East Africa (where he is pictured above cooking Ugali) and Western Europe. Feeling equally at home sharing chai and samosas while playing cards with some people on the streets of Rajastan, building mud bricks in Pemba, or sleeping in a swag in the outback, travel and experiential education are what drive his passions. Drew was thrilled to bring this passion and love of life to the Carpe Diem headquarters first as the Latitudes Program Director, then as the FANZ program director, followed by the assistant director and currently – as Managing Director, People and Partnerships, of Carpe Diem Education. Drew enjoys making use of the lessons he has learned both on his own and in leading trips to make the programs the very best they can be. He truly feels that relationships are our bottom line and uses that as a North Star in his current position. 

He continues to learn and grow through being surrounded by people he loves, delicious coffee, good food, and all the wonderful outdoor opportunities that abound in this very green part of the country.

Fun Facts

To date Drew has baked 3 wedding cakes for friend’s weddings

Drew’s passion for the outdoors was ignited from inside a cubicle

Drew played volleyball for Newcastle University in NSW, Australia

From 2005 – 2012 Drew did not own a car

Favorite Quote:

“All things considered, wisdom requires not only the investigation of many things, but contemplation of the mystery.” – Jeremy Narby

Ethan Knight

Ethan Knight

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Ethan Knight

Founder

Ethan founded Carpe Diem in 2007 after having worked in the Gap Year field with LEAPNow for seven years. During his tenure in this field he’s led groups in India, Bali, Central America, and has scouted Carpe Diem’s East Africa, and Southeast Asia programs. Ethan’s been inspired by his mother who’s worked for 5 years in international development based in Cambodia and so brings that ethic to the table.

Having graduated from Catlin Gabel school, a progressive high school in Portland, Oregon, there was great emphasis put on graduating from college in four years, and he became the putative black sheep of his class for being the first of his troupe to take a gap year. Consequently about 90% of his class ended up on the 5 or 6-year college plan . . . and all are much happier for it (and doing amazingly interesting things).

Ethan’s passion for experiential international education came from when his own gap year experience. Ethan “followed the herd” from high school onto University and after one year found a deficit of meaningful interactions and so decided it was high-time to bale from university and dive into the bigger peaks of life. On his gap year, Ethan traveled to India, Nepal, Tibet and Thailand – he trekked the Annapurna circuit, meditated for 10 days in noble silence, volunteered in a community kitchen, fell in love with humanity again, found his faith in humanity again, lived in a thatched hut for a month during monsoon, and in general caught that pervasive of “travel bugs” – giardia . . . he also fell in love with travel.

After taking his own “gap year”, Ethan returned to Willamette University and quickly graduated in 2001 with a dual degree in English and Philosophy and a minor in Environmental Science. Ethan has been a key speaker at the City of Portland’s Tri-County Diversity Conference, the International Baccalaureate program for the state of Colorado, HECA (Higher Education Consultants of America), and many high schools and alternative education programs. He has led countless leadership training seminars, is the Executive Director of the International Carpe Diem Foundation (Carpe Diem’s non-profit wing), and is on the board of trustees for Project Aasha (meaning “Hope” in Hindi). He reads, spends too much time contemplating the meaning of life, and holds certificates by the ManKind Project and Byron Katie, as well as having been trained in the works of Gary Zukov and Drs. Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks.

In 2009, after seeing many students benefit from the successes of Carpe Diem and LEAPNow, Ethan decided to found the non-profit International Carpe Diem Foundation (ICDF), a Portland-based non-profit dedicated to alleviating poverty through international education and providing full scholarships for university studies. This endeavor is recently cresting its fourth year and has just launched a new year-long initiative in partnership with Portland State University and Mercy Corps!

Ethan is currently in the process of founding a National Association of Gap Programs to help accredit and oversee the broad array of programs that are currently offered in the US and Canada. He hopes to have this be a long-term project that will provide safety standards and “best practices” for the gap educational organizations, but also to be a hub for gathering of formal data.

Fun Facts

Enjoys wood working and construction in his down time.

Studied aikido for 5 years.

Has more, and worse, puns than all dads combined.

Secretly begrudges his mother for having gotten to Mongolia before he did.

Favorite Quote:

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world truly needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman

Hansell Bourdon

Hansell Bourdon

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Hansell Bourdon

Managing Director, Finance and Operations & Executive Director of Carpe Mundi

C. Hansell Bourdon is the Managing Director, Finance and Operations for Carpe Diem and the Executive Director of Carpe Mundi. She holds an MPA in Non-Profit Management and International Affairs from Indiana University. Hansell is passionate about international education as her own education centered heavily around work and travel in South and Central America, Europe, Nepal and Japan. Before moving to Portland, Hansell was the International Program Director for LEAPNow, a gap year organization based in California.

Hansell started organizing and facilitating scholarship programs in rural Nicaragua where she led service-learning trips and facilitated community development projects for two years. Following her master's degree, Hansell spent five years working for the Academy for Educational Development (AED) supporting research and program implementation in Equatorial Guinea, Malawi, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Zambia. Hansell is a graduate of Dartmouth College with a degree in History and Music.

Fun Facts

Hansell’s goal is to have visited at least as many counties as her age, so roughly one new country a year. At the moment she is four countries ahead. Next stop: Turkey?

Hansell loves the Olympics, pretty much everything about them. If she didn’t work here, her dream job would be to work for the IOC in Geneva.

If Hansell could have dinner with anyone living today, she would choose Pele.

Favorite Quote:

“And the day came when the risk it took to stay tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Anais Nin

Heather Diamond Vaught

Heather Diamond Vaught

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Heather Diamond Vaught

Managing Director, Programs and Training

Heather first discovered Carpe Diem in 2008, when she was looking for a way to combine her passions for experiential education, travel, and outdoor adventure. She grew up in small suburb of Chicago and didn't know about Gap Years when she graduated high school. However, a semester in South America her sophomore year in college opened her eyes to the transformative power that the combination of travel, independence, and education can have. She spent another semester abroad, this time interning as a cultural exchange teacher at a K-12 school in India, and knew she would continue to seek out experiences that pushed her comfort zone for a long time to come.

After finishing her BA in International Affairs at University of Colorado-Boulder, she moved to Costa Rica for a year and a half, where she worked at an Environmental Learning Center, facilitating workshops and service projects related to conservation and education and fine-tuning her Spanish. She moved back to the US to pursue a Graduate Certificate in Environment, Education, and Community at the University of Washington, but was still searching for a way to incorporate international exchange into the mix. Carpe Diem was the perfect fit!

Since starting with Carpe in 2008, Heather has had the amazing opportunity to lead programs in Central and South America, India, the South Pacific, and Southeast Asia. In addition to working for Carpe, she also completed a yoga teacher certification program in India and an MS in Leadership for Sustainability Education at Portland State University. Since transitioning from the field to Carpe Diem's Portland, Oregon office, she spent a year as a Latitudes Director, before taking on the role as Program Director for Carpe's Latin America programs. She loves helping others find amazing opportunities abroad, and facilitating opportunities for joy, laughter, and adventure.

Fun Facts

In an effort to get to know the US a bit better, Heather took a cross-country bicycle ride the summer after she graduated college. Pedaling from San Francisco to Washington DC she got a wonderful glimpse into parts of the country she had never explored before.

One of Heather’s favorite travel activities is exploring produce markets and buying new and interesting fruits to taste.

Heather’s travel “comfort” items that make living out of a backpack that much easier are her yoga mat(to stretch out after long bus/plane rides) and a thermos (so she can always have a cup of tea).

Jenny Huq

Jenny Huq

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Jenny Huq

Executive Director

Jenny joins Carpe Diem Education after working extensively in international education and experiential learning in both higher education and non-profit settings. She brings experience in driving innovative initiatives, building collaborative partnerships and cultivating high performing teams. Her work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Singapore Management University centered on creating opportunities for deepening student learning and social impact through service-learning and intercultural engagement. In 2010, Jenny received the Civic Engagement Professional of the Year award from North Carolina Campus Compact.

Jenny earned her M.S. in International Studies with concentrations in International Education and Public Administration from North Carolina State University. She graduated from Clark University with a B.A in Global History, including one year of cultural study at St. Andrews University in Scotland.

Jenny learned to explore different parts of the U.S. at a young age as her family relocated from California to Florida and then Virginia. She left the southeast to attend college in the northeast and after graduation, took her first professional position as a paralegal in one of Boston’s largest law firms. Feeling unfulfilled on the corporate path, Jenny traded in her suit for hiking boots and headed to the Dakotas. There she found her passion for purposeful, community-based initiatives as a full-time volunteer for the next two years on the Pine Ridge, Cheyenne River and Standing Rock Indian Reservations. This path led her to multiple non-profit positions in San Francisco, California and Prescott, Arizona. After starting a family, she and her husband did their best to grow roots in Chapel Hill, North Carolina where she launched the next decade of her career in higher education. More recently, she had the unique opportunity to share her professional expertise on an international scale through employment with Singapore Management University’s Lien Centre for Social Innovation. During this overseas living experience, she and her family were fortunate enough to explore parts of Southeast Asia and the South Pacific.

While travel to other countries and cultures will always be on her list, Jenny and her family are taking time to enjoy all the natural beauty and grandeur that the Pacific Northwest has to offer.

Fun Facts

One of Jenny’s first homes as a child was a converted cable car along the Great Highway in San Francisco.

Jenny has lived in the poorest county in the Unites States and the most expensive city in the world. Jenny has also enjoyed visiting 49 of our 50 states, with only Alaska remaining.

Jenny was struck by lightning while working at her first job as a lifeguard.

FAVORITE QUOTE

“Just ‘cause somethin’ ain’t been done
Don’t mean it can’t be did”
-Shel Silverstein

Simone Levine

Simone Levine

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Simone Levine

Latitudes Year, South Pacific, & Southeast Asia Programs Director

Simone was raised by two transplanted New Yorkers in Southern California. Her frequent trips back to New York were what piqued her curiosity about people and places. In college she spent a year at the University of Sydney in Australia, where she first became interested in photography as a means of enhancing her vision of the world. Better late than never – her gap year came after college when she bought a one-way ticket to Buenos Aires, with no plans besides learning Spanish, teaching English, and starting a new life.

Simone earned her MA in International Education at New York University, where she specialized in cross-cultural exchange with a regional concentration in Latin America. As an advocate for experiential education, her studies were often taken outside the classroom–to places like Ghana, where she worked at an orphanage and studied diversity and education, and to Mexico to study public health, food, and culture. She worked with international students at the Office for International Students and Scholars at NYU, as well as organized yoga teacher trainings at Ishta Yoga.

Through Carpe Diem, Simone has led trips in Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, Ecuador, Peru, and India. She has also led with Global Routes in Costa Rica, and National Geographic Student Expeditions as a photography instructor in Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil. She has traveled extensively through Europe, Israel, Africa, Asia, the South Pacific, Latin America, and the U.S. Simone is convinced that each being we meet plays an important role in teaching and inspiring us to become more understanding and open to the world around us.

After years of travel, Simone settled in verdant Portland to take on the role of Program Director for Latitudes and the South Pacific. When she’s not in front of the sunniest window in the office you can find her biking all over Portland, taking photos, playing the guitar, teaching yoga to at-risk youth and local Portlandian folk, outdoor adventuring, playing volleyball, and gardening. Simone is living her dream life and is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to share it with others!

Fun Facts

Simone has lived in four of the biggest cities in the world: New York City, Chicago, Sydney, and Buenos Aires.

Simone thrives off of open fields where she can do handstands and fall freely.

Simone once had her bike stolen in Buenos Aires, while she was riding it.