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UWC-USA Voices

The UWC-USA community is filled with amazing, talented, interesting people—including students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Read their stories!

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UWC-USA is pleased to announce Bhushan Taludhar '87 as the recipient of The Giulio Regeni Alumni Impact Award because of his commitment to sustainability and clean energy in Nepal.
Summia Tora '16, Afghanistan, remembers the moment she decided to become a change-agent. She was 11 years old, watching the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony on television, when it hit her. "They were showing people who were changing lives," Summia reflects. "I thought, 'I should do that. I should have an aim and a goal.'"
Jane Huber '12 started her started her career in public policy and nonprofit management in a UWC-USA dorm room.
Rashna Ginwalla '95 is a fellow in trauma and emergency surgery at the University of Arizona Medical Center. It was in this role that she achieved a long-time dream: volunteering with Médecins Sans Frontières.
Even though she spent most of her life on her family's farm, Gillian Welch '15, USA-Maine, didn't consider herself a "farm girl" until she arrived in New Mexico. "You get a chance to re-invent yourself when you come to UWC-USA, and choose the things you want to share with people," she says.
The first time economics teacher Eyad Shabaneh met an Israeli was when he came to teach at UWC-USA in 2000. Eyad, who is Palestinian, says he made a conscious decision to "differentiate the person from the country."
If you can't take a city full of Chinese students to UWC-USA, then bringing UWC-USA to them is the next best thing. That's the premise Sitong Xu '15, China, followed when he launched an ambitious camp project in his hometown last summer.
Farid Noori '14 was an entrepreneur even before he knew what the word meant. It started with tennis. Before coming to UWC-USA, Farid was an exchange student in Maine. The family with whom he stayed introduced him to tennis. He fell in love with the sport, and decided he had to take it back home to Kabul, Afghanistan.
Last year, she was a shy girl. Today, Madeleine Rowell is an outspoken media darling. The metamorphosis happened practically overnight, after she posted a petition on the web asking the Cayman Islands government to adopt an age-appropriate sex education curriculum for public schools and improve young people's access to information, testing, and contraception.
UWC-USA students are inherently risk-takers. Coming to a campus in a remote corner of New Mexico, far away from friends and family, is a perfect example. Skiing for the first time—especially if you've never seen snow before—is another. But the risk Cuauhtémoc Cruz Herrera '14 took last summer went well beyond the more typical challenges. He risked deportation.
Some teenagers get a summer job so they can purchase something special—a computer, a bicycle, new shoes. Amelie-Sophie spent the first part of her summer working long days for little pay so she could afford to go to I would just say "a refugee camp in Malaysia.
When Abdul Rahman Alloush left his home in Homs, Syria, he knew it would be a long time before he would be able to return. There would be no family visit during winter breaks, and no trip back over the summer.
In Zimbabwe, family is not limited to a nuclear household. Nkosilathi Shangwa and his brother shared a house with their mother, but raising children, cooking, and finances were held in common across the numerous households in their extended family. One thing that wasn't shared, however, was Nkosilathi's mother's approach to discussion and education around a hugely prevalent but stigmatized topic: HIV.
Wilderness Program Director Arianne "Ari" Zwartjes '97 believes in hands-on experience: she's been a timber framer; a motorcycle rider, a youth educator, a published author, and an EMT.
When you're 14, war and segregation don't always make sense.What does an idealistic youngster do? For Karlo Skarica '13, the answer was to start a youth center in his town in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The UWC-USA campus, with its hills and stairs, made Maria Alejandra "Alé" Traslosheros Reyes nervous. Alé walks with an uneven gait and tires quickly, but after conquering her first backpacking trip, she is ready for any challenge.
Lee Jimenez '14 UWC-TX is a first generation Mexican-American, but he never saw himself that way at home in San Antonio, Texas, where many of his peers claimed a Mexican heritage as well.
Marisol Fernandez Y Mora's life changed when her 8th grade teacher introduced her to Mahatma Ghandi. Suddenly, she was able to imagine ways she might make a difference.

Meet Mzwakithi Shongwe, '12, who came to UWC-USA from Swaziland.

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DID YOU KNOW

UWC-USA is one of 16 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 70 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 3,357 UWC-USA alumni are spread across the globe: North America 26%, Latin America and Caribbean 16%, Africa 10%, Middle East 6%, Asia 14%, Europe 21%, 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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