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Davis UWC Scholars enrich Skidmore with global perspectives

January 1, 2020
by Sindi Mafico ’19

As a partner institution of the Davis United World College Scholars Program, Skidmore College annually enrolls scholars from throughout the world in support of the UWC philosophy that education can be a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future. 

This academic year, Skidmore enrolled its largest class of Davis UWC Scholars to date, with 16 joining the Class of 2023. 

Founded by Shelby Davis and Phil Geier, the program is the largest privately funded international scholarship program in the world for undergraduates and awards scholarships to students who enroll in partner colleges or universities, such as Skidmore. 

As a Davis UWC Scholar, I was given the opportunity to learn and grow among fellow UWC students at Skidmore after attending the only United World College in Africa for six years during my middle school and high school years. 

Chloe Jaleel, academic counselor and coordinator of international student and scholar services, says the growth of UWC student enrollment at the College is a sign that Skidmore is a UWC super school.” 

“Davis UWC Scholars often think outside the box, which draws them to Skidmore because of its emphasis on embracing creative thought, said Jaleel. “Not only that, but Skidmore provides opportunities for students to become agents of change around the world with our robust study abroad program, summer funded internship awards and SEE-Beyond Awards.” 

The College's connection to the program also benefits the broader Skidmore community.

“As a partner, we are also able to offer every Skidmore student the annual opportunity to win the $10,000 Davis Projects for Peace prize," Jaleel added. "It’s a one-of-a-kind opportunity for a student to design a peace-related project that can be implemented anywhere in the world." 

Skidmore College President Philip A. Glotzbach, left, Marie Glotzbach, second from left, and students pose for a group photograph in 2014 with Shelby Davis, second from right, and Phil Geier, right, founders of the Davis United World College Scholars Program. Skidmore became a partner institution under President Glotzbach's leadership, and Skidmore awarded both Davis and Geier honorary doctor of humane letters degrees in 2014.

Skidmore College President Philip A. Glotzbach, left, Marie Glotzbach, second from left, and students gather in 2014 with Shelby Davis, second from right, and Phil Geier, right, founders of the Davis United World College Scholars Program. Skidmore became a partner institution under President Glotzbach's leadership, and Davis and Geier received honorary doctor of humane letters degrees from Skidmore in 2014.

Joining the Davis UWC Scholars Program allowed me to become part of an interconnected family of scholars whose shared intercultural competence and compassion spurs them to take on global initiatives both individually and collectively. 

I am constantly inspired by my UWC peers who have embraced the challenge of addressing the most pressing global issues while pursuing their undergraduate degrees at Skidmore College.  

In her junior year at Skidmore, Jessica Ndrianasy ’20, from Madagascar, won first place in the 2019 Kenneth A. Freirich Business Plan Competition for developing a Madagascar agribusiness that provides top-quality organic import and export produce and prioritizes the hiring of unemployed women.

In her first year, Geraldine Santoso ’22, from Indonesia, won a $10,000 Davis Projects for Peace award and spearheaded a project to provide clean water and safe sanitation solutions to rural Indonesian communities. By helping to build jet-pump wells and filtration systems, Santoso redefined the status quo in communities that had become accustomed to having a water shortage. 

With such drive and motivation, it’s no wonder Skidmore puts an emphasis on enrolling UWC students.  

“The spirit of the UWC movement is consistent with our mission as an institution,” said Darren Drabek, associate director of Admissions at Skidmore. “These students are vetted from across the world through the application process the UWCs use. When we recruit them to Skidmore, we already know they will make great additions to the Skidmore community.” 

There are countless examples of my UWC peers working to spread the values we learned in different parts of the globe, and these examples leave me encouraged in a world filled with social, economic and environmental imbalances. They remind me that there is a new generation of global citizens who are firmly rooted in the ideals of compassion and equality and will be leaders of the future.


Sindi Mafico ’19, external relations assistant in Skidmore’s Office of Communications and Marketing, is from Harare, Zimbabwe. She studied sociology, international affairs and media studies at Skidmore with the support of the Davis United World College Scholars Program.

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