New Student Series Part 4: Meet Nick Reinhold

Please welcome Nick Reinhold to the incoming Fall 2015 class at SIPA! Nick’s spent the last several years on active duty for the Air Force ROTC, and has served in Texas, Iraq and Japan, among other locations. (Thank you for your service, Nick.) Nick is passionate about public service, and believes everyone in the United States should have the opportunity to be a public servant and reap the benefits of a GI Bill. Read what he means by that below.

[Photo courtesy of Nick Reinhold. Nick, Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, and his brother, Blake.]
[Photo courtesy of Nick Reinhold.] Nick, Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, and his brother, Blake.

Full Name: Nick Reinhold
Program: Master of International Affairs
Concentration: International Security Policy
Specialization: East Asia
Anticipated Graduation Year: 2017
Hometown: Athens, New York

Undergraduate university, major and graduation year:
Stony Brook University, Political Science and History, 2007 

What’s your professional background?
I attended Air Force ROTC in New York City and have spent the past eight years on active duty, serving in Korea, Japan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. 

Did you apply to SIPA to change careers or to gain experience in a career path you already have experience in?
Both, I’ve enjoyed many aspects of being in the military, but am very mindful that it is the only lifestyle I’ve ever known. I’m hoping to explore as many potential career paths as I can to see if anything else excites me!

What was your reaction when you found out you were accepted to SIPA?

Why did you say “yes” to SIPA?
Columbia offers outstanding support to veterans, a diverse student population, professors I have read professionally, and brings me close to home after spending eight years away. I couldn’t think of any reason to attend any other program if accepted to SIPA.

What do you most look forward to as a graduate student at SIPA?
Being challenged by the coursework and diverse perspectives of the students and faculty. I also hope to bring some unique insight to military operations.

Do you have any apprehensions about starting graduate school?
I hope that I’m able to contribute as fully as the other exceptionally well qualified students and experienced professors.

[Photo courtesy of Nick Reinhold. Nick and his wife, Mina]
[Photo courtesy of Nick Reinhold.] Nick and his wife, Mina.

What are your goals after SIPA?
I would love to live and work in Tokyo to be near my wife’s family and have the freedom to travel and continue seeing the world while doing a fulfilling job.

If you could change one small thing about your community, country or the world, what would it be?
Everybody in the US should have the opportunity to be a public servant for at least two years and receive a GI Bill like benefit to attend a public university or learn a technical trade. The military offers young men and women the opportunity to learn lifelong skills, build great relationships, and learn some life lessons before continuing their journeys. Everybody should have that opportunity to serve their local community or travel to a new community, to serve with a police force, public health, public schools, fire department, or with some other service that excites them.

Tell us something interesting about yourself:
I grew up in an Air Force family and ended up graduating high school at an Air Force base near Tokyo. Ten years later I ended up stationed at the same base despite requesting a completely different location and duties. My twin brother soon joined me after completing a Master’s degree in Eastern European Studies at Indiana University. Luckily, the military’s inane bureaucracy worked out for both of us despite having pursued different paths!

If you’d like to participate in the series, please email us at to share your personal admissions story, what your summer vacation will entail/did entail, or anything else you think your peers would enjoy reading about! You may submit a blog post of your choosing, or submit the New Student Survey with pre-populated questions to get you started. And don’t forget to submit a photo or two to help us visualize your story!