Program Assistant Introduction: Elaine Kubik

While I wrapped up the Admissions Office PA introductions a couple weeks ago, we do have a new addition to the team. Elaine Kubik is a program assistant for the MPA-DP program. Elaine helps the MPA-DP team with marketing and bringing great speakers to campus. If you have any questions about the MPA-DP program feel free to reach out to her at

Elaine Kubik is a second year MPA-Development Practice candidate at SIPA. She is focusing her studies on corporate social responsibility and examining how private sector companies can contribute to the growth of developing countries. Elaine was born in Panama and raised all over the world as a military dependent. Prior to SIPA Elaine worked for five years in both the public and private sectors in marketing and communications. Upon graduating Elaine hopes to work with private companies in increasing the sustainability of their products and their commitment to their communities. You can follow her on Twitter at @elainekubik.

In a brief Q&A for the Admissions Blog, she had this to share:

What attracted you to SIPA and Columbia University?
The MPA-Development Practice curriculum was the perfect blend of foundational, required courses and opportunity to take elective courses. The first year was spent focusing heavily on economics, health policy, food policy and learning about the different intersections of development in terms of programs and policies. Now, in my second year I’m able to hone in on my interests and build out my skillset in a specific area.

What has been the best part of your SIPA experience?
One of the best parts of my SIPA experience has been the MPA-DP summer placement. In the summer of 2015 I was able to go to Maseru, Lesotho and work with a global health organization on their HIV programs. It’s one thing to learn about health policies and programs at school, but it’s another thing to be on the ground and helping to implement it.

Did you choose to attend SIPA to change careers, or to gain experience in a career path you already had experience in?
I chose to pursue a graduate degree because I wanted to advance in my career and make a slight change in my professional direction. I was heavily focused on marketing communications before SIPA and I knew I wanted to get into the world of development. The MPA-DP program is making this possible and I’ll have the network connections to get the right position afterwards.

SIPA features lots of events for students to attend. Is there any interesting presentation that you have attended that you could comment upon?
It’s so easy to have a jam-packed schedule! There are many opportunities to attend workshops or attend a speaker event. The most memorable events have been hearing Michael Kimmel speak about masculinities and attending a mobile data collection workshop facilitated by the same team that did contract tracing for Ebola at The Earth Institute.

Have you taken classes at other Columbia Schools?
My schedule for my second year has been much more flexible and I’m able to take a class at Columbia Business School. It’s a great course on negotiations and the course has a great blend of lecture and role-plays. Soon we’ll have a large group negotiation with the negotiation students at the Columbia Law School.

What was the most challenging aspect of the application process?
One of the most challenging parts was getting the recommendations. Throughout the entire graduate application process and even scholarship/fellowship applications, it’s easy to teeter on the edge of burning out your recommenders. It’s a tricky process to maintain the relationship and also satisfy the requirements (and large quantities) of applications.

[Photo courtesy of Elaine Kubik]