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

27 minutes

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Reality, Illusion, and What’s In-between

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What illusion are you believing? Magician and puzzle master David Kwong knows a thing or two about tricking our brains. Here’s how we can use those insights to see our own biases and make ourselves less vulnerable to deception.

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20 minutes

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Bringing the Symphony to the Street

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We have all felt the connective and uplifting power of a great musical performance. But what if you couldn’t access to those moments that most feed your soul? Thanks to the work of a remarkable organization, the residents of LA facing homelessness and incarceration, these moments are no longer lost.

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16 minutes

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This Tiny Island Could Lead a Global Example

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How could a tiny island change the way the world thinks about tackling the problems of balancing economic prosperity with the environment? What connection does deforestation have to clean water, food security, and education? Here are a few reasons why our climate future isn’t as bleak as we so often hear!

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Meet the Dancer Combining Sign Language & Hip Hop

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Shaheem Sanchez lost his hearing as a child, but now as a professional dancer, teacher, and advocate he is on a mission to make ASL dance a movement. His work points to possibilities all around us, probably hiding in plain sight, if we can just eliminate our assumptions.

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8 minutes

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How Fossilized Poo Changed Our View on Dinosaurs

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Fossilized dinosaur dung is one really precious gem! From these wonders (really, they are quite beautiful) we can understand the lives of animals that died millions of years ago and the details of their ecosystems. Not to mention, these fossils played a role in the life of one of the most notable women in paleontology!

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16 minutes

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Aging Gracefully Alongside Your Loved Ones

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What if love and laughter could replace some of the struggles we face as our loved ones age and their memories decline? Could we see them and ourselves in new ways? Here are some insights from caretakers who have found ways to bring their relationships to life with a little creativity.

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17 minutes

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How the Jump Rope Became an Elite Sport and a Symbol of Community

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Double dutch may be one of the most underrated sports out there. These young athletes combine football star levels of footwork with the flexibility of gymnasts and the speed of sprinters. Better yet, they are a part of a community built to give them the support and love they need. Now this is inspiring!

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16 minutes

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Fly Through London with Some Urban Bees

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Explore London from the fun and fascinating perspective of some of its smallest and most industrious inhabitants, the bees! They may not seem like the perfect urbanites but they have found some remarkable ways to adapt to life in the big city.

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7 minutes

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The Artist Who Brought the World Joy One Egg at a Time

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How can we spread joy with our work? Certainly, the answer is unique to each of us, but sometimes we need a little inspiration to get ourselves started. So let us introduce you to one of those sources of inspiration, Shari Kadar.

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13 minutes

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The Secrets Hidden in Your Sunday Crossword

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There’s a lot more to these puzzles than meets the eye. So what goes into making them? Why do we love them so much? And is there really any truth to the claims that completing a puzzle a day will ward off aging? Here’s all you could want to know about the world of crosswords, with a bit of fun added in! (We promise, it’s quite exciting!)

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11 minutes

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The Planet’s Unsung Hero, the Dung Beetle

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There’s a remarkable reason why there is not dung everywhere in our world. Think about it: the multitudes of creatures on this planet produce a lot of waste! So, what happens to all of it? Well, let us introduce you to one of the planet’s greatest unsung heroes, the dung beetle! Get ready to be astonished.

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32 minutes

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Exploring The Legacy Not Left Behind

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We may not get to go back in time to relive some of the planet’s wonders lost to human influence, but this is the story of a rare moment we get to catch a glimpse of the past to help us learn for the future.

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9 minutes

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Save the World One Paper Towel at a Time

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Want to be a part of making the world a little better place? Here’s a profoundly simple but impactful way to start! The U.S. uses 13 billion pounds of paper towels a year! And you—yes you—can begin to make a dent in that after you learn to shake and fold.

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16 minutes

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Do You Have a Doppelgänger?

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Do you have lookalikes out there? We’ve seen the images of people who have met their doppelgängers, but is there really a face like yours out there or are our own brains just being fooled? Here’s your marvelous brain at its best!

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15 minutes

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Grandma Has a New Best Friend: ElliQ

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Seniors that feel a sense of loneliness and isolation are at an increased risk of health complications, dementia, and death. But there’s good news, a company called Intuition Robotics has created a robot designed to help elderly people feel less lonley and more connected!

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8 minutes

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Your World: Made Possible By Giant Fungi

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What does a 420 million-year-old giant fungus have to do with life on Earth as we know it today? Much more than you might think! (You might have to thank its early cousins for making our lives possible!)

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17 minutes

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The Warmer the Better! Right?

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Here’s an inspiring way to look at what will actually happen to our individual lives if, as predicted, it gets 4 degrees warmer. But this is a new approach: a refreshing look with a little humor and uplifting thoughts on climate change and how we are all empowered to transform the future.

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9 minutes

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How Cambodia’s Ancient Temples Can Help Us Plan for the Future

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The ancient temples of Angkor are some of the most beautiful in the world. They are the symbols of a once thriving empire. But the stories they tell go far beyond the ancient past, giving us a roadmap to ponder for our future.

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17 minutes

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#DialogueCoffee: Why We Need More Difficult Conversations

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The world can feel pretty divided right now, but we have a fix for you. It’s a technique called #DialogueCoffee and it makes talking to someone with an opposing viewpoint on the world a little easier (and much much more rewarding). Here’s the story of how it came to be!

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5 minutes

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Transforming Pollution into a Powerful Platform for Change

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Can pollution from your tailpipe be turned into something positive? Air-Ink has found a way to turn the smog that would normally end up in our lungs into inks that artists are using to raise awareness. This innovation points to new possibilities for our future—take a look.

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5 minutes

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Can Your Buttons Change the Way You Look at the World?

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It’s a simple innovation but the button is one of many small wonders we see every day. So what is it that makes the button so special, and could learning about it make us happier, maybe even come up with the next small wonder? It can!

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30 minutes

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Adventure to the Island that Came Back from Extinction

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Can we really save an entire ecosystem when it is nearly hunted to extinction? We can! Let’s adventure to an island of survival where life is once again finding a way.

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13 minutes

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What Does Impossible Mean?

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In the quest to achieve the highest jump on record, athletes are pushing the limits of the human body and redefining the word “impossible”. But what do record-breaking jumps like this say about what is possible for any one of us to accomplish?

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9 minutes

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Helping Kids Find Community Even Without a Home

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How do we give millions of kids stability and community in the face of homelessness? Girl Scout Troop 6000 has found a way to start in New York City’s Shelter system.

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13 minutes

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Shadow Dancing Taking Us to New Worlds!

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The dance troupe Pilobolus is known for their mind-bending work and their incredible experiments in shadow and performance will completely transform your sense of reality!

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9 minutes

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Doing the Impossible: Reconnecting Mind and Body

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What if paralysis is no longer inevitable with a severe spinal cord injury? There is a remarkable technology in development that will, hopefully, change the lives of many in the coming years! Once again, the power of the human brain is astounding to watch. Take a look!

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8 minutes

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Celebrating Culture and Empowering Youth in Hawaii

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How can farming blend scholarship, tradition, empowerment, and service to the community? MA’O farms in Hawaii is empowering the young people of Oahu’s Waianae coast with a program that is changing countless lives and building a stronger future!

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5 minutes

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These Books Could Be Hiding Secret Paintings on Their Pages

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Fore-edge painting is a dying art form, but these beautiful, hidden works of art remind us to look for and celebrate the hidden beauty all around us!

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14 minutes

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The Harder the Work, the Less Impossible the Dream

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Chris Boucher’s story is unique in the NBA. He didn’t grow up with a basketball in hand or aspired to play as a kid, yet he became a record-setting player. So what’s his secret? Even if sports aren’t what excite you, there’s something in his journey for all of us to apply to our lives. Let’s explore.

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