Hi there!

I’m Liesl Ulrich-Verderber, EWC’s COO, and the Founder of EWCed!

After graduating from Harvard University with a degree in architectural design and economics, I started working with Ever Widening Circles as our COO, and took up our mission to expand into education with EWCed.

While I still spend a lot of time keeping the show running her on Ever Widening Circles, I am now collaborating with educators on EWCed. Over at EWCed, we curate content from Ever Widening Circles for educators to use in the classroom. Our mission at EWCed is to inspire students’ curiosity, connect them to the wider world, and give them a sense of what’s possible. We want to ignite possibility in our education systems with the knowledge that it is still an amazing world.

I have had a life-long passion for education. After serving on the school board as a high schooler, I have been an advocate for customized learning plans, and have seen some of the possibilities for change that are available in our education systems. At Harvard, I designed and taught leadership curriculum and classes to middle and high school students through the Leadership Institute at Harvard College. As we designed EWCed, these experiences teaching a diverse range of students with a video and discussion-based approach to learning have been a major source of inspiration.

Image: Liesl as a kid playing teacher wearing glasses

As a child, I loved to “teach” classes on the various things I’d learned watching PBS documentaries. As a teacher, I would always wear my cat eye glasses and have my grandfather’s extendable pointer in hand.

When I’m not running around talking to educators and students (which is my favorite part of my job) I’m back in the Ever Widening Circles office pulling whatever hat we need for me that day off the rack and tackling problems from marketing to microwave malfunctions.

I have been a professional photographer since the age of 14, and have had a lifelong passion for design. With my photography skills, I built Phrog Eye Photography, a place that now holds my portfolio of work, including my work in photography, design, and public speaking.

Most of my undergraduate design training at Harvard University was through the Harvard Graduate School of Design. There, I honed my design skills and representation techniques, always with a flair for design that filled the mantra “Is it novel? Is it useful?” I’d like to think that I have taken a bit of that mindset with me here at EWC, and EWCed.

In my free time, I am an aspiring—but more often floundering—outdoor enthusiast, a camera-toting traveler, and a global story seeker.

-Liesl

“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.”-Victor Borge

Liesl can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV

Author's Articles

10 minutes

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What if We Turned Plastic Waste into a Valuable Currency?

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14 minutes

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At the heart of the music we love is a soul besides that of the musician’s. A guitar is more than just a guitar — it’s made from generations of love and dedication to a craft. Meet the skilled hands behind some of the world’s most beautiful music!

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27 minutes

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Here’s what is possible when we focus on what we have in common instead of how we differ. Take a look at the experience of the USA Olympic Rafting team when they learned the ropes of a Hawaiian tradition and you’ll see, it’s nothing short of magic.  

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9 minutes

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Conservation Success! How Out of the Box Thinking Saved an Adorable Fox

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Now here’s something to celebrate! A novel model for bringing back a thriving population of an endangered species on our planet! The secret? Take a look at how a new way of thinking saved an adorable species of fox!

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10 minutes

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What Is an Algorithm? And Can We Use Them to Change the World in a Good Way?

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Algorithms are a lot less complicated than you may think! And, with a little understanding, here’s how we can start to reshape the way we use them to create a better future for everyone.

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9 minutes

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30 minutes

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12 minutes

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For decades, stained glass craftsman Norbert Sattler has invited artists into his studio to create magnificent works of art. Together, they create pieces that would be impossible without each other’s expertise. Here are some lessons in love and artistry that he’s learned along the way!

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8 minutes

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An Amazing Journey to the 2020 Olympics: An Underdog Story

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Why do we love a good underdog story? Maybe it says a little bit about the way we connect with others through shared determination and grit. If you love to root for the underdog, prepare to meet the Zambian National handball team; a truly inspiring underdog on a journey to the 2020 Olympics.

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12 minutes

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What’s Our Waste Worth? A Fresh Look a the Value of Our World’s Plastic Waste

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25 minutes

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Empathy is the Renewable Resource We Can Tap Into Now

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What if empathy was at the heart of the solution to changing the divisiveness that feels so dominant now? It turns out empathy isn’t a set trait, it’s something we can learn to develop, and it’s super easy to start! Here’s how you can easily start making a positive change!

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16 minutes

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The Simple Secrets to Bring More Joy to Life!

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Do you want to experience more joy? It’s actually pretty easy to make that happen! Joy is a deeply ingrained part of who we are, and there are small actions we can all take to surround ourselves with more of it. Take a look! 

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12 minutes

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How to Sail Around the World Without GPS or Technology — Just Ancient Knowledge!

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How in the world did ancient mariners navigate the vast oceans before GPS or technology? These techniques were almost a lost art. That is, until 2013, when Hōkūleʻa set sail to travel around the globe. Take a look at this remarkable ship’s voyage and how her crew is preserving the Polynesian tradition of open ocean navigation.

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15 minutes

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How Spain’s Human Towers Define Community

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6 minutes

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What tastes like home to you? When we’re far from home, food can bring us comfort and make us feel a little less homesick. The three generations of women at Mole Poblano Asuncion are bringing the flavors of Mexico to those who miss it most in New York City. Here’s their remarkable story!

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11 minutes

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Here’s How Seizure Detecting Dogs are Changing People’s Lives

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Can dogs really be life-savers? Meet the dogs that are helping their owners detect seizures up to 45 minutes before they occur! It’s a fascinating story. These pups are making life safer and easier for people who suffer from seizures.

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16 minutes

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Lessons on Being Prepared from One of the World’s Best Extreme Athletes

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Starting a new job, a new chapter in life, or maybe just doing something you’ve always wanted to do? Extreme athletes may seem like unlikely sources of inspiration, but their skill at how to avoid panic can be a great example of what we can do in our own lives!

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26 minutes

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Explore the Unseen Depths of our Oceans on One Breath Around the World

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Often the most extraordinary windows are opened for us when someone takes us on a journey we could never have gone on without them. Here is an extraordinary view of the unseen 70% of our planet. The video feels like a breathtaking freefall into wonder.

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16 minutes

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Tasting Peru: from Sea to Summit, the Andes to the Amazon

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Our foods and their traditions tell the stories of who we are. And even when we can’t seem to find common ground with someone on anything else, we can find common ground around the dinner table! Food is powerful. So we’re traveling to one of the most diverse foodscapes in the world to see how they’re preserving the legacy of their remarkable culinary culture! 

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6 minutes

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How a High School in a Nursing Home is Changing Lives

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What if we saw this new wave of people reaching retirement as a new generation of mentors? Connecting youth and older adults has remarkable benefits for everyone! Heres how one program is helping lead the way for whats possible.

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11 minutes

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Is the Yo-Yo Making a Come Back?

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When you think of a yo-yo you probably don’t think athleticism, creativity, and community. For those in the know, though, yo-yo can be all of these things! Yo-yos have become a creative and artistic outlet for a remarkable community of people. Check out how a world champion yo-yoer got his start and what world champion yo-yo skills look like!

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25 minutes

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How You Can Help Remove Thousands of Pounds of Litter from our Planet Every Year!

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Look almost anywhere and you’ll see litter, so what can we do to be better stewards of the environment? Why not join a growing movement of people taking little steps to collect thousands of pounds of litter, together! Heres a story that will inspire you to get involved.

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12 minutes

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Can You Hear the Golden Ratio?

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Could there really be a universal ratio that unites beauty, nature, and art? The Golden Ratio can be found all over the place if you know where to look. But did you know it’s found in music too? Is this coincidence, on purpose, or a creative tool? We’ll let you test it out and decide for yourself!

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15 minutes

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The Japanese Art of Waterfall Climbing

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When was the last time you had your breath taken away by the natural world? For Sawanobari climbers, these moments are all around them as they scale Japan’s magnificent waterfalls and experience the raw power of some of nature’s most beautiful features, in a whole new way!

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20 minutes

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ArtLifting: The Business of Empowering Hidden Talents

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ArtLifting began as a business working to empower homeless and disabled artists by giving them a marketplace for their work. Now, they’ve grown into a model that makes us ask: What if more businesses worked to energize the hidden talent around the world? How could that change all of our lives?

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20 minutes

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Preserving Our Nights Skies: A Mission Beyond the Stars

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14 minutes

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How Music Reshapes Our Brains

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Have you ever gotten chills when the right song comes on? What about that feeling of euphoria you experience singing your favorite song at the top of your lungs on a beautiful day? Is this just a quirk of humanity or is there something deeper going on here that connects us to our shared humanity? Science has some pretty remarkable answers to these questions!

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17 minutes

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Meet the People Using Technology to Save Our Coral Reefs

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Coral reefs are some of the most important ecosystems on the planet to each and every one of us, but few realize the connection. You may know coral is in danger, but the future isn’t as dark as we so often hear. Meet the people who are hard using amazing, cutting-edge technology to save our corals and building a brighter future for us all!

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20 minutes

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Celebrating a Global Communi-TEA!

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Did you know you probably have some fascinating connection to tea? This beverage has reshaped history and cultures around the world and led to many aspects of our lives today. So what does that say about some of the universals of human nature and our shared humanity?

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