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Volume 45 Winter 2014

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Redefining Leadership in the 21st Century page 6

Welcome to the Imagination Age page 12

The Hardest Hike


TABLE of CONTENTS Letter From the President



Redefining Leadership in the 21st Century



Welcome to the Imagination Age



Putting Words Into Action


Change Agents On Loss, Hope, and Peace 11 Back Country The Hardest Hike


Connected Moving Beyond Service


Spotlight Everyone’s Favorite Mom and Dad


Viewpoint The UWC Experience, Distilled


Big Heart Giving Back Starts Early


One of Us From Ordinary to Extraordinary—Carla Tennebaum ‘97 18 Peer Review 20 Looking Back Thrills, Chills, and Dust: The Campus Tunnels


Inspiration 25

Cover photo: Gareth Smit ‘09 Inside front cover photo: Alejandro Soler Gayoso ’15, Spain Inside back cover photo: Murat Orhun Bozkurt ’14, USA-NC Back cover photo: Wendy Layton



At UWC-USA, we seem to feed on change. We seek to make change in our community—whether it is on campus, in town, or out in the wider world. We change lives—the lives of our students and alumni are forever different for the experiences they have in Montezuma. We change our perspectives as we acquire new information and dig deep into analysis. Ironically, change might be the only constant in the UWC world. As I consider the articles in this issue of Kaleidoscope, however, I wonder whether the word “change” should be replaced by “evolve.” For example, the piece on leadership on page 2 discusses the many ways in which we view leadership and leaders. As you read it, you’ll see that it’s no longer about the man or woman in the corner office calling the shots but about individuals who understand their role within a broader context and the many ways in which they can assume a leadership role. Likewise, we’re evolving the language we use around “community service.” As the story on page 14 illustrates, the relationships we have with organizations and institutions in Las Vegas, Santa Fe, and beyond hinge on engagement—and that requires trust, communication, and shared goals. We don’t want our students to be heroes riding in on white horses determined to save the city; we want them to be partners in a process that empowers all parties. The story about our program with two youth detention facilities on page 9 illustrates this approach beautifully. Our relationship with the arts is evolving, too. On page 6, you’ll read about ways the arts enrich students well beyond technical skills. Experts agree: From confidence building to risk-taking, arts education is giving students the kind of tools they’ll need to be successful in any field. I’m proud that for a school of 219 students, nearly 40 percent of them are enrolled in one of our International Baccalaureate arts classes. They will be the creative problem-solvers we’ll rely on in the future. Finally, Kaleidoscope itself is evolving. We rolled out our new design with the last issue; with this one, we’re expanding to include new departments: Spotlight focuses on a faculty or staff member, Big Heart highlights a special donor, and Change Agents features a student, alumna/alumnus, or staff member who is poised to make an impact. Of course, this wouldn’t be UWC-USA if there weren’t more evolutions taking place every day. And revolutions. Our mission is huge, our aspirations are enormous, and our capacity to move from ideas to action is real. Enjoy this issue of Kaleidoscope. I hope it will inspire your own process of evolution. Warmly,

THOMAS E. ODEN Acting President

The magazine of UWC-USA, The Armand Hammer United World College of the American West Volume 45, Winter 2014 Vice President for Advancement: Christie Baskett Editor: Jennifer Rowland Peer Review Editor: Celisse Ruiz Copy Editor: Jeannine Santiago Designer: Liz Burrill Contributing Writers: Irvin Brown ’15 (Bahamas), Tarra Hassin ’91, Josh Holland, Dana Miucci, Graham Rasmussen, Sharon Seto, John Sheedy, Simone Spera ’14 (Italy), Naomi Swinton ’89 Contributing Photographers: Murat Orhun Bozkurt ’14 (USA-NC), Dan Cressman, Gita Eglite-Wilson ’05, Wendy Layton, Jennifer Rowland, Jose Sandoval Zamorano ’15 (Chile), Gareth Smith ’09, Arianne Zwartjes ’97 Contact: UWC-USA P.O. Box 248 Montezuma, NM 87731

Kaleidoscope is published biannually by the UWC-USA Advancement Office to sustain connection with alumni and the school’s extended community.


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Redefining Leadership in the 21st Century Escalating debt and a falling dollar. A government shutdown in the U.S. The collapse of European economies. Conflict in the Middle East. Ongoing deterioration of the environment.

The list goes on. How are we going to get ourselves out of this mess? Who will be on the front lines trying to solve many of the world’s most pressing problems? Rising public dissatisfaction with old, worn-out structures, failed strategies, and temporary fixes clearly calls for a new kind of leader in all strata of society.

Not surprisingly, leadership is a hot topic. Recent books such as the best-selling Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and From Values to Action: The Four Principles of Values-Based Leadership by Harry M. Jansen Kraemer Jr., professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in Illinois, are calling attention to what may be one of the most pressing issues of our time. A growing number of organizations are also doing their part to advance the conversation on leadership. The Transformational Leadership Council, for example, founded in 2004 by Chicken Soup for the Soul author and entrepreneur Jack Canfield, brings together thought leaders, coaches, authors, speakers, and researchers in the fields of personal and professional development to network and learn from each other.

A New Model at UWC-USA Building on its own longtime commitment to cultivating outstanding leaders, UWC-USA has introduced a new leadership model, which Acting President Tom Oden hopes will better prepare students for a variety of leadership roles in an increasingly complex, multicultural, interconnected world. “The old, narrowly defined model of the autocratic, dominant alpha leader is not desirable,” Tom says. “We want to show students that leadership is multifaceted and that there are different ways to lead using


a variety of skills. Leadership happens all the time. We’re cultivating a conscious leadership language and weaving it through the entire experience at our school—in the classroom, the residential program, and in other co-curricular activities.” The new leadership framework adopted by UWCUSA, based on the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) model, defines four types of leadership: designated leadership, active followership, peer leadership, and self-leadership. The more traditional, formal role of designated leadership, which is usually associated with a title, requires more public accountability, as in the case of a resident assistant or Student Council leader, for example. Active followership assigns leadership responsibility to all members of a group in recognition that being a leader is not always about being in control. The peer leadership role exists outside of formal structures, is communitybased, and involves being a positive influence within group activities and interpersonal connections. The fourth component, self-leadership, requires developing personal habits and capacities—such as health and wellness, honesty, and integrity—that enable a person to become an effective leader. “These four aspects of leadership reflect an awareness that you need in order to develop yourself,” Tom says. “The key is to move fluidly between the various roles. Preparing effective leaders is a big component of

“These four aspects of leadership reflect an awareness that you need in order to develop yourself. The key is to move fluidly between the various roles.” —ACTING PRESIDENT TOM ODEN

designated leadership

active Followership

PEER leadership







“There is a lot of talk today about mission-driven businesses that balance profitability with a concern for the well-being of the planet and the people they serve. As a result, leadership styles are changing. The business leader who enforces an autocratic agenda is being replaced by the leader who values interconnection and cooperation.” —Anais Tuepker ’92


our mission. This model is designed to help students understand what already exists within them and nurture its growth so they can leverage it in all areas of their lives.” Much of the new leadership language at the school was introduced by Wilderness Program Director Arianne Zwartjes ’97, who is also a NOLS instructor. “For the first time last year, we introduced a 12-day leadership expedition as part of the Wilderness Program,” Arianne says. “It pushes the students’ comfort zones and provides hands-on leadership experience in all four roles of the model we’re using. The leadership and communication skills, self-awareness, and empathy that students develop through wilderness education extend far beyond their time at UWC-USA.”

Cultural Empathy A recent article in the Harvard Business Review, titled “Why America Lacks Global Leaders,” says research has shown that “sensitivity to culture” (also called cultural empathy) is the most important requirement for a successful global leader. “Cultural empathy requires a degree of egolessness, because you have to surrender the notion that your country, or language, or point of view is best,” the article states. Tom agrees that today’s global leaders must be able to operate with ease across cultures by developing an understanding and acceptance of cultural differences. They must be able to achieve results through relationships based on this understanding, balance personal values with flexibility, and have a strong sense of self-understanding. The unique multicultural environment of UWCUSA is the perfect crucible for developing such leaders. Mojia Shen ’14, China, says she has learned much about cooperation in her co-curricular leadership roles, which have involved spearheading a local voter registration drive and teaching Chinese language and culture at a community center. “My leadership style has changed from that of a driven, authoritative leader, which is


common in China, to a relationship master,” says Mojia, who hopes to help reform the education system in China. “I believe that building harmonious relationships and connections is the foundation of 21st century leadership.” Iago Patino Lopez ’14, Spain, who serves as a UWC-USA group leader with Amnesty International and participated in the 12-day wilderness leadership expedition, also has been “transformed” by his leadership experience at the school. “As a designated leader, I’ve learned that it’s important to encourage active followership, to let my group members take initiative and acknowledge that I don’t know everything,” he says. “Leadership is about building community, helping others, and working for the greater good. We are all connected. You don’t need to be a world leader or the head of a company. Being an active global citizen with integrity and compassion is a form of leadership.” Leadership experts say that working together in a spirit of community, cooperation, and compassion for others is the way to a peaceful and sustainable future for all—the essence of UWC’s mission statement. Linda Lambert, Ed. D., leadership consultant and professor emeritus, California State University, East Bay, has written and co-wrote seven books on leadership, including The Constructivist Leader. She advocates an inclusive approach to leadership that extends beyond formal, authoritative roles. “Constructivist leadership is about purposeful leading together in community, the notion that everyone is a leader,” Lambert says. “This kind of leadership is democratic, reciprocal, and reflective. A corporate CEO, for example, would create a space of inquiry and dialogue to encourage broad-based, skillful leadership participation within the company.” The best leaders, according to Lambert, have a clear set of democratic values; can engage, listen, and respect others; ask a lot of questions; and act as integrators and catalysts to bring groups together. “Human behavior will change when people start to understand each other with empathy and


Leadership experts say that working together in a spirit of community, cooperation, and compassion for others is the way to a peaceful and sustainable future for all—the essence of UWC’s mission statement.

compassion,” Lambert says. “That is the foundation of enlightened leadership.” UWC-USA alumni share a similar perspective on leadership. Eran Bar-Am ’91, a native of Israel who works for a management consulting firm in Germany, says increasing internationalization requires the 21st century leader to be a skilled, empathetic crosscultural communicator. “My experience at UWC-USA gave me a comfort level interacting with people from diverse cultures, which has served me well in business, particularly in a recent project with the World Health Organization,” he says. “A good leader must be able to break down boundaries, establish a basis of trust with others, and strike a balance between the head and the heart.” Anais Tuepker ’92, co-founder and CEO of the Portland, Oregon-based health-care company Preciva Inc., is doing just that with her own business. “Attending UWC-USA was life changing for me because it taught a sense of responsibility to others and helped me to think with a global perspective, which is very useful for a leader,” says Anais, who is making affordable cervical cancer screening tests available in developing countries. “There is a lot of talk today about mission-driven businesses that balance profitability with a concern for the well-being of the planet and the people they serve. As a result, leadership styles are changing. The business leader who enforces an autocratic agenda is being replaced by the leader who values interconnection and cooperation.” Leadership styles and views are also changing in the public sector, according to Silvia Miranda ’95, coordinator for Asia, Oceana, and APEC Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Trade for Costa Rica. “It’s not until you’re open to different viewpoints that you can lead effectively,” Silvia says. “The leadership we need nowadays has to do with listening and understanding. You need to surround yourself with people who trust and respect you and will tell you what you need to know. You can’t succeed as a

leader if you think you know everything. In my role as a trade negotiator, I work with a team of advisors and ask a lot of questions. It’s essential for leaders to have humility and not be seduced by power.”

Character and Values Humility is one of the most important qualities a leader can have, says Ian Chisholm ’91, trustee of Pearson College UWC and founding partner and creative director of the Roy Group, a leadership development and executive coaching company in Victoria, Canada. Other qualities that are necessary to lead effectively, according to Ian, are responsibility to others; the resolve to put your finest self forward; and autonomy in ruthlessly refining and mastering yourself to reach your fullest potential. “Leadership always comes back to character, knowing that you are the work,” Ian says. “You can’t be an effective leader unless you really know yourself, are willing to accept feedback, and are brave enough to innovate and fail without the arrogance of thinking there’s only one solution.” A good leader also must be what Ian calls a “convener.” “Conveners are people who know how to work with a team,” he says. “They are experts at creating rich conversations and exchanging ideas. UWC-USA is a living, learning laboratory for producing conversational leaders.” What is one of the greatest challenges for leaders today? “There are too many people and not enough love,” says Ian, who is co-creator of The Gemini Project in Canada, which brings street kids and executives together to coach each other on leadership skills. “The new standard of leadership will be defined by the question: ‘How many people is my heart capable of caring deeply for?’”


Dana Micucci is a widely published journalist and author. Her latest book, Sojourns of the Soul: One Woman’s Journey Around the World and Into Her Truth (Quest Books), was a gold winner in the 2013 Nautilus Book Awards.



WELCOME to the IMAGINATION AGE Researchers— and alumni— agree that an arts education can be critical for future success.


Beike Bekker ’14, Netherlands, spent the first part of the semester in her International Baccalaureate art class drawing a frog. It was a lovely frog, but it sat forlornly in a sea of blank white paper. Beike was stuck. “I spent weeks staring at white space and didn’t really get anything done,” she says. “I told [IB art instructor Colin Lanham] ‘I see the space as an opportunity.’ He said, ‘I see it as a failure. You haven’t taken any risks.’” His words hit Beike like a bucket of ice water. She suddenly realized she was risk-averse, and it was hindering her success. With new determination, Beike grabbed colored pencils and started tackling the white, not knowing what would come of it but confident that in pushing herself, she was heading in the right direction. “It’s very easy to go along with things and not do things because they are scary,” she says. “Freedom can be scary.” Beike doesn’t plan on an art career—she’s interested in linguistics or sports science. But the lesson she learned about risk-taking in Colin’s famous art room will serve her in any profession she chooses to pursue.

21st Century Skills In fact, a growing body of research supports the idea that an arts education—whether it is in music, dance, theater, visual arts, or film—is critical in developing the kind of skills students need for success in the 21st century. A study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which is based in Paris and counts 34 member and partner countries, found that “students who participate in a large number of art courses (likely a mixture of kinds of arts courses) have higher educational achievement (as measured by grades in school and scores on verbal and mathematical standardized tests) than those who take fewer or no arts courses.” Fran Smith, a contributing editor for Edutopia, an online journal published by the George Lucas Educational Foundation, wrote, “Involvement in the arts is associated with gains in math, reading, cognitive ability, critical thinking, and verbal skills. Arts learning can also improve motivation, concentration, confidence, and teamwork.” The International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) is jumping on the bandwagon: Next year, it will undertake its own study of the impact the arts can have on student success.

“Universities are saying that students who aren’t engaged in the arts are actually quite stuck,” says Christine Haaf, IBO curriculum manager for music and dance. “Students who explored the arts were used to getting feedback and were less likely to fall apart under pressure. They also were more likely to collaborate.” Kelvin Williams, the IBO’s head of curriculum for individuals, societies, and the arts, says the impact goes well beyond university success. “We’ve been through the Industrial Revolution and the Information Age. Now we are moving into the Imagination Age,” he says.

Group 6 Defined Known as Group 6 in IB parlance, the arts are optional for IB students: They may choose either an arts subject from Group 6 or a second subject from Groups 1 to 5. Those groups include language and literature, language acquisition, mathematics, experimental sciences, and social sciences (known as individuals and societies). No one at the IBO is pushing for the arts to be required—“We wouldn’t want students to do it because they have to; that would undervalue the experience for those students who are really passionate,” says Michael Bindon, IBO curriculum manager for theater, film, and visual arts. Rather, the IBO hopes that its research will foster deeper appreciation for and understanding of the role the arts can play in broader academic success. Group 6 subjects incorporate technical training (learning to use oil paint or playing a set of chords, for example) but also require students to study and understand the theoretical, cultural, and historical aspects of their chosen subject. UWC-USA’s rich student diversity plays a critical role by exposing students to a vast population of cultures and countries. Music classes are enriched by young musicians who bring unique instruments from home, art classes benefit from students who are differentiating between art and craft for the first time, and dance students are exposed to a range of styles that would be unheard of in typical classrooms. Of the 803 IB Diploma schools in the U.S., UWC-USA is one of only 37 that offers a full slate of IB arts classes. It’s a significant feature, considering the size of the student body and the relatively small number of faculty (three full-time instructors and a handful of part-time teachers). Eighty-three of the school’s 219 students are enrolled in IB arts courses, which include visual arts, theater, music, and dance. Countless others participate in the arts through extracurricular activities such as two choruses, the dance ensemble, and small musical groups. “In a way, it’s like being at a school for the arts because the students here are so talented,” says IB dance teacher Kathleen Kingsley.

“It’s very easy to go along with things and not do things because they are scary. Freedom can be scary.” —BEIKE BEKKER ’14

Achieving Balance One benefit UWC-USA offers over an art school, however, is balance. Alumni say they appreciated not having to choose between specializing in art or a more “traditional” subject like math—they could do both. That’s what Diego Ramos Rosas ’08 and Daniel Tan Ooi Peng ’03 did. Diego, who has been playing instruments since he was 4, knew he would attend a secondary school with a music program. But he also wanted a well-rounded education. At UWC-USA, he gave equal time to all his classes and earned a place at Brown University in Rhode Island, where he majored in economics and music. Today, he holds down two jobs: one as a conductor, and the other as a consultant at a management and development firm in his native country of Peru. “Part of my success as an economist comes from my arts education,” Diego says. “When you work in the arts, you encounter a lot of very difficult moments. There are hard deadlines for performances, and you work with temperamental people who have strong ideas. Music gives you a way of planning, organizing, and looking at things.” When Daniel entered UWC-USA as a student, music was not at the top of his agenda. He had dabbled, but pursuing music was not considered a priority in his home


country of Singapore. At UWC-USA, he picked up the flute. “[IB music teacher Ron Maltais] made it possible for me to find my voice,” Daniel says. Like Diego, Daniel majored in music and economics as a student at Vassar in New York. “I ultimately made a decision that I wanted a more stable future and went into investment banking,” he says. Daniel is now pursuing an MBA at Stanford University, but he’s discovered a cadre of MBA students who share his passion for music. They regularly gather for open mic nights. “The side effect of picking up the flute late in life is that it made me unafraid to try new things,” Daniel says.

Creativity and Confidence

“The future belongs to artists and designers, photographers and illustrators. It belongs to creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers, and meaning makers.”



“I don’t know how many subjects have as much risk-taking built into them as the arts do,” Colin says. “It’s not as obvious in a math class, but it’s very obvious in the art studio. Students are doing stuff they never tried before. It’s another way of learning that can be very applicable beyond the art studio.” Anga’aefonu (Fonu) Bain-Vete ’03 spent many happy hours in Colin’s art room. Today, she’s a working artist in Australia; she paints, draws, creates jewelry, and has her own design label. “One of the most important things I learned in Colin’s class was to laugh at myself enough and to take myself seriously enough,” she says. “I learned to give my experiences validity and humility—to allow myself to explore the weight of the world and to make fun of it and myself in it. As an adult, I constantly put this skill to use professionally and personally.” The confidence Fonu developed at UWC-USA helped propel her formal art training, first at the San Francisco Art Institute and then at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, where she received a Master of Visual Culture. Self-confidence—along with critical and creative thinking, motivation, and the ability to communicate and cooperate effectively—are skills that the OECD report says are “considered critical for innovation.” It’s a fact that business leaders are well aware of. In 2001, Robert A. Lutz was hired to ramp up car manufacturer General Motors’ product development. His approach, he told The New York Times, was to look to his creative staff. “I see us being in the art business,” he says. “Art, entertainment, and mobile sculpture, which, coincidentally, also happens to provide transportation.” Author Daniel Pink, who has written extensively on creativity and motivation, famously called the MFA (Master of Fine Arts) the new MBA (Master of Business Administration). “Today, the future doesn’t belong to … engineers, lawyers, and accountants,” he says. “It belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind. The future belongs to artists and designers, photographers and illustrators. It belongs to creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers, and meaning makers.” And risk-takers. “My motto is, ‘Risk. Fail. Risk,’” says Bryce Thweatt ’15, UWAKY, who is taking IB theatre this year. “The more you stretch, the more you grow. Failure is a part of success because I’m always learning what I need to do in order to succeed.”


Putting Into Action

have pen pals in other countries. At UWC-USA, a group of students have forged friendships with teens a little closer to school. They are writing to and meeting with youths at two juvenile detention facilities in Albuquerque, New Mexico. For the last two years, students from Camino Nuevo Youth Center and the Youth Diagnostic & Development Center (YDDC) have been getting to know UWC-USA students through visits over Project Week and by writing letters to each other.

The three institutions share some similarities. Like UWC-USA, Camino Nuevo and YDDC are home to some 200 teens who live in dormitories, share life experiences, and eat and study together. It’s these commonalities that serve as a point of departure for the new friendships that form between teens who come from radically diverse experiences. Residents at the detention facilities, who range from 14 to 21 years old, have committed criminal offenses. Many of the youths have experienced substance addiction, assault or abuse, gang violence, or severe behavioral/mental health issues. They are incarcerated for one to three years, depending on the severity of their offenses, and they are required to participate in programs that focus on rehabilitation and relationship building. They also work on earning their high school diplomas so that they can move forward. Peer-to-Peer Learning Dr. Selena Sermeno, former director of UWC-USA’s Bartos Institute who now serves as a consultant to the Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) of the state of New Mexico, helped facilitate UWC-USA’s partnership with the youth facilities. The goal of the 9

collaboration is to develop a cross-cultural curriculum and peer-learning program. “Peer-led mentoring experiences can make a huge difference for these young people who are seeking re-integration to the outside world,” Selena says. “UWC-USA students can help model healthy choices for teens who are working to develop academic goals and aspirations, as well as healthy gender and family roles.” The program was piloted in 2012, when UWC-USA students went to the facilities for Project Week. Last year, a group of 12 students from Bulgaria, Canada, China, Yemen, Iran, Palestine, Liechtenstein, Nigeria, Trinidad and Tobago, and the U.S. did the same thing, sharing arts and crafts projects and playing team-building games with the incarcerated teens. The success of the two trips convinced CYFD to approve a more robust exchange, and UWC-USA students have been approved for monthly visits to continue developing connections and sharing stories. Different Perspectives Sophie Hammermann ’14, Liechtenstein, says the exchange has been one of the most important projects in her UWC-USA career. “Meeting girls my own age with experiences so different than my own who nonetheless share very similar hopes and dreams has been very affirming,” she says. “I have great respect for them and am grateful to hear about their challenges and choices going forward. It helps put our experiences in perspective and helps encourage all of us to try our best to make all our dreams come true.” For the teens at the facilities, the opportunity to meet and talk with college-bound students from around the globe is interesting and informative. On a recent visit, Fatima Jafari ’14, Afghanistan, shared her religion and the practice of wearing a hijab. Maria Traslosheros Reyes ’14, Mexico, talked about holiday customs and foods. Everyone marked a map to locate where they were born and talked about their families and favorite local traditions.


Building Trust Before they begin interacting with the teens, UWCUSA students are trained by YDDC and Camino Nuevo to maintain clear boundaries, listen carefully, and be consistent in order to build trust. From there, UWC-USA

students develop activities to share about their cultures; create opportunities for dialogue; and enjoy arts, crafts, and sports with each other. Working in small groups and sharing facilitation responsibilities tested the leadership, planning, and communication skills of UWC-USA students who were involved in the last Project Week trip. Their efforts paid off. Teens at the facilities reported that the Project Week visits were among the highlights of their year. “Meeting other girls my age from all over the world makes me want to travel and explore. I will never forget sitting and making bracelets together and talking,” said one girl. A boy reported that he rarely has visitors and had never met anyone from China. High Aspirations The staffs at the facilities are equally enthusiastic. One of the coordinators said the incarcerated teens felt lucky to have visitors their own age sharing stories and taking time to talk and get to know them. For UWC-USA students, those stories can be haunting. “What if the only way to sustain yourself and find something to eat is by dealing drugs or fighting on the streets?” Lea-Tereza Tenekedjieva ’14, Bulgaria, wrote in her journal. “I got shocked when one of the girls explained to me that she is glad that her mother just got arrested for drug dealing and is sentenced for 15 years because the girl knew that this way her mother would be safe.” “I heard the expression ‘I know I don’t want this life for myself’ from almost everyone I talked to,” Lea-Tereza continued. “Most of them already had plans about what they want to do or study when they get out of the center—in fact, their aspirations were impressively high.” For Razan Idris ’14, Sudan, the project reinforced principles she’s learned in Constructive Engagement of Conflict, particularly around teamwork and avoiding conflict. “With the incarcerated girls, we had to listen fully to each other, never interrupt, show that we were giving our full attention and respect to every word that was said, listen to the girls’ feedback, and learn how to gauge situations so as to prevent conflict where possible,” Razan says. “I learned a lot about myself during this week. I also feel that I learned a lot about the world and society around me, as well as my own beliefs and religion.”

CHANGE AGENTS family. UWC-USA is my second home, but I miss my first home, as well. John: What were you doing in Syria when you weren’t able to attend school?

Abdul Rahman Alloush ’14, Syria, talks about his home country with Spanish teacher John Sheedy. Abdul Rahman Alloush ’14 comes from Homs, Syria. The conflict in his home country has touched him in many ways: His family’s home recently was destroyed (no one was hurt), a good friend was killed, and he was forced to leave school for two years. As a student in New Mexico, Abdul has grappled with being far away from his family even as he has gained new insights and a renewed conviction to be an agent of change. John: Tell me about the conflict in Syria. Abdul: It started with 10 children who wrote on the wall of their school, “The people of Syria don’t want this government anymore.” That was during the Arab Spring, and everyone was watching the revolutions happening in Egypt, Tunisia, and other countries. Under Syrian law, you cannot insult the Syrian government, so the children were arrested and death was their destination. People started asking for a change in government. That is how it started and then it turned into a civil war. John: How has the conflict affected you personally? Abdul: One of my friends was killed. He was on his way to school because he

was thirsty for education, the same as me. He got into the car. His dad was driving, and they got shot. It was really painful to me because he was one of my closest classmates. We shared a lot of memories together. [Editor’s note: Abdul was not ready to discuss the loss of his family’s home.] John: Did the danger of going to school force you to stop attending? Abdul: I had to make a decision: Was it worth it to be killed to get an education? Education was very valuable to me, but I had to wait. I felt that one day, I would have the opportunity to continue my education, and the opportunity came to be UWC-USA. John: What was it like for you to come to UWC-USA after not being in school for two years? Abdul: It was a major challenge for me. I had not done math for two years. I also had very little English. It was challenging to understand the structure and social life here. The IB is taught completely different from how I was used to being taught. Everything was different! It was challenging, as well, because I had no family here. Now I feel that UWC-USA is my

Abdul: I worked as a counselor and a teacher in an elementary school. I taught children art. [My class] was like a place where they could express all their stress and put it down on paper. The students did not draw flowers, butterflies, or the stereotype of the perfect family. They drew military equipment, guns, bombs, and blood. And the colors that they used were red, black, brown, and colors that express sadness and hurt. Once, I asked them what they hoped for the future. One of the children answered, “To be able to draw butterflies and flowers again.” John: Do you have any hope for your country? Abdul: Hope? I don’t know if I really do have hope anymore because I don’t know what is left of my city. I don’t know if I have the hope to go back, but I want to go back because that is the land where I was raised. John: Has your experience at UWC-USA changed your perspective? Abdul: It has helped me be more accurate because before I only had the Syrian perspective. I had to learn more about other people’s opinions and about other countries in order to be a good representative of Syria. If I could stop the Syrian civil war now and get back to the old Syria—how it was then—I would do that. I would do my best to help

everyone in Syria. I believe one day I will have the power to stop the war or to be a useful party to stop the war. John: How do you find peace within yourself? Abdul: My definition of peace is being safe, happy, and satisfied. I think that these three adjectives can describe peace. Personally, I have never seen peace around the world. I really hope that people can be safe and happy before anything else, because if you are happy and you are satisfied and you are healthy, what else do you need? You don’t realize the value of something until you lose it. I didn’t realize how important my country is to me until I left. I didn’t realize the importance of friends until I lost them. And I didn’t realize the importance of a home until I lost it. John: What do you want to do after graduation? Abdul: I am going to do my best to get into a good college, and maybe in the future, I can go back and build a new Syria.





“I found within myself a sense of perseverance and raw physical strength that had been hidden before.”


THE GRAND CANYON IS ONE OF THE SEVEN NATURAL wonders of the world. The 446-kilometer-long, 1.6 killometerdeep canyon is quite imposing to look at—and even more imposing when you are planning to climb down into it. Yet that is what six teams did for Southwest Studies last October. I was on the four-day Tanner-Cardenas Trail team. Excitement filled the air on our first day. It was about 12 degrees Celsius at the South Rim where we started, but it began to warm up significantly as we went deeper into the canyon. I was grateful for the warmth. The cold morning air sent chills down my spine: As a native of the Bahamas, I’m not used to those temperatures. My team was the second to descend, and this was no easy feat. You may think getting down to the bottom is the simple part, but trust me—it’s not. I used to backpack at home, and we walked distances ranging from 8 to 19 kilometers in a day. That was nothing compared to this hike. Through rising temperatures, heavy backpacks, and maybe some divine intervention, we made it to the bottom. When we arrived, I was surprised to not only see the Colorado River but also beaches! That’s right—there are beaches at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. This gave me a sense of home because the tan sand felt as pure as the white sandy beaches I was used to. The water may have been cold, which left much to be desired (no swimming for me!), yet the area still had a tropical feel.

It was amazing to be at the bottom of the canyon for the next few days. Just sleeping on the beach every night was an awesome experience, as serenity flowed through the camp. Our field guides—Ari Zwartjes ’97 (who is also the Wilderness Program director) and Kopavi Rubens—knew how to let us have fun, but they kept us safe at the same time. I observed tarantulas, caterpillars, and butterflies, and all these creatures inspired a sense of awe. I made a note to myself that rice with curry powder is awesome, and quinoa is a horrible thing that will never desecrate my taste buds ever again. It was interesting to watch friends interact with each other. On the third day, I took a step back after hiking and observed the world. Morgan Ingenthron ’15 USA-VT wrote his name in the sand in Japanese. Justin Yim ’15, Hong Kong, made a fort with an intricate moat. Gillian Welch ’15, USA-ME, wrote her life goals with Natsume Shiota ’15, Japan. And of course, my Polish friend Maksymillian Dabkowski ’15, Poland, was just enjoying being a “human hiking Pole.”

I think it is these experiences and feelings that make the Grand Canyon Southwest Studies trip unique and one of the greatest things UWCers will do in their time here. These hikes make you realize traits, qualities, and strengths that you would have never thought that you had within yourself. I found within myself a sense of perseverance and raw physical strength that had been hidden before. A “never give up” spirit I learned from my childhood idol, professional wrestler John Cena, led me to form my own motto: “Leave this canyon on your own two feet,” and that kept me going when things got extremely rough. And things got rough. The final day was the hike out of the Grand Canyon, and it was one of the hardest hikes of my life. It was so imposing at times, especially the halfway mark where the path is just pure elevation, climbing up a winding cliff face. This is when I began to fade. I fell severely behind. I took a bad fall and hurt my wrist. As I walked, every injury I had sustained over the past days came back to haunt me. There was a time when I just wanted a helicopter to take me out.

The heights felt more treacherous, and I’ll admit that I nearly fell off a cliff. Yet still I rose. With the song Eye of the Tiger playing in my mind, I knew that this was my moment of truth. So I made a huge push, pressing my body forward. I arrived at the South Rim 30 minutes after the bus had arrived, but I felt a sense of accomplishment when I finished and stood at the top, knowing I had conquered the canyon of all canyons. I sprinted down the trail, noticing a few squirrels as I went by. Morgan ran out to hug me. I felt amazing. Then the soreness set in and it wasn’t that great anymore. Five thousand feet down and 5,000 feet back up is quite a thing to do for a student, but I did it and I’m proud of it.




The UWC-USA campus is located in San Miguel County in New Mexico. While the landscape surrounding the school is breathtaking, the communities that lie beyond the campus walls are among the poorest in the U.S. According to the national census, more than 26 percent of San Miguel County’s population lives below the poverty line compared to 14 percent overall in the U.S. A separate 2012 study ranked New Mexico 50th in child welfare. Hunger, poor education and health, and violence are realities here. Since its inception, UWC-USA has had a robust community service program that has worked to alleviate some of these challenges. Students have contributed countless hours working as tutors for children, youth, and adults; building homes; and helping out in povertyrelated programs. Beyond meeting requirements of the


International Baccalaureate Diploma, service has given students a way to be involved with the community, develop empathy, connect with others, and learn new skills. Today, while the objectives remain the same, our terminology has changed. Like other schools and universities across the U.S., UWC-USA uses the term “community engagement” to describe a far richer program than simply offering helping hands. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching describes community engagement as “collaboration between institutions of higher learning and their larger

Izabella Pastrana ‘15, UWS-MO, prepares food at the Soup Kitchen.

communities (local, regional/ state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity.” In other words, it’s a two-way street that relies on communication, trust, and commitment so that everyone may benefit. Community engagement requires frank, open discussions among all participants that enrich the learning process. Students must become co-learners within the context of diversity, age, education, background, and skills. Through their involvement, students learn how to fundraise, organize special activities, and publicize social justice issues. Students bring fresh perspectives and energy, but because of the depth of their engagement, they also gain insight into the complexity of community challenges. UWC-USA is focused on building multiyear partnerships with local organizations that engage students in ongoing projects and give them the opportunity to develop leadership skills within the broader community. Many of these partnerships address the systemic issues that lead to poor education, hunger, social injustice, and poverty. This year, students are teaching healthy cooking skills to middle schoolers, organizing youth-focused workshops and events at the Old Town Mission Community Center, and working with teens at youth detention facilities in Albuquerque. They help run the local soup kitchen and homeless shelter. They present on HIV/AIDs and

sexually transmitted disease prevention at local schools, and they collaborate with teachers on programs that help develop life skills. Carol Durham, director of the Las Vegas Soup Kitchen, credits UWCUSA’s involvement for the expansion of her program. “Without UWC-USA students, we would not be able to offer a meal on Wednesdays,” she says. Carol encourages students to eat with the guests because she says that building community is a prerequisite for change. For students, it’s fundamental to their education. “My favorite part of Soup Kitchen is when I sit down with the guests,” says Asha Nurse ’14, Barbados, student leader at the Soup Kitchen. “I have learned so much from them, and it has changed the way I think about people who eat in soup kitchens. They are no different [from me]. It could be anyone who needs a meal. I didn’t know what a big problem hunger is in the U.S.” As Asha’s experience demonstrates, partnering school knowledge and resources with those in the community enriches learning, addresses critical needs, and prepares educated, skilled, and passionate leaders with a sense of civic responsibility. Community engagement places our students within a larger societal context. It builds capacity in our local area. It expands the breadth of mentors for our students. It challenges them to not only do good work but also to turn their passions into action that will have a lasting impact.



Resident tutors Eyad and Intesar have four kids of their own and hundreds whom they’ve “adopted.” More than 20 years ago, Eyad Shabaneh and Intesar Shukhi were finishing up their college studies—he in Canada and she in Palestine. They were worlds apart, and they decided independently it was time to marry. When Eyad returned to Palestine, their parents arranged a meeting, and within an hour, the pair decided they would wed. This year, they celebrate two decades of marriage, four children, and a 13year association with UWC-USA. Eyad and Intesar are the kind of couple who seem to share a common mind, often finishing each other’s sentences. Whether they are in the Dining Hall for a meal or attending a student event, Eyad and Intesar offer a warm, welcoming presence on campus. Indeed, most of their married life has been spent at UWC-USA. They moved to the school in 2000, while their first three children were under the ages of 5. As Muslims and Palestinians,

Montezuma couldn’t be more distant from the lives Eyad and Intesar knew. However, both agree it was an easy decision to move to New Mexico. “I fell in love with the place,” says Eyad, who teaches economics. “It was different; it was so beautiful. And with 24-hour security, you don’t have to worry about your kids.” Having young children anchored Eyad and Intesar in the school community from the start. “Eyad and the rest of his family cared about being part of the community and making connections that went far beyond academics,” Neal Call ’02 remembers. As resident tutors in Kosciusko Dorm, Eyad and Intesar became parent figures to many students. There are hundreds of alumni who watched their daughter Tasneem, now 11, join the UWC-USA community, speak her first words, and take her first steps. Jessica Mowles ’03, who spent many happy

hours in the couple’s campus home, says Intesar’s significant contribution to an important aspect of student life was food. “The first and easily best falafel I’ve ever had in my life was at Eyad and Intesar’s house,” Jessica says. While the couple still serves as official “dorm parents,” they also function as unofficial “parents” for UWC-USA’s Muslim students. In the absence of having a local mosque, Eyad and Intesar have reached out to Muslims on campus, arranging Friday prayers and providing guidance in accordance with their religion, just like they do for their own children. This isn’t always easy for the couple— UWC-USA students like to test their independence. At the same time, many students and alumni will admit they would have been lost without Eyad and Intesar’s support. Being a teacher and living on campus was not what Eyad originally intended for his life. In fact, it is a little ironic that the man who now runs UWC-USA’s International

Baccalaureate workshops for teachers once decided that if he studied math, he’d have to become a teacher. “I didn’t want to be a teacher,” he says. So he studied economics. Everything changed when Eyad was offered a teaching position at Pearson College UWC. He says he tried it for a year and found a new calling. “You will always learn from the students,” Eyad says. “You think you know everything, but you don’t. You teach them economics, and they teach you something else.” While the joy of teaching and the promise of a safe environment drew Eyad and Intesar to UWC-USA, over the years they found an even greater benefit for their children, who have met students from dozens of countries. “They get to have a different view, not only my view,” Eyad says. “Yes, we plant the seeds of religion and the culture, but they have their own ideas about the world, their own ideas about the people.” Just in time for their eldest, Ahmad, to go away to college this fall.

Eyad and his family. LEFT TO RIGHT: Tasneem, Intesar, Eyad, Labeeb, and Ali




Somewhere in southern Colorado, 11:17 a.m.: The participants stiffen as the wolves enter the enclosure. They are all sitting straight-backed and looking forward, nervously giggling as the massive canines walk carefully among them.The largest of the three wolves, a jet-black male named Zeab, stops near Shaq, a first-generation Jamaican immigrant from New York City. He noses up toward Shaq’s face.


Up close, Shaq notes that Zeab’s head is truly massive. Remembering the strict instructions of the staff, Shaq opens his eyes wide and forces his mouth into a grin. Zeab, recognizing the proper cues, begins licking Shaq’s teeth in greeting. Eventually Zeab, satisfied with Shaq’s excellent wolf manners, moves down the line. One by one, other participants are chosen for a greeting. As Zeab moves deliberately away, Shaq sags in his spot on the log, breathing a little fast, relieved. One can see his thoughts: Well, that’s certainly never happened to me before. It is midsession at the Global Leadership Forum (GLF). Shaq is part of a

tight group of international youth who are volunteering their strong backs and open minds at a wild wolf refuge in southern Colorado as part of the larger GLF program. After they meet the wolves, the 30 or so

“GLFers” will dig fire shelters, repair cyclone fences, and help distribute newly slaughtered horse meat to the hungry canines. Last May, UWC-USA’s Board of Trustees approved a strategic plan that includes a clear mandate: Increase access to the UWC experience. There are a few ways to tackle that initiative, including growing the number of students we admit. However, physical limitations (we only have so much space, after all) creates a natural threshold. As a result, the net gains will always be small. That’s where GLF comes in. GLF is a UWC-USAbased summer camp that distills the two-year UWCUSA curriculum into an intense summer experience. Traveling from places as disparate as the Marshall Islands, rural India, Hong Kong, and Washington state, GLFers spend four weeks developing the leadership and interpersonal skills necessary to return home and execute a project for social good. Their first morning in New Mexico, GLFers are pulled out of bed for a prebreakfast hike to the lookout above the UWC-USA

campus. There, with the sun rising over the junction of the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains, GLFers learn about Kurt Hahn and his great faith in the power of young people to change their surroundings. Just as they begin to get a little hungry for breakfast, a deeper hunger sets in. GLFers begin to understand that what Hahn once believed is just as true today: The world is in trouble, and it needs young people to do something about it. As the GLFers quietly file off the mountainside toward bacon and eggs, they begin to understand that they are those young people. For the next weeks, the GLF staff does everything they can to put adversity and inspiration in their charges’ paths. From the planning and feasibility testing of the projects they hope to execute upon returning home to four days of camping in the wilderness, GLFers experience a program designed to teach them essential lessons. First, that there is no change without a deep well of resilience. Second, that there is no success without an ability to work with others. Third,

GLF is a UWC-USA-based summer camp that distills the two-year UWC-USA curriculum into an intense summer experience.

that the world will tell them that they are too young, that they don’t know enough, that they are not powerful. Fourth? They are not too young. They know more than enough. They are powerful. Unlike the regular UWC program, GLF’s admissions requirements have little to do with academics. An ideal GLFer is hardworking, curious, idealistic, and open to new experiences. Indeed, the most important trait for a GLFer also happens to be the most important trait for any UWCer: That they believe the way things are today in the world is not how they must be forever and that a few ordinary people can accomplish the extraordinary. Since the GLF’s founding in 2011, GLFers have gone on to accomplish amazing things. Upon returning home, Rama Kulkarni of Hong Kong became an organizer for the international feminist movement One Billion Rising. Melissa Keckley, from the U.S., created a distribution network to deliver the extra unopened milk from her high school lunchroom to needy families in her area. If you sat down at a UWC-USA lunch table in mid-July, you would hear the same delightful irreverence for the status quo as you would during the school year. You would see the same bright light coming from young faces, unafraid of the world they intend to change. Learn more about GLF and other summer youth programs at summeryouthprograms.



While still a student at UWC-USA, Morgante Pell ’12 did something bold: He issued an Annual Fund challenge to his peers. By encouraging his classmates to pay it forward early in their lives, Morgante helped plant the seeds of lifelong giving. The genesis of his class challenge was an inspiring encounter in Montezuma. “I was on Student Council and met [board member] Sebastien de Halleux ’96, who encouraged me to get involved with giving back by thinking of my scholarship as more of a zero-interest loan,” Morgante says. It wasn’t his first brush with philanthropy. As a youngster growing up in Vermont, Morgante was exposed to his mother’s charity work and eventually began to assist her with his computer and technical skills. The philanthropic impulse took hold, and when Morgante came to UWCUSA, his belief in the value of giving was reinforced. In his second year, Morgante took the initiative and issued a promise to give $10 of his own money for each Annual Fund gift made by his classmates. Morgante’s challenge was successful: Fifty-five members of the class of 2012 gave to the Annual Fund, a very high level of giving for a class in their second year. Their achievement proved that giving early in life fosters enduring giving habits; in 2013, the class of 2012’s class participation rate for the Annual Fund was higher than more than half of all UWC-USA’s graduating classes. Morgante’s passion for giving back doesn’t end at traditional philanthropy. His life goal, he says, is to integrate UWC-USA values with technology to make positive change. “Attending UWC is a transformational experience—allowing one to develop a vision for life and build the skills to fulfill it,” he explains. Now a sophomore at New York University in Abu Dhabi, Morgante also is a budding tech entrepreneur. In addition to studies and a part-time tech job, he fills his days working on a number of startups, several of which he founded. He is most proud of, a platform that affords him the opportunity to directly combine his technical skills with UWC-USA values. Currently under development, will allow volunteers and nonprofits to increase their impact by tracking volunteer hours and organizing teams in the social media space. Morgante still finds the time to be an Annual Fund volunteer, despite his full schedule. “I realized that this experience does not come free, and I want to pay it forward to others so that they may receive scholarships and support as I did,” he says. 17




A visit to the website of artist Carla Tennenbaum ’97 ( reveals a range of work that spans everything from seemingly simple pencil holders and chairs made of kraft paper to huge, clear cushions filled with colorful pieces of foam. IMAGES FROM A PAST INSTALLATION SHOW A MASSIVE STRUCTURE WOVEN


together with old computer and lighting cables. Her commissioned works include a trophy for the Samsung Fair Play for Santander Libertadores Cup made of old CDs and a dance floor intricately pieced together out of more colorful foam. What unites all these seemingly disparate pieces is Carla’s keen ability to fabricate something delightful and unexpected out of discarded or ignored materials. Carla also looks for ways to join with others “to transform society and to create new, beautiful, sustainable, and healthy ways to thrive on this planet,” she says. For one of her recent projects, Carla created Out of the Closet, a remarkable piece featuring a river-like web of used, discarded clothing that explodes out of a closet and wends its way through the installation space, eventually transforming into spindles of colored fabric that are displayed like fireworks on the outside of the building. Carla explains that the clothing is a symbol of the family and its dynamics—and perhaps

even its secrets. As it moves outside, the clothing dissolves into threads that create new connections and narrative through a transformative process. Carla, who represented Brazil as a student and lives there now, has become a well-respected artist who emphasizes “bringing undervalued materials to the spotlight, through a fresh approach to their qualities and potentials.” She is particularly recognized for her work with ethyl vinyl acetate (EVA), a material that is known to most of us as the stuff flip-flops are made of. EVA is also not recyclable, and mounds of scraps end up in Brazilian landfills. By “upcycling” EVA, Carla says she is “developing productive chains of material transformation.” In 2009, Carla was named one of the top 100 Brazilian Handicraft Artisans by SEBRAE, the Brazilian Service of Support for Micro and Small Enterprises. But accolades don’t inspire her work. In the UWC spirit, she sees art as a way to stimulate people and help improve lives. In addition to creating her own art, Carla leads workshops that involve local people in what she calls “co-creation and collaborative design.” A paper upcycling workshop she led for the Urban Youth Project gave teenagers the chance to create collages and sculptures, small puppets, and origami boxes. In addition to introducing new skills, Carla says she is seeking ways to help artisans make something that can provide a livelihood. It might sound like an artist’s version of entrepreneurship, but that term is not one Carla is completely comfortable with. “For sure, entrepreneurship is an important quality of the human spirit—that drive and ability to achieve, to get things done, to take risks—for good or for bad,” she says. “But I think this overemphasis on entrepreneurship as the force to solve the world’s problems masks the fact that it is a core part of the same value system that created the problems in the first place—a system that values action instead of reflection, individual instead of collective, scale instead of detail, straight instead of curved, mind instead of soul.” For Carla, making work that is beautiful and significant is her driving force. However, art as a career wasn’t initially part of her plan. Carla studied history at the University of Sao Paulo. “It provided me with an analytical/narrative perspective that I think shows in some of my work,” she says. Carla, who recently became a new mother to daughter Manu, adds, “It is important to look at creativity not only as the generation of cultural products but also at how we can be creative in the ways we live our lives, in the things we desire, in our relationship to each other, and to the world around us.” In attempting to solve the problems of the world, Carla says, “I think we would really benefit most from thinking not bigger or faster but deeper.”

Accolades don’t inspire her work. In the UWC spirit, Carla sees art as a way to stimulate people and help improve lives.



Rick Rowley ’94


Metin Örsel went with his wife Arzu to Mecca for Hajj last year. “I must say it was quite a turning point in our lives,” he says. “And so was it for the other millions who gathered in the desert for only a day, stripped of all worldly things.” His son Kerim, who is a first-year student at UWC-USA, wasn’t able to join them because he would have missed too much class. CLASS OF 1990

Erick Argueta, Rafael Tarud Castaño, and Diego Lopez ’89 met up with UWC-USA Vice President for Advancement Christie Baskett for dinner at Versailles, a famous Cuban restaurant in Miami, Florida. It was a serendipitous reunion: Rafael had just flown in from Chile for a visit. Luca Pesaro has been living in London for the past 10 years during his latest stint; he works in finance as a derivatives trader. He

is married to Francesca and has two children, Asia (11), who’s apparently inherited Luca’s love of books, and Joshua (7), who Luca says has definitely not inherited his two left feet and is a talented footballer. Recently, Luca took some time off to get back to his great passion—writing— and his first English novel, a thriller called The Bear Option, should be published sometime this year. Luca promises to update us when he has an official date. The climax scene for the novel is set at UWC-USA in the “pre-restoration” Castle, and he hopes all his fellow alumni will enjoy it! CLASS OF 1992

Ajay Totlani became the head of U.S. Inflation Trading at Société Générale in July. He and his wife Pooja had their first child, a baby girl named Aanya, and the family has moved back to New York. Aanya was born in India and has been to London, Paris, and New York—all before

she was 5 months old! This year, Ajay met up with Mukul Chadda and Maryam Hussain in India and Deepak Sathe ’90 and Aisha Rahman ’91 in London. “It has been a busy year with all good things. Already looking forward to the next reunion,” he says. CLASS OF 1994

Rick Rowley is the director, cinematographer, and editor of the awardingwinning documentary Dirty Wars. The film, which was nominated for an Oscar for best documentary, won various other awards in 2013, including the cinematography award for U.S. documentary at the Sundance Film Festival. Rick is the co-founder of Big Noise Films and will be joining UWC-USA for the Annual Conference in February. CLASS OF 1995

Andrej Salner has had an intense year at work. He has been a partner at the Slovak Governance Institute for seven years and recently published his research about integrating


Metin Örsel ’88 and wife Arzu at Mount Arafat

Andrej Salner ’95, Takeomi Yamamoto ’96, and their sons in Tokyo

marginalized communities in Slovakia. However, the highlight of his year was the birth of his daughter Elia in July. She shares a birthday with the new British prince! Additionally, in November he and his son Leon went to Tokyo where Andrej met up with Takeomi Yamamoto ’96. CLASS OF 1997

Arianne Zwartjes’ essay “The Suturing of Wounds or Words,” which originally appeared in Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts, was named one of the Notable Essays of 2013 in the introduction of The Best American Essays of 2013, edited by Cheryl Strayed. The essay won Gulf Coast’s award for fiction in 2011. Tracy Andrews spent 10 days on the John Muir Trail in the Sierra Nevada in August. Along with two other women from Portland, Oregon, she hiked 125 miles with roughly 25,000 feet of elevation gain over that time. “It was amazing!” she says. On the last day of the hike, they summited Mount Whitney while thunderclouds loomed.

Tracy Andrews ’97

After the expedition, Tracy took a road trip through California and had a lovely visit with Anneke Swinehart ’91 and her husband Sean Kelly in San Francisco. In September, Tracy began working as a teaching assistant for taiji (tai chi) classes at the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine, and in October, she started an acupuncture and herbal medicine practice. Tracy sees patients in northeast Portland, providing holistic health care with acupuncture, herbal medicine, dietary and nutritional counseling, and craniosacral and visceral therapy. CLASS OF 1999

Shahan Mufti’s first book, The Faithful Scribe: A Story of Islam, Pakistan, Family and War, is about the cultural and religious roots of modern Pakistan. It was published in September by Other Press and has received great media attention, including an interview on the radio show All Things Considered on NPR. He lives with his

LEFT TO RIGHT: Diego Lopez

’89, Rafael Tarud Castaño ’90, and Erick Argueta ’90 in Miami

Alessandra Valconi ’05, left, and Natalie Bernal Restrepo ’05 in Bogota, Colombia

wife in Richmond, Virginia, where he is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Richmond. Shahan will talk about his book and his career with UWC-USA students as part of Alumni:Connect in February. CLASS OF 2003

Sivan Eldar is a composer of chamber and electroacoustic works as well as sound installations. She serves on the composition faculty of the John Adams Young Composers Program and theory faculty of the University of California, Berkeley, department of music. Her new work, A Thousand Tongues, is her first for an American professional orchestra. Sivan says it was influenced by her time in Prague. “I have spent the past year living in Prague, collaborating with local musicians, dancers, and visual artists. The work we created together allowed me to see Prague—its streets, its language, its heroes— through their colorful eyes. To discover secret places,

stories, and sounds. This composition is dedicated to them,” she says. CLASS OF 2004

Sahra-Josephine Hjorth earned a doctorate in the field of migration and integration, joined the Danish National Committee, and founded Hjorth Media and Strategic Consulting—all in the past year. Her international consulting company focuses on capacity building and sustainable growth. CLASS OF 2005

Prashant Kansakar is working as a project manager for a joint venture between Stryker Sustainability Solutions and the University of Florida. He helps manage four different engineering teams that are working toward refurbishing an ultrasonic medical device. The project is part of the University of Florida engineering program in which multidisciplinary student engineering teams design

products for commercial companies. “Thanks to UWC, I feel well-equipped to work together with diverse engineers from different disciplines,” he says. While at UWC, Prashant saw his first tango dance as part of a cultural show. Today, he is a tango enthusiast and serves as the president of the Argentine Tango Club. Alessandra Valconi works for the Cabinet for the Coordination of Social Politics of the Vice Presidency of the Dominican Republic. She recently graduated from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Massachusetts with a master’s degree in law and diplomacy and a certificate in human security. Her areas of focus were humanitarian affairs and international development, particularly in the context of urban spaces. Earlier this year, she visited her good friend Natalia Bernal Restrepo in Natalia’s hometown of Bogota, Colombia. 21


“Thanks to UWC, I feel well-equipped to work together with diverse engineers from different disciplines.” —PRASHANT KANSAKAR ’05 CLASS OF 2006

Kevin Jackson got married on Aug. 31, 2013, in Jersey City, across from the New York City skyline. He met his wife Aneliya Ignatova at work in January 2011; they still work together at Opera Solutions in New York and sit at adjacent desks. They spent their honeymoon in Thailand.

Kevin Jackson ’06 and his wife Aneliya


Mari Kempes began working in film around New Mexico and Los Angeles after graduating from Colorado College. She lives with a friend in Santa Fe, New Mexico, along with two “in-between-

sized” dachshunds known as “in-betweener-weiners.” Last fall, she was an art department coordinator on the recently released film Sweetwater. Over the last year, Mari has worked in video, theater, and postproduction sound, splitting her time between producing, consulting, technical directing, and editing. Companies she has worked for include Ignite Good, Lightningwood Pictures, Theater Grottesco, and Wise Fool New Mexico. One of her recent gigs was serving as the accounting clerk on Transcendence, a new film starring Johnny Depp and Morgan Freeman. Currently, she is on location in Farmington, New Mexico, where she’s working on a small film called The Reach starring Michael Douglas and Jeremy Irvine. “I am looking forward to some free time to hopefully come up and catch a UWCUSA culture show,” she says. CLASS OF 2009

Marta Lucía Kupfer has been working as a junior admissions counselor

at Jacobs University in Bremen, Germany, and says she is very happy. She reads applications, but her main task is recruiting— which means lots of travel. When on the road, she visits schools (including UWCs), attends college fairs, and talks to students and parents about Jacobs. “Jacobs really is the closest thing I’ve encountered to a UWC university experience, which is probably why we have so many UWCers and international students here,” Marta says. Her work is extremely fast-paced: “It’s exhilarating and exhausting and I am constantly on my toes. I’ve always wanted to do a master’s degree, but I am glad I chose to get some work experience first.” Marta adds, “It’s quite rewarding, both in the personal and the work sphere, to see how my presence can change the habits and behavior of the people around me. I hope that my work at Jacobs will give me more opportunities to keep doing this on a larger scale.” Federico Sucre graduated magna cum laude from

Amherst College in Massachusetts in May 2013, completing a triple major in political science, French, and Latin American studies. As a result of his thesis research, he was invited to give a lecture on “Contemporary Venezuelan Poetry and Politics” at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Federico is working as an admission fellow in the Admission Office at Amherst. As a college representative, he has visited high schools in New Mexico, Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Texas. He will also visit high schools in Latin America in the spring. Last September, his job took him to UWC-USA, where he met many bright students and was able to reunite with teachers and staff, including Ravi Parashar, Mike Hatlee, Eyad Shabaneh, Tim Smith, and Gary Angles. In addition to his job in admissions, Federico is working as an assistant coach for the Amherst men’s soccer team, which was No. 2 in the country among all Division III colleges. He also is representing the class of 2009 as a reunion committee member.

LEFT: Marta Lucía

Kupfer ’09 RIGHT: Economics teacher Ravi Parashar and Federico Sucre ’09 22

Andrew Nalani ’12



Jen Kim spent the summer as a research associate at Fundación Progreso in Bolivia, where she delved into the water distribution system in the city of Cochabamba on behalf of an impact investment company. Jen went to Bolivia after spending a semester studying at the University of Cantabria in Spain. Outside of work, she loves playing Ultimate Frisbee and is on the leadership committee of a new student activist group called Students for Prison Education and Reform at Princeton University.

Adriana di Graziano is a sophomore at the University of Florida. She has a variety of responsibilities, including serving as a Gator Global Educator. As the assistant director for the program, Adriana says her job is to prepare class activities (e.g., fun games, trivia, and presentations) related to the topic the kids are studying at a local middle school in Gainesville. She also works for the university’s student chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), a professional organization that aims to provide practitioners and students of PR with access to an extensive network, internships, job opportunities, and news about the field. Adriana recently attended the PRSSA National Conference in Philadelphia, and she is part of the communications committee and the online strategy committee, where she is looking into redesigning the content of the website and writes articles for the newsletter and the blog.

Rena Sapon-White spent several months working in Poland through a Senior Fellowship Grant from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, where she is studying film. She directed a feature documentary about Jewish identity in Poland today and traveled around the country conducting interviews and filming various Jewish events and sites. The grant has allowed her to forgo classes and focus on the documentary, which will serve as her thesis. She will graduate as a senior fellow in film and history. Rena also is involved with her campus slam poetry team, loves travel and movies, and wants everyone to know she is available for hire next year!

Andrew Nalani has been involved with the Tucker Foundation since he started at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. In his first term, he presented about his intercultural relations to middle and high school students. “This was a perfect opportunity for me to share about

Uganda and also my UWC experience,” he says. In his second term, Andrew was part of the Tucker Leaders in Community, a program that introduces select firstyear students to community service and ethical leadership. “My interests, inspired by my work with CEC (Constructive Engagement of Conflict) and the homeless shelter at UWC-USA, revolve around an intersection of education, self-awareness, and community,” Andrew says. “My Dartmouth education is helping me explore the complex questions inherent in these three areas even as I ask: ‘What is my place in this?’” In addition to working as a Tucker Foundation intern, Andrew is involved with a world percussion ensemble and serves as an usher at the Hopkins Center for the Arts. In his

Julia Drahoss ’13

first year at Dartmouth, he received the William S. Churchill Freshman Prize for outstanding academic achievement and his qualities of fairness, respect for duty, and citizenship. CLASS OF 2013

Julia Drahoss is studying for her bachelor’s degree in business economics at Westminster Business School in London. She is vice chair of the University Economics Society and is planning a semester abroad in Moscow. She studied Russian before coming to UWC-USA and is currently taking more Russian—she plans to learn more about Russian culture and become fluent in the language. During her free time, Julia is learning to play the guitar, which she attributes to “living in London and being exposed to David Bowie, Rolling Stones, etc.”

JOIN US IN NEW MEXICO The Montezuma Reunion for the classes of 1984, 1985, 1994, 1995, and 2009 is July 11 - July 14, 2014. Not your year? Come anyway—all alumni are welcome! For details and to register, go to Questions? Contact Alumni Relations Manager Celisse Ruiz at 23



And if the snow buries my ... My neighborhood And if my parents are crying, Then I’ll dig a tunnel from my window to yours –Neighborhood No. 1 (Tunnels), The Arcade Fire At the very top of the Montezuma Castle, you’ll see a lightning rod, whose purpose is to conduct celestial blasts of electricity safely away from the students and faculty who work, study, eat, sleep, cry, and laugh there. The rod ends deep within the bowels of this historic structure, in a series of passageways, crawl spaces, and storage rooms generally referred to as “the tunnels.” The tunnels beneath the Castle are the subject of much campus lore. One alumna, who asked to remain anonymous, recalls that she and her classmates would sneak through a tunnel leading to the former clinic to stock up on granola bars and condoms. En route, they had to brave a subterranean grave left by the crew of the 1978 horror movie The Evil, which was filmed on campus. Perhaps no one knows the tunnels as well as Dave Bennett, Montezuma native 24

and former director of maintenance, who retired in 2007. “As a kid, yeah, I used to go crawling through those things,” he says. Dave’s tenure at UWCUSA predates the school: He worked as a guard and caretaker of the Castle, and when Armand Hammer bought the land, Dave was part of the package—making him the school’s first official employee. Once, Dave happened upon a bootleg distillery that students had established in the tunnels. “It was a very crude setup, but it worked,” he says.

Predating Breaking Bad by some decades, the students had “borrowed” lab equipment from a storage area in what is now the kitchen. Historically, the tunnels served a less exciting function, providing a conduit for pipes bringing steam from the coalpowered boilers in the now-defunct power plant that is across from the campus on state Route 65. Today, the tunnels continue to house pipes for heat, water, and power. During a recent lunch period, students filled the Castle lobby, chatting and lounging on the plush leather chairs, unaware that one of their teachers was hearing their muffled footsteps and conversations as he poked around in the space beneath their feet. Many of the original tunnels have been excavated, filled, or otherwise rendered unsuitable for shenanigans. Yet students still manage to find their way down below. “One of the things that sort of floats around the student body is a series of maps— that I may or may not have had—of the tunnels under the Castle,” says Johannes Fischer ’13. “Theoretically, if you spent enough time and had enough friends

and bribed enough people with pizza from the campus store, you could build up a collection where you could really have a solid idea of where the tunnels were and how to get in.” Dave and Johannes are quick to downplay the allure of the tunnels, describing them as little more than dusty, difficult-to-navigate spaces (which this writer can attest to). “What’s much more interesting about the tunnels is the idea of them being there,” says Johannes, who is working as an intern in the Nashville office of Tennessee Rep. Jim Cooper. “Talking about them, rumors going around about them, and thinking about discovering them and going through them is much more fun than actually going there,” he says. “In reality, they are sort of a disappointment, which is why I may, or may not, have kept those maps to myself. It sort of ruins it, almost like pulling back the curtain on the Wizard of Oz.” And so the tunnels loom large in tall tales despite their largely functional, unimpressive reality. But as the students in my Language A: Literature classes can tell you, appearance and reality don’t always mesh.

“One of the things that sort of floats around the student body is a series of maps—that I may or may not have had—of the tunnels under the Castle.” —JOHANNES FISCHER ’13


Through a Microscope

How many speckled atoms are tingling To inflate a hot-air balloon? Which secret flare is stirring Their invisible dance? How many indiscernible raindrops Are falling to make the river flood? Such a trifle thing we are, Who like the leaves that sprout and wither Soon will be swallowed by the earth. Are we to melt into an insipid gray, Or after this long disconsolate deluge Will we picture rainbows around us? When will we be compositions of different colors, All of us standing on one same equal rank? With the time that water takes To wear down a rock. —SIMONE SPERA ’14, ITALY



P.O. Box 248 Montezuma, NM 87731-0248 USA



have built a life around common values. They share a deep love of nature; their homes in Las Vegas, New Mexico, and Bisbee, Arizona are surrounded by breathtaking landscape. And they share a passion for education: Both believe that education is the key to making the world a better place. When it came time to plan their estate, Roz and John knew exactly what they wanted: All their assets will be given to UWC-USA. “We worked hard and sacrificed for what we have,” Roz says. “We want to make sure our assets are used in a positive way. Our gift is our legacy.” To find out how you can support UWC-USA with a planned gift, please contact Vice President for Advancement Christie Baskett at (505) 454-4214 or

Kaleidoscope, Vol. 45  
Kaleidoscope, Vol. 45  

This issue of Kaleidoscope explores leadership, creativity, the language of service, and more. Read about a student's Grand Canyon adventure...