Our Story

Find out how our founders and history play an ongoing role in our commitment to our mission, and why API is committed to delivering high quality programming that is safe, affordable, and accelerates learning and career growth.


Honored for Our


People's Choice Award 2019
Sustainability Aware 2019
People's Choice 2020

Dedicated to providing high-quality, affordable

Experience-Centered Programs

Four API Moms
Our Founding

Academic Programs International (API) was founded in 1997 by our founding mamas, who were dedicated to providing high-quality, affordable study abroad programs for U.S. students. Their diverse experiences abroad, first as students and later as professionals, shaped their philosophy on the value of international education as a means of promoting intellectual curiosity, cultural sensitivity and holistic personal development.

We Believe…

…that extensive pre-departure preparation, coupled with strong support services on-site, facilitates academic, cultural and linguistic learning. Within the supportive environment of the API programs, API participants are encouraged to explore their host communities and become increasingly independent and confident in their own abilities. We strive to make international educational experiences accessible to as many participants as possible, and, as such, works to provide multiple program components at a low program cost.

Experiencing Programs with API

Experiencing Programs with API

Experiential Programming

API has expanded to offer a full portfolio of experiential learning options designed to accelerate career growth, including international and domestic study and internship programs, standard and custom study abroad programs, an expansive virtual offering, and high school and gap year programs. We serve thousands of participants annually, sending them to nearly 50 cities in 22 countries in Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and the South Pacific.


Our Mission

We encourage students of all ages to embark on an experiential education journey that enriches lives and communities, helping every student, college, and company to achieve their goals.  


Our Vision

To lead advances in global, experiential learning.

API Volunteering with Central Texas Food Bank

Our Core



Pursue your passion.

By doing what we love, we can change the world.

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We bring creativity, a collaborative spirit, and the resources to develop transformative and accessible experiences for students.


Embrace individuality and diversity.

We foster respect, empathy, and perspective.


Deliver superior service, safety and quality.

We deliver exceptional experiences with student well-being as our highest priority.

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Learn and grow.

We promote personal growth and learning from the world at large.

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Demonstrate the highest integrity.

We are committed to honest, ethical practices and adherence to social and governmental norms wherever we operate.

API is backed by

Avathon Capital is all-in on fostering innovation and impact across the education and workforce management markets.

We work to create meaningful connections and new possibilities – not just for our partners and their companies, but for all of their constituents. We use our networks to connect our partners to market experts and influencers who can support them with ideas and expertise. Our portfolio companies also support each other, giving our executives a peer network where they can collaborate and share insights.

Our Leadership


Patrick Vogt

He | Him | His
Office of the CEO: CEO

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Patrick Vogt initially began working with API as an Avathon Board Member, and is now CEO in the shared Office of the CEO. He has more than 30 years of experience building innovative technology and products, accelerating company growth, and establishing mission-based organizational cultures.

Prior to joining API, Patrick was CEO of The National Research Center for College & University Admissions™, which is now a part of ACT®. Patrick also served as CEO for both public and private digital media technology companies and has held senior executive positions at some of the most prestigious brands in the world, including The Weather Channel, Sony, HP, and Dell. Patrick was most recently CEO of HealthiNation, an Emmy Award-winning health and wellness digital video company. Prior to HealthiNation, he was president of The Weather Channel’s (TWC) International Division where he led all business outside of the United States and across all product categories including digital, professional, and TV.

Patrick received a bachelor of science degree in business from the State University of New York and holds an MBA from the Hagan School of Business, Iona College.

Jennifer Attal Allen

She | Her | Hers
Office of the CEO: President

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Jennifer Attal Allen is the founder and President in the shared Office of the CEO of Academic Programs International. She received her B.A. in Communication with an International Studies focus from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master’s in Spanish Language and Culture from the Universidad de Salamanca in Salamanca, Spain, where she had previously studied abroad as an undergraduate.

Jennifer began her professional career in the banking and business world, but her passion for travel and sharing other cultures and languages led her to the field of international education. In 1997, she joined forces with 3 other dedicated women to become the “Founding Mothers” of Academic Programs International (API), created with the desire to provide high-quality, affordable, and safe study abroad programs for U.S. students. Since its founding, API has expanded into nearly 47 cities in  22 countries, offering study abroad and experiential programs for high school, gap year, and college students.

She is the proud mother of two wonderful boys, and together they all enjoy exploring the world through outdoor activities. Since June 2018, Jennifer has served on the Community Board of Trustees for Jeremiah Program, a non-profit organization that transforms families from poverty to prosperity two generations at a time by supporting single mothers in their pursuit of a a career-track, college education through a combination of quality early childhood education, a safe and affordable place to live, and empowerment and life skills training.


Kristin Flor

She | Her | Hers
Chief Operating Officer

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As Chief Operating Officer, Kristin oversees operations, finance and accounting, globally. She is a seasoned business partner with broad experience at both public companies and venture-backed startups. Prior to joining API, Kristin was CFO of The National Research Center for College & University Admissions™, which is now a part of ACT®. Throughout most of her career, Kristin has led the hyper growth of technology companies through organic growth, global expansion, and M&A activity. A key part of executive management teams, Kristin has been responsible for the company’s corporate finance function and has raised several rounds of capital and secured various debt financing arrangements at Integral Ad Science and PulsePoint:  both digital marketing technology companies. She also held positions at Thomson Media, a former subsidiary of the Thomson Corporation, and she began her career in Boston at Arthur Andersen LLP, where she served start-up and growth clients in the software and bio-tech industries. Kristin holds a BS in Accounting and a minor in Finance from Providence College, and earned her CPA in 2000.


Scott Paprocki

He | Him | His
SVP of Programming, Product & Data Science

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Scott Paprocki is the most recent addition to our executive team, and is a  driving force behind the API Connect platform. He has 20+ years of Software as a Service (SaaS) technology experience in fast moving and high growth environments. He is , and is author of a patent filing for data aggregation and modeling. Scott’s proven track record for building teams and market disruptive products will help API to redefine and make experiential learning more accessible.

Scott earned his BBA from the Red McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin, majoring in Management Information Systems.

Courtney Link

She | Her | Hers
SVP of Strategic Initiatives

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Hometown: Dallas/Austin, Texas

Study abroad experience: Sevilla, Spain and Salamanca, Spain

Education: Bachelor’s degree in Spanish from the University of Texas at Austin. Master’s in Spanish Language & Culture from the University of Salamanca.

Where in the world (that API has programs) would you like to travel, and what is it about that location that speaks to you?
My own life-transforming study abroad experience as a college student in Seville, Spain over 20 years ago is what inspired me to get into the international education industry, and continues to guide the work that I joyfully do every day! I can still remember vividly the excitement (and nervousness!) I felt the day that I met my host family. So, even though I have been privileged to visit many of our API sites around the world, I would have to say that it’s still Spain- it’s people (especially all my API colleagues), it’s language (which I put to use almost daily) and it’s rich culture — has a special place in my heart . I can’t wait to travel there with my family, hopefully someday soon!


Mary Kay Hyde

She | Her | Hers
SVP of Marketing & Enrollment

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Mary Kay Hyde joined API in November of 2020 as Senior Vice President of Marketing and Enrollment. In her role, she and her team help students find and enroll in life transforming API experiences, and help colleges and universities discover the benefits of APIConnect affiliation and membership. 

Mary Kay has spent her career in technology beginning with semiconductor sales and then, in marketing at tech giants Compaq, HP and Dell. Prior to joining API, Mary Kay was CMO at HotSchedules, which merged with London-based Fourth in 2019. She also worked in higher education in her role as Vice President of Marketing at NRCCUA, which was acquired by ACT in 2018. 

Mary Kay received Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Communications from Texas A&M University and The University of Texas at Austin, respectively. In her free time, Mary Kay helps her teenagers peruse API’s high school summer and gap programs. She also enjoys running, reading, and visiting her family in California. 

About our Broader Team

Our success is owed in large part to the dedication of our staff, both stateside and abroad, our spirit of innovation, and the strong relationships we have cultivated with partner institutions and universities.

We strive to provide individual attention to every participant and attract participants from across the U.S. and the world.


The API Strategic Academic Advisory Board

API recently established the API Strategic Academic Advisory Board (SAAB), with the goal of considering innovative perspectives from senior international officers and other senior campus leadership at key US partner institutions. The SAAB will assist API as we evaluate strategies for improving existing programming and as we design or expand new academic experiences.

The Strategic Academic Advisory Board complements our existing API Advisory Board, which focuses on a broad scope of programmatic and policy considerations. Meet our API Advisory Board here.

Kyle Anderson

Kyle Anderson

Senior Director, Global Engagement, Clemson University

Samantha Brandauer

Samantha Brandauer

Associate Provost and Executive Director of the Center for Global Study and Engagement, Dickinson College

Betsy Morgan

Betsy Morgan

Provost, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

Kalpen Trivedi

Kalpen Trivedi

Associate Provost for International Programs, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Anastasia Vrachnos

Anastasia Vrachnos

Associate Vice Provost for International Initiatives, University of San Francisco

Heather Ward

Heather Ward

Associate Provost for Global Affairs, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

The API Advisory Board

The API Advisory Board plays a crucial role in providing API with tangible recommendations regarding academics, API’s programming and policies, and Student Success initiatives. Members also periodically assesses API sites and individual programs.

Mark Eckman

Mark Eckman

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Mark started his career in education abroad in 2007 at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. In 2008 he took on the role of Assistant Director of Global Student Services at St. John’s University in Queens, NY. While at St. John’s he was part of an effort to dramatically increase participation in education abroad programs, the result of which was a 400% increase over his four-year tenure at the institution.

In 2011, Mark returned to his hometown of Milwaukee and to the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee (UWM). As the Director of Study Abroad he oversaw the Center for International Education’s Study Abroad Office. With over 125 semester-long programs and portfolio of 40+ faculty-led programs, UWM offers education abroad programming for students across the curriculum. During his time at UWM, Mark has expanded access to programs for students, created a more robust emergency response protocol, engaged faculty program leaders from traditionally underrepresented academic areas, and positioned UWM as a leader in international education within Wisconsin.

Since 2017 Mark has also served as a Senior International Officer, providing oversight and leadership for the Center for International Education. As SIO, he has worked to more seamlessly integrate international students and strengthen the connections between incoming and outbound students. Mark is also directly involved in strategic planning and coordination of international education initiatives across the institution. In his time at UWM, Mark has worked collaboratively with faculty and senior administrators to connect with a wide array of international institutions, yielding a diverse portfolio of partnerships.

Mark’s research interests include fiscal models for international education offices and programs, the establishment of reliable metrics for assessment – both for students and for programs – and the impact of motivation and self-efficacy in the identity development of study abroad participants.
Having studied and lived abroad, Mark is accomplished international traveler. His first international trip, at the age of five, planted the seed early. While in high school Mark studied for a summer in Seville, Spain, and as a junior at Beloit College he spent a semester in Quito, Ecuador. While completing a Master of Education in Educational Policy and Leadership at Marquette University Mark realized a way to combine his love of international travel and
intercultural exchange with his passion for working in education. When not traveling, professionally or personally, Mark is most often found spending time with his wife and two kids, exploring parks and other outdoor pursuits, and playing – or watching – soccer, whenever possible.

Lynn Neddo

Lynn Neddo

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Lynn Neddo has worked in International Education since 2002. Before coming to UNC in 2009, she served as the Director of the Center for International Education at Albion College in Michigan. There she enjoyed working with both students going abroad for a semester/year and international students coming to Albion to get a degree. Prior to her change of direction in 2002, Lynn taught French, Spanish, and English at the University level and in her own company for over 20 years. Although she loved teaching grammar and culture to her students, she was lured into international education because she wanted students to go practice their language skills and see the world with their own eyes. She loves hearing their stories after they return. Lynn enjoys working with her European partners and preparing students to study in Europe.

Lynn grew up in France, came to the US for college but returned to Europe to work in Germany and Finland; she also speaks both of these languages. Life brought her back to the States where she continued her studies. She has an M.A. in Romance Languages (University of Georgia) and is ABD in French and Spanish poetry (Michigan State University). Lynn served as a NAFSA Trainer Corps (TLS) for 5 years and has presented at a number of conferences.

Hannah Nevitt

Hannah Nevitt

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Hannah Nevitt is a study abroad advisor in the Education Abroad Office at Western Washington University. She has been in the field of international education for over 10 years, including presenting at a NAFSA Region 1 conference. She is a member of the Academic Programs International Advisory Board, and was part of the foundational committee for Lessons From Abroad in Washington State. Hannah earned her BS in Psychology and a Masters in Higher Education Administration – Student Affairs from Washington State University.

Hannah is an API alumni and studied abroad with API in Rome, Italy during her undergraduate. After graduate school Hannah worked as an onsite coordinator for a Spanish Immersion program in Costa Rica. She is dedicated to increasing access to study abroad especially for first generation and low income students and has partnered with university professionals to offer targeted scholarship workshops and outreach. She has served as a reviewer for multiple national scholarships including the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship and the Critical Language Scholarship.

Troy Nunnamaker

Troy Nunnamaker

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Troy Nunamaker serves as the Chief Solutions Officer for Clemson’s nationally ranked Center for Career and Professional Development. Troy’s path to Clemson University (Clemson, SC) from his undergraduate studies at Wittenberg University (Springfield, OH) began with a Master’s Degree in Guidance and Counseling – Student Affairs. Since joining the Clemson Family, Troy has earned another Master’s Degree in Human Resource Development and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership – Higher Ed. with a focus on experiential education.

He has served at Clemson since 2000 and has had programs featured in such national publications as NACE Journal, The Chronical of Higher Education, Leadership Exchange – NASPA, Inside Higher Ed, and Money Magazine. His responsibilities as a professional have seen a full range of activities including; cultivating corporate partnerships for career services and the Division of Student Affairs; managing the Center’s various on-campus, off-campus, and international internship offerings; providing external review consulting services; and developing new strategies and blueprints for keeping career services effective and relevant for all current and future constituents.

Laura Thornes

Laura Thornes

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Laura Thornes has been the Director of Education Abroad at Colorado State University since 2011. Prior to CSU, Laura worked at the University of Arizona for 6 years in Study Abroad and Student Exchange. She holds a B.A. Secondary Education with a Major in German and Minor in Spanish from the University of Arizona and an M.Ed. Psychology and Student Affairs from Northern Arizona University. Her first high school exchange to Germany was life changing and laid the foundation for her language learning and student development interests. She studied German in Austria in 1993-94 and worked in Germany and Switzerland from 1997-98. She also completed short-term study in Mexico and Guatemala. While she travels regularly for work, she believes that her earliest experiences are what have shaped her career today. Her passion for international education was solidified after leading many student groups abroad to Germany and Mexico when she was a teacher.

CSU currently sends over 1,600 students abroad per year for study, research, internships, service learning, and other academically relevant travel. Laura works closely with financial aid, donors, and other stakeholders to remove financial barriers for students going abroad. She has led CSU’s curriculum integration strategy, which has contributed to significant enrollment growth. She also founded CSU’s International Travel Oversight Committee, which helps to mitigate risks and improve oversight so that CSU students are more safely traveling to higher risk destinations. Laura’s other interests include researching study abroad’s impacts on student retention and persistence to graduation.

Jacob Schoofs

Jacob Schoofs

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Jacob Schoofs is a Study Abroad Coordinator in the Office of International Programs at Loyola University Chicago. He has been a Rambler since December 2016 when he moved from an intercultural learning organization, which facilitated study abroad programs for current and recently graduated high school students. Jacob earned a B.A. from Lake Forest College in Area Studies, as well as an M.A./M.Sc. from the Europa-Universität Flensburg in Germany. Education abroad has always been a pivotal part of his life, having studied abroad several times throughout the years. He lived in northern Germany for seven years, beginning with his participation in the Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange program as a junior in high school.

In his role, he advises students wishing to study abroad in most European countries, Asia, the South Pacific, and multi-destination programs. He manages the operations and advising for Loyola’s fifteen reciprocal exchange programs. At Loyola, Jacob leads the study abroad access and inclusion initiatives, manages the scholarship application and award processes, serves as liaison to Loyola’s academic units and first year initiatives, and conducts study abroad data and website management. One of his favorite parts is working with the international and domestic partners in facilitating students’ positive experience throughout the study abroad process.

Ramona Washington

Ramona Washington

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Ramona Washington is a study abroad coordinator in the Center for International Education at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Ramona advises students on semester and academic year independent programs who are interested in studying abroad in France, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Morocco, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Vietnam and Thailand. She also works with students who participate in non-affiliated programs and independent short-term programs. She is the UWM campus representative for Gilman and Freeman-Asia, and also manages an in-house scholarship, the Study Abroad Diversity Scholarship. Prior to working in education abroad, Ramona worked as a marketing specialist in higher education and the private sector. Ramona earned her BA in international studies and French and an MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. As an undergrad, she studied abroad in France and Morocco, and did an internship in London while in graduate school. Ramona possesses a keen interest in increasing access to study abroad and has served on the Race & Ethnicity Task Force for Diversity Abroad. She has presented at a NAFSA Region V conference and at a Diversity Abroad conference. Born and raised in Milwaukee, her unfulfilled dream travel destination is the Maldives.

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