Who We Are

From Argentina to Zimbabwe and from Amman, Jordan to Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, UWC-USA alumni are working, living, and spreading the UWC mission.

Alumni Spotlight

Pontus S. J. Ohrstedt '95, change-agent in Darfur

Pontus S. J. Ohrstedt '95 is the team leader for the United Nations Development Progamme’s crisis prevention and recovery unit. Watch a video of his team’s achievements in Darfur (below), where they are working to move communities from relief to recovery through conflict prevention and peace building, economic recovery, capacity development, and addressing environmental threats, gender inequalities and human security challenges.

 

Tyler Blake Davis '97, clean water champion

Tyler Blake Davis ’97 saw firsthand the effects of unsafe drinking water while working on a small Indonesian island in 2004. “Watching your neighbor’s kids die from contaminated water will change your life,” he says simply.

Today, Tyler is one of the principals for PotaVida, a “design and problem-solving company” that is creating a simple, cost-effective tool to help developing countries disinfect drinking water. PotaVida’s goal is to produce 100,000 water monitors in the next five years for deployment in Latin America and Africa.

The device monitors a process called Solar Disinfectant, or SODIS. To disinfect water using the SODIS method you only need a standard plastic bottle—the type you see floating in the ocean or lining roadsides—plus sunlight and time. The time is the critical component, and that’s where PotaVida comes in: the monitor they’ve created tells users when the water is safe.

“The PotaVida monitor is simple like an egg timer,” Tyler says. “It measures the intensity and duration of sunlight, telling you when the process is underway and when it is complete.”

People don’t need the monitor, but without it, training to use the SODIS process takes longer. The monitor decreases the training costs, and thus makes safe water less expensive. For the 880 million people in the world who don’t have access to safe drinking water, the monitor could make a life-or-death difference.

And making a difference is key for Tyler. “I always knew service would be part of my life,” he says. At UWC-USA, he volunteered at the state psychiatric hospital. As an undergraduate at the University of Washington, he volunteered at a local homeless shelter. And as a grad student, he ran the philanthropic arm of his cycling team.

Today, Tyler is finishing a doctorate at the Evans School of Public Policy at University of Washington, in addition to his work with PotaVida. “Through policy, you have an opportunity to make a bigger difference and do good on a bigger scale,” he says.

Read about more of our amazing alumni!

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UWC-USA's annual conference brings together a cadre of experts who have dedicated their lives to social justice and conflict resolution.
Emelia Gold '15, USA-MD, will be a delegate at the United Nations conference on climate change.
Artist and activist Andi Cheney '05 was on campus this week to lead workshops on using theater as a force for change.
Philanthropist Shelby Davis, one of the leading supporters of international education, is committing another $7.5 million to United World Colleges.
Eight UWC alumni are on campus this summer to create an online platform and a new model for collaboration.


Watch highlights from the 30th anniversary celebration!


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DID YOU KNOW

UWC-USA is one of 15 UWCs on five continents. Other countries that have UWCs include Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Swaziland, and Wales.

DID YOU KNOW

UWC-USA students perform more than 18,700 hours of service every year through our association with 25 community partners. More than 2,500 people in Las Vegas, N.M. and the surrounding community have benefited from service projects led by UWC-USA students.

DID YOU KNOW

UWC-USA has 228 students representing more than countries, from Armenia to Zimbabwe. Eleven students come from countries identified as conflict regions. Representation within our student body includes: Africa 10%, Asia 28%, Europe 29%, North America 23%, South America 10%.

DID YOU KNOW

Students don’t apply directly to the school; they are selected by committees in their home countries based on academic achievement, leadership, and curiosity about and involvement with global events and cultures.

DID YOU KNOW

Philanthropist Shelby Davis has created a $40 million endowment that provides 50 U.S. students with full scholarships to attend a UWC every year.

DID YOU KNOW

Our more than 3,000 UWC-USA alumni are spread across the globe: North America 48%, Europe 24%, Latin American & Caribbean 11%, Africa & Middle East 6%, Pacific 2%

DID YOU KNOW

UWC-USA offers the International Baccalaureate diploma program. Students can choose from IB classes in 28 subjects – a remarkable number given the size of the school.

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