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Meet the University and Careers Advising team

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Meet the University and Careers Advising team

The University Advising Centre (UAC) teams work collaboratively across the two Singapore campuses to provide a student-centred career and university advising programme. They focus on providing information, guidance and advocacy to assist students to find “good fit” university options where they will be appropriately challenged, join a community suited to them and in turn be able to thrive both academically and emotionally.

Our University Advisors include former university admissions officers, who provide a unique insight into the university side of the process, and counsellors from a teaching background, who bring a firsthand understanding of the academic environment at our school. This balance of internal and external expertise is a key reason that our advisors are able to provide such personalised and successful support. We are proud to introduce the team of professionals who support our students as they transition to the next stage in their lives.

Meet the team who bring such a strong mix of skills and passion for helping young people to their roles the College:

Johanna Fishbein, Head of the UWCSEA University and Career Advising team on Dover Campus

Johanna Fishbein
Head of University Advising, Dover Campus

Johanna joined UWCSEA in 2014 from the International School of Brussels where she was the Head of College and Careers Counseling. Previously at Barnard College she was Director of Pre-College Programs and Coordinator of International Recruitment. She began teaching in NYC public schools and is the current Past President of the International Association for College Admission Counseling (International ACAC).

She describes the value of UWCSEA's approach to university advising as such, "University advising requires a tremendous amount of up to date individual knowledge (or the knowledge of who to ask to find an answer). The university advising and admissions communities are highly collaborative, and a vital tool to foster this is our membership and participation as presenters and delegates in professional association events."

Pamela Kelly Wetzell, Head of the UWCSEA University and Career Advising team on East Campus

Pamela Kelly Wetzell
Head of University Advising, East Campus

Pamela joined Dover in 2010 and moved to East in 2012 to build the UAC in anticipation of the first graduating class in 2014. Pamela practiced law in the US before moving to Asia over 20 years ago, founding a small international school in Phuket before moving to UWCSEA. She is also a mentor for IACAC’s scholar mentor programme.

One of the more recently introduced online platforms that are used to support students is Maia Learning, which Pamela describes as "a powerful university and career information and application management platform. Students access it in PSE time from Grade 10 to explore interests, strengths and potential careers, and it allows them to research and create a list of potential universities. The UAC use it to send transcripts, references and supporting documents to many universities, and to collate and analyse past acceptance data in order to best advise students."

Claire Knowles, a member of the UWCSEA University and Career Advising team based on Dover Campus

Claire Knowles
University Advisor, Dover Campus

Claire Knowles joined the university advising team in 2017. Previously she was Deputy Head of Senior school at Dulwich College Shanghai, after spending several years as Head of Humanities/Geography teacher at Yokohama International school. Before heading overseas she worked in two schools in the UK.

Of her role, Claire says, "I love the proverb It takes a village to raise a child. Because in my experience it takes the entire UWCSEA community to help support a student in their post UWCSEA pathway, with mentors, teachers, alumni, parents and the student themselves involved in the process. The university advising journey can be daunting not only for students but also their parents, especially when it is the first time through the process. Our parental workshops, drop-in coffee-morning sessions and book clubs provides a supportive environment and a chance to demystify, build confidence and understanding of the process, so that parents can effectively help support their child in making informed choices for their future."

Greer Bevel, a member of the UWCSEA University and Career Advising team based on Dover Campus

Greer Bevel
University Advisor, Dover Campus

Greer joined the University Advising team in 2017. In his own academic career, he studied in the United States at Whitman College, where he earned a degree in History, and has since earned a Master of Education from the University of Washington and a Certificate in College Counseling from UCLA.

He is the former Head of College Counseling and IB History/Theory of Knowledge Teacher at the International School of Latvia and has also worked in the United States, Poland, and China. At UWCSEA Dover, he teaches Theory of Knowledge and Global Perspectives. Greer is accompanied by his wife, Sarah (a High School English Teacher at Dover) their daughter, Isabel (a Class of 2019 UWCSEA alumnus) and their two lovable dogs: Lucy and Pixel. In his view, “Planning for your post-UWCSEA life should not be mysterious or stressful. Our UAC advisors expertly guide students and families throughout this exciting process in a balanced and student-centered manner.”

Linda De Flavis, a member of the UWCSEA University and Career Advising team based on Dover Campus

Linda De Flavis
University Advisor, Dover Campus

Linda joined UWCSEA in 1998 as an English and TOK teacher, moving into University Advising in 2003. Previously she had taught literature at universities in the US and at high schools in Hong Kong and the UK.

Linda describes one of the highlights in her role being the long term relationships that can develop, "It’s fascinating to see how our students’ pathways develop once they have left UWCSEA and moved onto the next exciting chapter of their lives. We tap into alumni stories to guide our current students. Alumni provide role models that they can easily connect with, enabling them to imagine themselves in a range of academic or career settings, as well as answering specific questions on courses or institutions. Our alumni have also helped us to identify specific challenges TCKs face in their transition to university and address them through our PSE programming. They are a great resource and source of inspiration!"

Jacqueline Villa Evanko, a member of the UWCSEA University and Career Advising team based on Dover Campus

Jacqueline Villa Evanko
University Advisor, Dover Campus

Jacquie joined the UAC team in 2016 after spending nearly a decade working in undergraduate international admissions in the Boston area at Boston University and Brandeis.

"As I think about university advising, I think about 'fit.' Students sometimes miss the opportunity to focus their efforts on finding the school that best ‘fits’ them, and instead focus on finding ways to ‘reach’ a school." she says, "To get to these dream schools, families may consider hiring outside help. However, your UWCSEA advisor has the context of the UWC experience, the insight from decades of working with our student outcomes, a deep understanding of the university admissions process, and relationships with peers and universities around the world."

Shruti Tewari, a member of the UWCSEA University and Career Advising team based on Dover Campus

Shruti Tewari
University Advisor, Dover Campus

Shruti returned to UWCSEA and joined Dover UAC in 2018, having previously been a founding member of the UWCSEA East UAC team in 2012. Shruti has also worked in Jakarta as a College Counsellor and IBDP English teacher. She spent three years as the Director of College Guidance at UWC Mahindra and began her career as an Upper School English teacher in New Jersey, USA.

For Shruti, one of the strenagths of UWCSEA's approach is that, "the UAC puts a great deal of effort into coordinating a wide-ranging support programme for students and families. Aside from hosting 300+ university visitors each year, both campuses offer a number of events to help students and families make informed choices, including support for specialised programmes eg. Art, Engineering, Law, Liberal Arts, Medicine, Music and a series of University Advisor-run workshop sessions to guide students in writing a UK Style Personal Statement and a US Style essay for applications."

Robbie Jefferiss, a member of the UWCSEA University and Career Advising team based on East Campus

Robbie Jefferiss
University Advisor, East Campus

Robbie Jefferiss joined the UAC team in 2014 after working at several schools internationally and in the US as a school counsellor and in admissions at a UK university.

Of the value of their work connecting individuals to best fit insitutions, he says, "One part of the job that I truly enjoy is going to visit university campuses all over the world. When visiting so many campuses, it is remarkable to see that they each have their own ‘feel’ or ‘culture’. When walking around, the names and faces of my students appear in my mind and I think “That student would be a great fit here!” Meanwhile, these visits also allow us to build relationships with the university admissions officers and learn about the trends they are seeing or any new institutional priorities they may have in terms of the types or students they are looking to admit."

Joan Liu, a member of the UWCSEA University and Career Advising team based on East Campus

Joan Liu
University Advisor, East Campus

Joan joined UWCSEA East UAC team in 2013, after working in Turkey, England and the US. Joan was inaugural Chair of Inclusion, Access, and Success at International Association of College Admission Counseling (IACAC).

Joan understands the reality of the cost of post-secondary education, "Thinking about how to afford the cost of an education can be a daunting task, but UAC advisors are well-versed in guiding students and families towards resources that can help them make comparisons among options. The UAC team provides additional support to students and families for whom cost is a barrier to accessing higher education."

Patrick Desbarats, a member of the UWCSEA University and Career Advising team based on East Campus

Patrick Desbarats
University Advisor, East Campus

Pat joined UWCSEA in 2017 after working as the Head of Counseling and College Placement at the American School of Doha in Qatar. Prior to this, he had been a guidance counselor in various public schools in the Toronto area in Canada. Pat has also taught History, Physical Education and Braille. 

"I think that for me the best part of being a university advisor is introducing a school that a student and their parents might not have ever heard of into the college admission process. Through their research, they discover what a wonderful learning institution the school is and the opportunities offered by attending that university," says Pat, "The best part is when the student comes back to visit UWCSEA during one of their breaks and talks to me about how much they love the school they attend."

Niki Dinsdale, a member of the UWCSEA University and Career Advising team based on East Campus

Niki Dinsdale
University Advisor, East Campus

Niki joined the UAC team in 2017 and has also worked in the UK, been Head of Advising at UWCSEA Dover and at her school in Shanghai, China. Niki has also taught High School English and Global Perspectives.

The highlight for Niki is, "Working with young people and their families and watching as they transform as we move through the advising process. The idea of creating a new home, studying at university, choosing a country in which to start their adult life is exciting but is very abstract at the beginning of the process. Eventually, I see my students turn into adults that are consciously considering who they would like to be and the path they want to carve out in the world. It’s a privileged position to be in. This starts in Grades 9 and 10 as we begin to introduce the concept of students thinking about themselves in a more objective way through personal statement writing and careers workshops and eventually this turns into increasingly individualised meetings and discussions (as many as we all need!) in order to ensure everyone feels that their next steps are well informed and rewarding."


17 Apr 2019
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