Monday, February 4, 2013


     As you can imagine, UWC students tend to be fairly driven, and many go on to do incredible things after graduating. We have alums in every possible field around the world, and this past weekend, we here at UWC-USA got to meet 5 alums from different years and different careers who shared with us what they do and how UWC has affected their lives.
     Here's a bit about the alums we got to meet most recently (courtesy an email from the coordinator):

"*Cancer researcher Leonor Añó ’06 is pursuing a doctorate in molecular cancer biology at Duke University. Her area of focus is RMS, a type of muscular cancer that primarily affects children. Working with a lab team, Leonor has developed a mouse model of RMS for use in studying the molecular mechanisms of initiation and maintenance of this type of cancer.

*Elian Maritz ’02 is president of Harvard Law School’s Law and International Development Society, managing editor of the Human Rights Journal, and executive board member of the Harvard Immigration Project. She is also active in the International Human Rights Clinic, with which she has recently traveled to Lebanon and Jordan to report on Syrian refugees. Prior to Harvard, Elian was a Peace Corps volunteer in El Salvador.
*Leah Simmons-Davis ’97 has been a firefighter in California for the past 10 years. She also coaches strength and conditioning classes and enjoys backpacking, motorcycling, cooking, sewing, and a recent “tenuous attempt” to play guitar. This past summer, Leah was seasonally promoted to fire captain, managing 15 employees and running a two-engine company.
*Ken Neal ’85 is the manager of a wind farm operations center that forecasts and integrates the electric power from large wind farms in Northwest Montana into existing grid systems and power markets. Previously, Ken harnessed the wind as a sailing ship captain on educational tall ships in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Caribbean. He later co-founded the educational non-profit Call of the Sea in San Francisco Bay to connect kids with the sea.
*Kristian Segerstråle '96 is the executive vice president of digital at Electronic Arts, a video game developer, publisher, and distributor. Prior to EA, he was CEO and co-founder (along with fellow UWC-USA alumnus Sebastien de Halleux ’96) of Playfish. In addition to his work in the gaming industry, Kristian has served as managing director of Europe for Glu Mobile (and was a co-founder of Glu Mobile Europe in 2001) as well as a driving force on the board of Lovefilm, the European movie subscription service that today is backbone of Inc.'s movie service."

So, ya know, pretty cool people. They visited our classrooms on Friday and answered questions and talked with us in smaller groups. Friday evening we had an all school panel in the auditorium and the alums shared some stories from their UWC days, advice, and how UWC impacted their lives. It was really cool to hear about the specific memories (not to mention some crazy adventures, one involving losing a student in Bombay- don't worry, it ended up ok) and think about where we want to end up in the future.
     I should also mention that we have a ton of other cool alums, one of whom you may have heard about recently. Prince Willem- Alexander (UWC- AC (Wales) '85) is going to be crowned King of the Netherlands later this year. Here's a list of some others. There are politicians, artists, environmentalists, presidents, royals, just about everything. 
     Hearing from and about so many successful people is a little intimidating though. Makes me wonder where we'll all be in five, ten, or twenty years. I have no doubt that many of my classmates will be leaders in their fields, and some may even be leading nations. Shelby Davis, the man who donates our scholarships, told us in September that he never gives money away- he invests. He said he expects all of us to give back to the world in some way. No pressure, huh? I'm still leaning towards International Relations and hope that I'll be able to live up to expectations and make a difference. 
     One of the alums last weekend gave a piece of advice that goes right along with something I've been working on. She said one of the best things we can do right now is to shadow individuals in the fields we think we want to go into. I've been looking into organizations in D.C. where I might be able to shadow for a bit this summer. I'll be writing to them soon, but I also have a question for you guys-
Do you know anyone who works in International Relations or with International Policy who I could maybe shadow this summer? 
I'd really love to just get to see how things work and maybe start making some connections. Please help me out if you can, I'd really appreciate it :) Feel free to facebook me, or comment on this post and I'll give you my email. Thanks!

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