Students bring world of experience to campus
By Karin Dienst
Princeton NJ -- The Davis UWC scholars currently at Princeton (see story on page 1 and below) studied at nine of the 10 United World Colleges in Wales, Singapore, Canada, Swaziland, Italy, the United States (New Mexico), Hong Kong, Norway and India. (The 10th college is in Venezuela.) Here is a brief introduction to five of these students:
• Scott Moore, who is from Louisville, Ky., spent two years at Li Po Chun UWC of Hong Kong before coming to Princeton as a member of the class of 2008. The experience underscored his desire to focus on global issues and to participate in community service while at Princeton. This past summer he said he ''visited a fellow UWC student in rural Nepal, and the difficulties and promise of village life inspires me to go back and help build the school that was bombed by Maoist guerrillas.''
Moore's academic interests are wide ranging and include public policy, international affairs, creative writing, languages and history. Outside of the classroom, he would like to get involved in an a cappella group, the Nassau Literary Journal, Ultimate Frisbee, The Daily Princetonian and ''meeting more incredible Princeton people.''
• Coming from Ramallah, Palestine, Saed Shonnar, a member of the class of 2008, attended the Armand Hammer United World College of the American West (UWC-USA) in Montezuma, N.M. ''It was a great place to share experiences and opinions,'' he said. ''Many bridges were built between very different cultures and races. Indians and Pakistanis became best friends, and Palestinians and Israelis had nice discussions during meals.''
Shonnar knows that his peers at Princeton, like his peers in Montezuma, will be curious to hear his views about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. ''They ask about current news and try to make sure what they get through the media is true,'' he said. ''They always ask why both sides are fighting and what other options are available.''
Discussions like these will be only a part of Shonnar's Princeton experience. He expects to work toward a B.S.E. degree before pursuing a career in biotechnology and genetic engineering. He also plans to join the soccer club, student government and the Muslim Students Association.
• Like many other Davis UWC scholars, Rina Ayob, who is from Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, and who attended UWC-USA, said she is ''honored'' to be helped so much by the Davis family. Together with her feeling of gratitude for the opportunity she has been given, she stresses a ''responsibility to help others in turn.''
A freshman, Ayob is busy settling in at the University and scouting out student groups and community service activities. She is interested in taking religion, literature and psychology classes.
Ayob is well aware of the challenges incoming students, especially students from other countries, face in making the transition to a new environment. ''Being at a UWC has given me a certain awareness and confidence in bridging the gap,'' she said. ''I'm also trying to help some other international students feel comfortable.''
• Junior Bettina Miguez is majoring in environmental engineering with the aim of working in sustainable development in Latin America after she graduates. She also is earning a certificate in Latin American studies. ''There is a lot of work to be done regarding the supply of potable water and wastewater treatment in rural areas in Latin America,'' she wrote from the University of Melbourne, Australia, where she is spending the fall semester. ''Yet it is not enough just to be proficient at the technical level, which is why I also attend lectures on sociology, economics and politics.''
Miguez, who comes from Salto, Uruguay, was a student at UWC-USA. She said the experience broadened her interests, which she continues to expand at Princeton. She volunteers with the English as a Second Language program at Community House, helped found the Latin American Studies Students Organization and is active with the Engineers Without Borders chapter at Princeton. She also has been involved with the student service group SPARKS and New Jersey Waterwatch.
• Senior Dorian Needham, who comes from Victoria, British Columbia, and who attended the UWC of the Atlantic in Wales, said being a Davis UWC scholar has greatly impacted his time at Princeton. ''First off, it means that I can afford to attend Princeton,'' he said. ''Also, it helps to remind me that I belong to a community of UWC alumni who interest themselves in each other and share a common concern for international affairs. Whether it's playing the devil's advocate in an argument about foreign policy or encouraging my friends to study abroad, I've tried to bring the UWC ideals into my life and relationships at Princeton.''
Needham spent the summer researching his thesis in Wales and Quebec. A Woodrow Wilson School major who is also pursuing certificates in French and linguistics, his thesis compares the linguistic protection policies in Wales and Quebec of Welsh and French, respectively, within an English-dominated federal structure.
Outside the classroom, Needham is the music director of Shere Khan, a co-ed a cappella group, which he led in song at a New York Mets game last year. Needham also is a peer adviser and an undergraduate fellow at Forbes College and has participated in the Sustained Dialogue program. For a semester during sophomore year, he studied at Sciences Po in Paris, and now serves as a study abroad peer adviser. Needham also plays club hockey and lacrosse.