Texas Exes: 2008 Distinguished Alumna
Linnet Frazier Deily (B.A. Government, ‘67) has served as the U.S. ambassador to the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, vice chair of Charles Schwab Corp., and as a member of the university’s Board of Regents. She has pursued a career in international banking and investments, rising to become president and CEO of First Interstate Bank of Texas. Fortune Magazine named her one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” in 2000.
From the Daily Texan to the NY Times
John Schwartz (B.A. with special honors in Plan II, ’79) is the national legal correspondent for the New York Times. Until January, he was on the science desk, writing primarily about space travel. His work has taken him from the Mojave Desert to Moscow. He has written on a wide range of topics, including physician-assisted suicide, computer security, online pornography, robots, and why pregnant women don’t tip over. Before joining the Times, he worked for the Washington Post and Newsweek magazine. Schwartz was born in Galveston, and attended the university where he earned a liberal arts degree in the Plan II program and specialized in history. He graduated from the university’s law school in 1984 and passed the bar, but has never practiced law. He married his college sweetheart, Jeanne Mixon; they have three children. Read Schwartz’s fun and inspiring commencement address to history department graduates at www. utexas.edu/cola/depts/history/ news/archives/graduationceremony08/.
UT Ranks Eighth in Peace Corps Volunteers
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The University of Texas at Austin ranks eighth in the Peace Corps’ Top 25 list of large universities producing Peace Corps volunteers in 2008. Since the Peace Corps’ inception in 1961, 1,562 alumni have joined the organization. There were 70 undergraduate alumni and 14 Graduate School alumni serving in the Peace Corps in 2008. “With the knowledge and training acquired at The University of Texas at Austin, these Peace Corps volunteers are making a positive contribution to the lives of people in 76 countries,” Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter said in a letter to William Powers Jr., president of the university.
Rx on the Frontline: Alumnus fights pediatric AID S in Botswana
by Jennifer McAndrew
Botswana, a landlocked country in southern Africa, has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the world. More than 30 percent of the nation’s 1.7 million citizens are living with HIV/AIDS, which contributes to a high rate of child mortality, according to the United Nations.
Liberal Arts alumnus Dr. Ryan Phelps (B.A. Plan II/ Latin American Studies, ’99) is helping to reduce these numbers, providing relief to the children behind the statistics. Phelps works on the frontline of the AIDS crisis in Botswana. The pediatrician, who earned his M.D. from Duke University, is a member of the Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative.
The initiative provides HIV-positive children with access to life-saving treatment and medication through clinics in Botswana, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda and Swaziland.
“Only a few years ago, HIV medicines were largely unavailable in Africa,” Phelps says. “Thousands of HIV-positive children weren’t getting the medicine they needed to stay alive. Treatment with antiretroviral medication, know as ARVs, can delay immune deterioration and significantly improve quality of life.”
After working for two years at Baylor’s pediatric AIDS clinic in Swaziland, in 2008 Phelps became the associate director of the initiative’s center in Gaborone, Botswana’s capital city. Since opening in 2003, the pediatric facility has tested and counseled 8,000 HIV-infected children and trained more than 600 health professionals.
Between treating babies and educating care-givers about HIV prevention and medications, Phelps writes about his work, sharing patient stories in his blog “Pediatrician in Botswana” at pediatrician-in-botswana. blogspot.com.
After one particularly difficult exam, Phelps wrote candidly about his feelings of both despair and hope.
“I sat alone in my exam room wondering if addressing pediatric HIV was somehow hopeless, absurd, quixotic,” Phelps wrote. “Ashamed the thought had even crossed my mind, I stood up to call the next patient. He was a happy, healthy child, thriving on ARVs, and I knew that it wasn’t hopeless. Even on a day shadowed by death, he is an eloquent reminder of why my job is a dream job. I get to help impoverished, nearly forgotten kids get better.”