U.S. Selection Committee
UWC-USA works closely with the U.S. Selection Committee to select students to represent the United States as Davis Scholars at UWCs around the world. This dedicated and talented group of volunteers meets every month to discuss issues related to the UWC movement and to shape the application process.
The U.S. Selection Committee reads nearly a thousand documents, teacher recommendations, and applications from students across the country, and they conduct personal interviews with about 150 semi-finalists over the course of the year. In February, they gather on campus to observe students in small group activities and conversations at our finalist weekend. Their commitment is a demonstration of their enthusiasm about the UWC mission.
Bev Morse recently retired as associate dean for research and information management and director of international admissions at Kenyon College in Gambier. Prior to Kenyon, she was the assistant director of admissions at Oberlin College, also in Ohio. Bev studied music, mathematics and psychology at Wilson College, Hartt School of Music, Yale University, and City University of New York.
Her experience as a foreign exchange student to Finland broadened her outlook on the world. Bev’s appreciation of the UWC movement stems from her work in admissions, which allowed her to visit nine UWC campuses repeatedly, interview hundreds of UWC students, and befriend those who chose to attend Kenyon College.
Brian BavaCo-Chair, ‘91
Brian BavaCo-Chair, ‘91
Co-chair Brian Bava ‘91, is vice president of enrollment management at The College of Idaho, a partner institution with the Davis UWC Scholars Program. More than 170 UWC graduates attend The College of Idaho. Brian served as the associate dean of admissions at Concordia University School of Law and on the board of trustees at Riverstone International School, which is a preschool through 12-grade international baccalaureate school in Boise, Idaho.
Raised in Japan and South Korea, Brian describes his UWC-USA experience as truly transformative and is thankful to give back through his work on the selection committee. Brian received a bachelor’s in international studies and history from American University in Washington, D.C., and a master’s of education in education leadership from the University of Idaho.
Dr. Celene Ibrahim'02
Dr. Celene Ibrahim'02
Dr. Celene Ibrahim ‘02 teaches in the department of religious studies and philosophy at Groton School. Celene is a public voice on issues of religious pluralism and has written numerous publications in the field of women’s and gender studies, religion in America, and Islamic studies. She is the editor of One Nation Indivisible: Seeking Liberty and Justice from the Pulpit to the Streets, and her second book is forthcoming from Oxford University Press.
Celene has a bachelor’s (with highest honors) from Princeton University, a master’s of divinity from Harvard University, and a doctorate in Arabic and Islamic civilizations from Brandeis University. She is a frequent speaker and a diversity consultant to educational and civic institutions. Celene is passionate about multicultural education and sees the UWC movement as a pathsetter in exposing young minds to a wider world.
Jessica Mowles ‘03 is the human rights program officer at The Overbrook Foundation, where she offers grants to support reproductive justice, LGBTQ rights, and other issues. Jessica has spent more than a decade advancing social justice and human rights in the nonprofit and philanthropy sectors. She earned a bachelor’s in geography and political science from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., and a master’s of public administration in nonprofit management and strategy from NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service.
Jessica grew up in Appalachia and boarded her first airplane to attend UWC-USA. Her experience reshaped her horizons and broadened her understanding of the interconnectivity and interdependence of people across the world. She appreciates UWC’s focus on fostering curiosity and critical thinking as key drivers both in and out of the classroom.
Jim Pautz ‘02 first volunteered for the Davis Scholarship selection process as a second-year student at UWC-USA. He continued as an interviewer during his college years and while working in undergraduate admissions for Harvard, which allowed him to visit other UWC campuses. He joined the committee in 2013.
Jim came to UWC-USA from a small town in Minnesota and is proud to be a first-generation college student from a low-income family. A former resident assistant at UWC-USA, Jim serves as a resident tutor at Harvard College, where he also works for Harvard Law School.
Laura SimeonCo-chair, ‘86
Laura SimeonCo-chair, ‘86
Co-chair Laura Simeon ‘86, Atlantic College, lives in the Seattle area and is the young adult editor for Kirkus Reviews. Laura has a bachelor’s in history from Bryn Mawr, a master’s in history from the University of British Columbia, and a master’s of library and information science from the University of Washington. A one-time librarian and diversity coordinator at an independent school, Laura credits UWC for nurturing her passion for fostering equity and inclusivity.
As a parent and former educator, Laura cares deeply about a sustainable future for young people. In today’s world, all issues are global, making it more critical than ever to build bridges across cultures.
Nancy Sinex’s relationship with the United World College began nearly 20 years ago when she visited UWC-USA as a representative of Earlham College, where she served as the director of admissions until her retirement in 2014. Meeting and speaking with students from the United States and around the world broadened her own perspectives about cultures similar to and very different from her own.
She continued that association through her earlier service with the U.S. Selection Committee, now serving in her second term, and while working with many UWC alumni from around the world who attended Earlham for their undergraduate study. Nancy shares an appreciation for the kind of education and life-changing experiences students receive at UWC. She received her bachelor’s in English from Earlham in 1976 and worked on the leadership team of the college’s admissions office for more than 25 years. She lives in Portland, Ore.
Naya Mukherji ‘02, Mahindra, credits UWC with shaping who she is today. Naya is passionate about the movement, and helped organize the short course at the Waterford UWC in eSwatini.
Naya works in marketing in New York City, but is passionate about education. In the past, she taught high school history and served as a pre-health advisor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Rod Skinner is director of college counseling at Milton Academy in Milton, Mass. In his 40-plus years in secondary education, he has worked at schools in Boston, Connecticut, California, and Florida.
Rod also teaches on the faculty of the Harvard Summer Institute on College Admissions and presents at a number of conferences annually. He also chairs the Oversight and Advisory Committees at The Mountain School in Vershire, Vt., and serves on the board of trustees for Boston Collegiate Charter School.
Throughout his career, Rod has worked to ensure equity, access, and fairness in the college admission process. He has chaired the admission practices committee for the National Association for College Admission Counseling, authored chapters on writing effective recommendations and application essays for NACAC’s Fundamentals of College Admission Counseling, and served five years on the board of the Common Application. While in Florida, Rod directed the Southern Association for College Admission Counseling Summer Institute for Secondary School Counselors for 10 years. It is this same sense of mission that makes Rod so excited to serve on the UWC National Selection Committee.
Rod has a bachelor’s in English from Harvard College and a master’s in education from Harvard University.