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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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Eight UWC alumni are on campus this summer to create an online platform and a new model for collaboration.
Mukul Kumar '89 will be the first alumnus to return to a UWC campus as president. He will assume the leadership position at UWC-USA on Oct. 1.
The novel "Zero Alternative" by Luca Pesaro '90, is a complex thriller that features the Montezuma Castle and a UWC-USA alumnus as the lead character.
Jenish Amatya '13 received a "Resolution Fellowship" from former President Bill Clinton to create a sustainable fish farm in Nepal.
Alumnus Brendan O'Connor '04 works to make sure your private info stays private.


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DID YOU KNOW?

UWC-USA is one of 14 UWCs on five continents. Other countries that have UWCs include Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Costa Rica, 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.

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We have 211 students representing 73 countries, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. Twenty-four students come from countries identified as conflict regions. Representation within our student body includes: Africa 12%, Asia 19%, Europe 26%, North America 24%, South America 7%.

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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.

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

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Our nearly 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%

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UWC-USA offers 28 IB subjects. That number is remarkable, given the size of the school. The International Baccalaureate diploma is one of the most recognized high school diplomas in the world.

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