It's time to meet your Instructors for Spring 2021...
Hawaii Semester Program Group A | Instructors: Chris & Kim
Chris hails from Auckland, New Zealand. He has a background in sport science and physical education, and absolutely fizzes over any outdoor pursuits! Chris has spent the last two and a half years working and traveling around North America, currently calling Fernie (a small ski town in British Columbia) his winter home. He cannot wait to swap the snowboard boots & thermals for flip flops & boardshorts and spend some time at the beach. Chirs is most looking forward to donating his time and energy to the local communities on Oahu and Hawaii. The ecosystem in these areas can be pretty slammed by tourism, so it'll be quite rewarding for the program to have a positive impact in the weeks that they spend there.
Kim was born in Boston and raised outside the city before returning for college at Northeastern University. “Curious” has always been used to describe Kim, whether it related to her desire to try every sport and musical instrument growing up or her wide range of internships during undergrad. True to her New England roots, she has spent every summer in Maine kayaking, canoeing, sailing, and hiking. She has travelled to 13 countries in the last two years across Europe, the Middle East, and Oceania as well as taking every opportunity to drive across the U.S.A. Hawaii will be the 25th state she has explored (cue Bon Jovi’s Halfway There). Since graduating Kim has led two groups of first-year college students through a semester abroad in Sydney, Australia, and Berlin, Germany. Her favorite part of these semesters was guiding the students through new experiences and seeing all them - and the staff as well - grow as a result. Her passion lives in access to education. Many people limit the idea of “education” to books and classrooms but there is so much that we can learn from nature and the experiences and cultures of others. Educational travel allows participants to personally develop, step outside of their comfort zones and challenge their perspectives and she's delighted to continue to grow with all of you!
Hawaii Semester Program Group B | Instructors: Jeff & Georgia
Originally from Pennsylvania, Jeff got his first taste of living internationally while studying abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark. While there, he found himself consistently impressed with the program staff and wondered how he might one day facilitate similarly eye-opening experiences for young adults. Jeff’s desire to be an adventurer and educator led him first to life on a small island off the coast of California where he instructed marine science and spent his working days in a wetsuit and mask. Since California Jeff has led life-changing student programs from pacific island villages, to cobblestoned European streets, Caribbean reefs, the vast and varied landscapes of central and south America, and most recently to the streams and towns of ancient Asia. Steeped in the belief that global citizenship is a young person’s ticket to the future, Jeff is looking forward to inspiring passion, building community, and supporting Pacific Discovery students on their path to self-discovery through the journey of a lifetime.
Georgia grew up in Northeastern Pennsylvania and was lucky enough to grow up in a bilingual household, travelling to visit family in Greece and Albania as a child. This travel bug continued into college, where she moved across the country to study in Florida, and graduated with a degree in Environmental Studies and two minors in Spanish and Sustainability. Her passion for experiential education was sparked by a semester abroad in Costa Rica during college, where she experienced changes in her world perspective. Georgia fell in love with the challenge of living abroad, which led to working as an outdoor facilitator in Hong Kong after graduation. She experienced the greatest self-development while traveling and stepping out of her comfort zone and considers it to be one of the biggest catalysts for mindset changes in leading a more fulfilling life.
Hawaii Semester Program Group C | Instructors: Kimberley & Marcus
Originally from Athens, Georgia, Kim spent most of her childhood traveling in some form or fashion. Whether it was weekend city explorations, holiday road trips or summers visiting family in Colombia Kim has always had a spirit of adventure. She pursued opportunities, such as study abroad programs, through her educational career that took her further on her path of global exploration and self-discovery, visiting more than 30 countries. As an instructor, she hopes to share with you some of the knowledge gained from her experience in and out of the classroom. Experiential travel programming has and continues to inspire and influence her outlook, she aspires to pass some of those insights on to you. Every day is a journey of its own, it's all the better if we get to go through and make meaning of these experiences together in beautiful places! She loves being active while learning new skills, she is currently learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but on lazier days you can find her revisiting some of her favorite books, tv shows, or movies while cooking up some yummy dish.
Marcus grew up in farmland Ohio. With four siblings and no TV, he learned to spend all of his time outdoors. As a teenager, he bought two kayaks so he could invite others to join him in his favorite way of spending time. Marcus has spent the last 4 years living outside of the US. He is an EFL teacher and spends his days off exploring hikes or anything outdoors. This most recent summer has given him the opportunity to kayak more than 1000+ miles. Marcus loves being immersed in natures classroom!
Hawaii Semester Program Group D | Instructors: Jordan & Neal
Jordan attended the University of Missouri where she majored in Animal Sciences and minored in Captive Wild Animal Management. During her time in University, Jordan was fortunate enough to study abroad several times. Her first trip was to Ireland where she spent four weeks exploring the country and learning all about its history while focusing on agricultural systems. Jordan continued to seek out new and exciting international experiences, such as participating in a wildlife management internship in South Africa and spending a semester in New Zealand. All of these experiences allowed her to look at life through a lens different from the one she had been accustomed to. After graduating college she signed up for the Peace Corps and was assigned to Paraguay where she spent 27 months serving as an environmental conservation volunteer. After completing the Peace Corps in 2017, She backpacked through Colombia and Peru, and then returned to the US to reconnect with family and friends. Jordan was drawn to the Gap Year community because of the dedication to providing students with meaningful and impactful service opportunities all around the world. Having had incredible mentors in her own life that helped her navigate the new, exciting, and sometimes uncomfortable experiences she faced traveling abroad, Jordan felt that becoming a Gap Year Instructor was a perfect opportunity for her to become that mentor for students seeking to discover more about themselves and the world around them. Jordan has led programs in East Africa, Chile, and most recently in Hawaii. She is excited to return to Hawaii this semester to eat all the exotic fruits, rides some waves, and have some major fun under the sun.
Neal got his first taste of travel from a young age during family vacations to places like Italy, Mexico, Canada, and the Philippines. After that, the travel bug stuck and he ended up seeking out opportunities left and right. Neal love the sense of adventure and taking on the unknown. He has studied Spanish for his entire life and his passion for language eventually became his major in university. After graduation, Neal moved to Spain where he lived and taught English for 3 years. During those years, Neal worked in various capacities as a bilingual language teacher and cultural guide. He really enjoy sharing his knowledge and experiences with students. He joined Pacific Discovery after returning from Spain and began leading gap-year programs in Hawaii. Living (and traveling) abroad, in wholly new cultural settings, has taught him invaluable life lessons. Those experiences take time to process and fully set in, so he highly encourages you all to regularly reflect on them! Lessons can be garnered from the people you’ll meet or even just the awe-inspiring nature you’ll encounter on our trip.
Hawaii Semester Program Group E | Instructors: Caitlin & Justin
Caitlin chose Montreat College in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains - she was drawn to the beauty of the area. One course provided her with a deeper appreciation for the wilderness through a month-long excursion whitewater canoeing, rock climbing, backpacking, and a three-day solo. This experience at such an influential period in her education provided her with the motivation to share wilderness instruction with other young adults. The next summer, she was asked to join an environmental scientist along the South Carolina coast and chronicle his work through her photography. University also allowed her to star in multiple theater productions, as varied as Shakespeare to the tale of Robert Falcon Scott's Antarctic adventures. When Caitlin is not leading Pacific Discovery trips she enjoys searching for hot springs in remote places, practicing yoga on mountain tops, visiting her international community of friends, capturing her experiences through photography and painting, and adding recipes to her forever growing cookbook.
Reigning from the rocky shores of Victoria, B.C., Justin loves all things outdoors. For over half his life, he has been an avid rock climber, scaling cliffs in Senegal, China, and western North America. In 2008, he competed for Canada at the World Youth Climbing Championships in Sydney Australia. Mountain unicycler, highliner, and acroyogi, Justin has an inclination towards niche outdoor sports. On the water, Justin regularly goes kayaking and surfing off the coast of Vancouver Island. In his downtime, Justin loves to play music, read, and chainsaw carve - a classic Canadian pastime. Linguistically, Justin is fluent in French, speaks Spanish conversationally, and knows a fair bit of Mandarin. In 2010, his zest for discovery took him 8,607km cycling from the west coast to the east coast of Canada. Over the years, Justin has facilitated engaging outdoor educational programs for youth in Central America, China, France, and Canada. More than anything, Justin loves to share his passion for adventurous self-discovery with young aspiring minds.
Hawaii + Western Semester Program Group A | Instructors: Lucy & Jonathan
Lucy grew up on the Jersey shore collecting seashells and swimming in the sea. While studying at Arcadia University, she spent two semesters abroad in South Africa and India, then decided she wanted to travel the world forever. After college, she served in the Peace Corps and spent two years in Zambia. Lucy goes with the flow and lives where she ends up. Since Zambia, she's lived in New York City, New Orleans, London, Boston, and currently San Francisco.
She considers herself an exceptional problem solver because once while camping when her french press broke, she made coffee in a sock. She's held a diverse array of jobs from a-balloon-animal-making princess for kids' birthday parties, kitchen product demonstrator, podcast host, waitress, and teacher. She's devoted to social justice, art, and educating kind and mindful citizens. She's happiest on a bicycle; and loves laundromats, her grandma's attic, and forests.
Jonathan is an avid traveler, born and raised in Philadelphia, PA and has spent the last six years living in New York City. From an early age, he spent a lot of time outdoors thanks to his father, who often took Jonathan and his siblings out skiing, camping, hiking, and dirt bike riding. As a kid, he spent many summers on the kibbutz in Israel where his dad grew up and enjoyed the time spent with family camping in craters, going on jeep trips in the desert, and snorkeling in the Red Sea. Jonathan spent a year abroad in Australia during his undergrad and it was a life changing experience. It provided him an exciting opportunity to try new things such as hiking Cradle Mountain in Tasmania, scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef, and watching the sunset over Uluru. During his time in Australia he developed a passion for international and experiential education and since then has dedicated his professional career to working for study abroad programs to help gap year and undergraduate students experience the personal, professional, and academic growth that comes with stepping out of their comfort zone.
Hawaii + Western Semester Program Group B | Instructors: Gabby & Cade
Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Gabby spent most of her childhood next to the mountains and the ocean. The outdoors have always been a passion, closely followed by travelling. She spent her undergrad in and out of the classroom, venturing off on semesters abroad and outdoor expeditions. Gabby continued this trend long after graduation, dipping her toes in all sorts of career paths, where she now finds herself settled in to the guiding and outdoor education industry. As an instructor she hopes to share with you some of the knowledge gained from travelling and working in all sorts of regions around the world such as South East Asia, East Africa, South America, Australia and New Zealand. Experiential travel opened up a realm of opportunities for her, and she aspires to pass some of those insights on to you. The world is a beautiful place to explore and Hawaii is an awesome place to start! In between guiding, you can generally find Gabby hiking, sailing, skiing, lounging on a beach, or playing with every dog that passes by.
Cade was born and raised in the great state of Texas, Yee-Haw! Growing up he dabbled in just about everything. Cade loves all things outside, from white water rafting and kayaking to rock climbing and hiking, but he especially love board sports ( i.e. snowboarding, long boarding, wake boarding, skating...anything with a board, he's sold!). Yearning for a new beginning, he ventured off to New Zealand, where he lived for a year and began his path into the guiding industry. The aspect he enjoyed most about outdoor educational programs is that it forces people out of our comfort zones. Cade is extremely passionate about teaching and helping others find themselves. Everyone needs to take the time to figure out who they are as a person. Travel and the outdoors will open you up to a plethora of new experiences—all of which you may not be comfortable with—but if we never step out of our comfort zones, we can never grow.
Western Semester Program Group A | Instructors: Austin & Jenn
Austin grew up on the South Shore of New England before heading out West for University. Graduating with a degree in expedition leadership from Western State Colorado College Austin took pride in actually using his degree! As a Guide for hire in expeditions all over the globe, Austin loved the fact he was advancing his career surfing, rock climbing, and skiing with absolutely amazing people. Austin took to experiential education as well as working with schools like Outward Bound, The Brandon school, and co-founding Soulstainable. Austin is spending most of his free time in the great outdoors getting after it but also loves his ever-growing Spotify playlist and crushing a good book!
Jenn grew up in Arizona and spent a lot of her childhood traveling around the country and the world with her family. It wasn't until Jenn got to college that she found her love for working with people and sharing the amazing connections the outdoors can bring. Her college years were spent exploring the mountains of North Carolina while gaining her degree in Parks and Recreation Management. She made sure to take the time to study abroad in Ireland and spent the year exploring Europe while working towards her Outdoor Education degree. Jenn was able to climb, cave, surf, canoe and hike all over Ireland while learning and growing. Jenn has spent many years working in different capacities at Summer Camps in North Carolina and Washington. For the past few years, she has been living in Washington working at a summer camp teaching kids about the outdoors. She believes there is no better way of learning and growing than through travel and emerging yourself in the community that you are surrounded by.
Thailand Semester Program Group A | Instructors: Tari & Monty
Tari has been traveling between worlds ever since she arrived on earth. Tari was born in Yuin country, on the remote south coast of Australia. Her life has been shaped by the boundless beauty of Australia’s coastline and Nepal’s majestic Himalayas: the two contrasting places she calls home as a half Nepalese half Australian person. Her curiosities and unique lens for experiencing the world have instilled a deep sense of social justice and global citizenship, leading her to study anthropology and development. Tari’s love of adventure has inspired her travels throughout the Middle East, southeast and central Asia, east Africa, remote Australia, and Europe.
Monty is a foodie from Chicago. He graduated from Illinois College with a double major in Environmental Biology and Sociology. Monty completed his Masters in International Studies from The University of Concordia, Irvine.
Monty gained real-world experiences teaching in Thailand, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Korea, advising in Guatemala and China, and recruiting in Australia. He is an international educator by trade, but a nomad at heart, Monty has gained an understanding of other cultures, customs, religions, and languages while exploring over 90 countries and teaching abroad. Monty has a thirst for knowledge and adventure that will keep him exploring for a lifetime. Having such a passion for education and travel Monty has been an enormous advocate for Gap year and experiential learning. He feels there is no one size fits all for education and that students need to explore what their passion, motivators, and who they are as an individual.
Thailand Semester Program Group B | Instructors: Daniel & Sheila
Growing up on small-town farms ignited Daniel's adventurous imagination and encouraged his parents to take the family overseas to open his eyes to what happens outside of their microcosms of existence. Vietnam and Cambodia, Indonesia, French Polynesia, and throughout our home country of Australia only made him want to see more of the world. On weekends, his family would travel an hour and a half to the beach; this was when Daniel was introduced to surf lifesaving and started his passion for all things ocean. This has been the main foundation of how Daniel has based his travels since. It has taken him to over thirty islands in Indonesia, through central and South America, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines to name a few.
Sheila was born in Chicago and raised in the northwest suburbs. Her youth consisted of team sports and summers spent always outdoors. Sheila developed a passion for travel during her undergraduate studies through a Semester at Sea study abroad program. She traveled to twelve countries on a ship over the span of ninety days. Eager for more time overseas, she then spent five years teaching in Cairo, Egypt. Living in Egypt allowed her to feed her passion for travel by exploring over sixty countries, planning adventures in scuba diving, mountain trekking and city walking. Sheila's top three adventures are trekking Mount Kilimanjaro, swimming in the Adriatic Sea and overeating in Rovinj, Croatia, and sailing down the Nile River on Friday evenings in Cairo, Egypt.Wanting to pursue a career in international higher education, she moved home to Chicago to complete her Masters. During her Masters, she studied abroad in Vietnam and Italy. Sheila strongly believes that international and adventure education transcends borders, and opens minds, enabling individuals to go beyond their comfort zone. Since being back home stateside, she has begun to appreciate the adventure opportunities in her own backyard.
Central America Semester Program Group A | Instructors: Jack & Amelia
Jack grew up in College Park, MD, and owes much of his love for the outdoors to his mom, who took him hiking and on road trips whenever the chance arose. After graduating college, he worked on some boats on the Potomac River in DC and Maryland and a Marine Science Institute in Wallops, Island, VA. Jack then took his enthusiasm for education to a pair of schools in Washington, DC; teaching Environmental Science, Biology, and coaching basketball. Jack eventually settled in his favorite country - Colombia, where he started a socially conscious hiking organization and worked as an Environmental Educator at the city’s Botanic Garden. When he’s not leading groups of travelers you can find him playing basketball, messing around on his keyboard, or trying to convince dogs to hang out with him.
Amelia was born and raised near Boulder, CO and has spent her entire life exploring many corners of the Western US. Her childhood included backpacking and hiking around the West with her family, and when she went to college, Amelia began rock climbing and developing skills in alpine mountaineering, allowing her to explore some of the most isolated and exposed mountains in the deserts of the West, the Rocky Mountains, and the Cascades. For the past several years, Amelia had a pretty bad case of the TRAVEL BUG, and spend every bit of my free time traveling the world to explore incredible cultures and mountain ranges across the globe. Each culture and country taught her something new about the world and about herself - from rock climbing up steep gorges in Morocco and dining on delicious tagine, to ice climbing up Andean Peaks in Peru whilst practicing her Spanish with local guides. Amelia learned how every person you meet along your many journeys has words of wisdom to learn from.
Find out more about these legends on our team page here