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Elon Gap Semester

Who's Going in 2012?

Elon’s Coordinator of Gap Programs, Steve Morrison, and 15 first-year students arrived in Lander, Wyoming on Aug. 21, 2012 to begin the 13-week adventure. Want to know who is participated in the inaugural Gap Semester Program? Get to know the Elon students, faculty and staff embarking on this journey.

Name: Catherine Hollister
High School:  Cardinal Gibbons High School – Raleigh, NC
Intended Major:  Biology

Why did you choose Elon's Gap Semester Program? The program provides a unique transition from one stage of my life to the next. I can't wait to meet new people, explore new places, and do meaningful work while gaining valuable real-world experience with my peers.

What about the gap semester excites you the most? It's all so exciting. I'm really looking forward to learning about new communities and the backgrounds of the people we will spend time with. Overall, I anticipate a lot of growth as we encounter challenges as a group and expand our perspectives of the world that we live in.

Name: Rachel Pileggi
High School: Kinnelon High School – Kinnelon, NJ
Intended Major:  Strategic Communications

Why did you choose Elon’s Gap Semester Program?  I chose to participate in Elon’s Gap Semester Program because I believe that the most effective method of learning is experiencing, and engulfing oneself in actual circumstances.  It is one thing to read words from a textbook and claim to understand, but when one experiences something she develops a whole new level of comprehension as she lives in it for a while, thus being able to appreciate and explain more personally and adequately than any other who has not. It will be thrilling and eye-opening to adapt to the conditions that we may face as a group, and the manner in which we must conduct ourselves to assimilate with our surroundings. Many of us will be forced to stray from our comfort zones in order to take on the different lifestyles that will change with our locations and provide us with secular knowledge. I could not imagine a more endearing, innovative, and introspective opportunity for my first semester at Elon University.

What about the gap semester excites you the most?  I am most excited to spend 6 weeks in San Jose, Costa Rica.  I cannot wait to take part in the adapting and exchanging of cultures, and spend time on different trips and tours around the area.  It will be amazing to familiarize ourselves with the customs of others, while taking morning classes, and afternoon and overnight adventures.

Name:  Evan Spanitz
School:  The Perkiomen School – Pennsburg, PA 
Intended Major:  Business Administration

Why did you choose Elon’s Gap Semester Program?  I feel the Gap Semester Program is an amazing opportunity to be involved, and be in a unique experiential learning environment that combines leadership training, community service and study abroad all in a single semester. I feel it's a great way to start off at Elon.

What about the gap semester excites you the most?  The opportunity to travel and experience different national and international communities.  I am also looking forward to the chance to bring a different perspective to the Elon community when I return.

 

Name: Sarah Krulewitz
High School: Granby Jr/Sr High School – Granby, MA
Intended Major: Environmental Science

Why did you choose Elon’s Gap Semester Program? I chose Elon's Gap Semester Program because the opportunity to travel and learn is like no other. I am excited to work with my peers who share similar values to me, and want to grow from the life changing experiences that are to come!

What about the gap semester excites you the most? Traveling to Costa Rica excites me the most. I am thrilled to be learning more about the culture and experiencing their traditions firsthand. 

 

 

Name:  Caitlin Noll
High School:  Campolindo High School – Moraga, CA
Intended Major:  Environmental Studies

Why did you choose Elon’s Gap Semester Program?  I chose the Gap Semester Program because I know it is a once in a lifetime opportunity that I will never forget, and I know that I will get so much out of the experience! It focuses a lot on the environment, which is something I am very interested in.  

What about the gap semester excites you the most?  I am excited to learn a lot about myself and other communities and cultures.

 

 

Name:  Chris Grippo
High School:  Middletown High School South – Middletown, NJ
Intended Major:  Environmental Science

Why did you choose Elon’s Gap Semester Program? So I can experience something different than going straight to college.

What about the gap semester excites you the most? Being able to experience parts of the country that I would not normally be able to see.

 

 

Name: Zachary Angell
High School:  Williams High School – Burlington, NC
Intended Major:  Environmental Studies

Why did you choose Elon’s Gap Semester Program? I don't understand why anyone wouldn't want to do the program. I like the emphasis on leadership, service to others, and experiencing another culture.

What about the gap semester excites you the most? I think I will be really challenged by the experience and I am looking forward to that.

 

 

Name: Dan Zangmeister
High School: Arborbrook Christian Academy – Matthews, NC
 Intended Major: Undecided

Why did you choose Elon’s Gap Semester Program? It looked incredibly fun. I didn't want to start classes immediately, and I also wanted to do something other than a gap year. The Gap Semester Program is the perfect balance of those requirements.

What about the gap semester excites you the most? The six weeks in Costa Rica. It is also the most intimidating part of the program to me. 

Name:  Savannah Kittrell
High School:  Pinecrest High School – Southern Pines, NC
Intended Major:  Biology

Why did you choose Elon’s Gap Semester Program?  I wanted to experience new things before starting college.

What about the gap semester excites you the most?  I am most excited about traveling to Costa Rica and learning Spanish.

 

Name:  Danny Bavis
High School:  Stone Bridge High School – Ashburn, VA
Intended Major:  Environmental Science

Why did you choose Elon’s Gap Semester Program? For me, touching, feeling, and experiencing the world is the best way to understand it. An outdoor adventure, being immersed in a new culture, and the opportunity to learn while helping others:  this is why the Gap Semester Program is the perfect fit for me

What about the Gap Semester Program excites you the most?  I love the outdoors. It is not only where I love to play, but it is also an important part of how I learn. This is why the NOLS component of the gap semester program is so exciting to me.  he outdoors has been not only my “classroom,” but also the perfect place to develop leadership skills and test my flexibility in unique and sometimes challenging environments.

Name:  Corey Shegda
High School:  Central Bucks High School East – Doylestown, PA
Intended Major:  Video and Film Production

Why did you choose Elon’s Gap Semester Program? I was looking for a new way to see the world, and the gap semester is a perfect opportunity to travel, get a new perspective on things, and help people all in one trip.

What about the gap semester excites you the most?  I am very excited to be living in Costa Rica for 6 weeks and experience a new culture.

 

 

Name: Kelly Maxwell 
High School: Ridge High School – Basking Ridge, NJ
Intended Major: Cultural Anthropology / Sociology

Why did you choose Elon’s Gap Semester Program? After 13 years of being in the traditional classroom setting and living in the same town, I felt I was ready for some change. The Gap Semester Program is the perfect way to expose myself to new types of experiences.

What about the gap semester excites you most? For me, the most exciting part of the program is living in Costa Rica for six weeks. I have always loved to travel and would like to somehow turn my interest in different cultures into a lifelong profession. I think that the Gap Semester Program does a great job of highlighting three of the things that Elon promotes best; environment, community service, and study abroad.

Name:  Andrew Reed
High School:  Germantown Friends School – Philadelphia, PA
Intended Major: Pre-Med

Why did you choose Elon’s Gap Semester Program?  I chose the Gap Semester Program to have experiences that I did not have the chance to experience in high school, one of the most exciting being the trip to Costa Rica. I have never spent an extended amount of time around people who speak a different language, and the opportunity to do so grabbed my attention. I was also very excited for the opportunity to participate in a NOLS program, as I have had many great experiences with camping and other wilderness trips. The chance to provide service to numerous locations gave this trip a well-rounded menu of activities and opportunities, and it provides an opportunity I would not pass up.

What about the gap semester excites you the most?  The most exciting prospect of the gap semester is the NOLS program. I have had many experiences in the wilderness: camping, hiking, canoeing, and so forth, but I have never been out to the western part of the country, including the Rocky Mountains. I am very excited to go to a new part of the country, and to get away from school and urban society.

Name:  Galen Schneider
High School:  Savannah Country Day School – Savannah, GA
Intended Major:  BFA Acting

Why did you choose Elon’s Gap Semester Program? I chose the Gap Semester Program because of the opportunities it offered to explore different parts of the United States and Costa Rica and also because of the leadership and outdoor experiences that were offered. I wanted an unconventional start to college.
What about the gap semester excites you the most?  I'm most looking forward to living in Costa Rica for an extended amount of time, and getting to know the culture and people of the area.

Name:  Bill Kelly
High School:  Saint Augustine Preparatory – Richland, NJ
Intended Major:  Undecided

Why did you choose Elon’s Gap Semester Program?  I chose Elon’s Gap Semester Program because it was by far the most unique and innovative approach to education and leadership that I learned about during my search for potential colleges. As an Eagle Scout who loves to be outdoors, giving back to others, and traveling, the gap semester program was the perfect fit.

What about the gap semester excites you the most? The adventure and uniqueness of the Gap Semester Program is what excites me the most. I am looking forward to working together with a group of individuals who share the same interests as me. The gap semester program is unlike anything else out there and I can’t wait for the experience to begin.

Faculty and Staff

Name:  Steve Morrison
Title:  Coordinator of Gap Programs
Where will you join the Gap students?  Steve will be with the Gap Semester students throughout the duration of the program.

 

 

Name:  Rex Waters
Title:  Associate Dean of Students
Where will you join the Gap students?  Rex welcomed the students after they completed the NOLS segment of the program, and will travel with them through the first service site in Pine Ridge, SD.

 

 

Name:  Steven Caldwell
Title:  Campus Kitchen Coordinator
Where will you join the Gap students?  Steven will join the students for their second service experience in St. Louis, MO.
More about Steven:  I am the Campus Kitchen Elon University project coordinator  in the Kernodle Center for Service Learning and Community Engagement. I lead a team of student volunteers through the education of both youth and adult populations about basic nutrition and cooking skills, as well as the resourcing, preparing and delivery of 120-150 meals per week for the at-need populations of Alamance Co. I also volunteer with the Chefs Move to Schools program and am an active member of the Culinary Corps. I am looking forward to working with all of you and the remarkable programs we have in store for us in St. Louis.
 

Name:  Katie Hight
Title:  Director of New Student Programs
Where will you join the Gap students?  Katie will join the group for their third week of community service in Harlan, KY.
More about Katie:  I serve as the Director of New Student Programs in the division of Student Life at Elon. In my role, I coordinate the divisional efforts to transition all new students into the campus community. This includes planning fall opening, spring orientation, First-Year Summer Experience (FSE) programs, and other new student programs such as the Gap Semester! It has been such a journey planning the inaugural Gap Semester Program, and I cannot wait to meet you all in Kentucky. I have a particular interest in Appalachian culture, so I am thrilled to join you in learning about coal mining and mountain top removal. I will also be teaching the Gap Semester Elon 101 course in January, so we will get a head start in Kentucky. See you there!

Name Carol A. Smith
Title:  Associate Professor – Health & Human Performance
Where will you join the Gap students? Carol will join the students at their final service site in Highlands, NC.
More about Carol:  I am an associate professor in the Department of Health & Human Performance. My responsibilities include teaching physical education pedagogy and activity classes; wellness; dance; and adventure based learning classes. [Check out PEH 275, Introduction to Adventure Based/Outdoor Education for the spring semester!] I am one of the advisers for the Adventures in Leadership Program during the summer and do as much as I can with Elon Outdoors. I am thrilled to be the faculty representation on this experience, and am looking forward to meeting you and all our experiences in western North Carolina. The picture at left was taken at the end of three-day weekend on the Appalachian Trail with Elon Outdoors spring semester of 2012.