Knapp family

Eli Knapp – Director, Houghton East Africa & associate professor of intercultural studies, biology, and earth science


  • Ph.D., ecology, Colorado State University (2005)
  • M.S., University of California – Santa Barbara (2003)
  • B.S., biology, Houghton College (2000)

Eli Knapp’s connection with Houghton’s semester in Africa began in 2003, when he worked with the Houghton in Tanzania program for a year before beginning formal doctoral research in Serengeti National Park in northern Tanzania. His area of focus was on the interactions of humans and wildlife living on the western side of the park. In 2009 he returned to Houghton to teach in the intercultural studies and biology departments, as well as co-lead the Houghton in Tanzania semester with mentor and former professor Jon Arensen. Eli subsumed the role as program director in 2014 and has participated in 13 of these life-changing semesters.

He teaches Wildlife Behavior in East Africa, Human Ecology, Swahili, and oversees the Intercultural Experience class during the semester. At Houghton’s main campus in New York, he teaches Introduction to Global Issues, Geology, Conservation Biology, and more. In his free time, he loves to hike in the woods, play basketball, read, go birding, paint, and build Legos with his three children, Ezra, Indigo and Willow.

Linda Knapp – Adjunct professor and bookkeeper


  • M.S., cultural anthropology, Colorado State University (2010)
  • B.A., intercultural studies/Bible, Houghton College (2001)

Linda Knapp began as an adjunct professor of anthropology at Houghton in 2013, and teaches the East African Anthropology course during the East Africa semester. She also stays busy caring for the three children she shares with Eli, while also working behind the scenes on logistics and finances for the East Africa program. In her spare time, she enjoys hanging out with friends, gardening, painting, reading, making jewelry, and taking walks.