Spring Break 2018: SIPA Capstone Workshop Roundup

Are you following @Columbia.SIPA on Instagram yet? SIPA students Rui Li (MIA ’19) and Olivia Haas (MIA ’19) will be leading a live tour of the SIPA building tour and Seeples Q&A on Wednesday! Join us on Instagram on April 4th at 8am EST — and if that’s too early, we’ll be answering questions all day, so DM us.

This week we did an Instagram roundup of SIPA students Spring Break activities — many put their learning into practice for their Capstone workshops. Here’s where their consulting projects brought them:


“I am a part of a capstone team that is working with the Peruvian Ministry of Education, building a feasibility study to navigate ways of implementing offline educational technology into rural schools. This photo was taken in Anta, Cusco, Perú at a public primary “multigrado” school. In Peru, there is a huge emphasis on incorporating technology and robotics into primary and secondary education. In the photo are three 8-year-old girls showing me how to use a computer-based LEGO program that teaches children how to build robots. It was amazing to see, even in the most rural zones of Cusco, that this technology generation is making a significant impact and kids are effortlessly excelling in technology-based learning.” – Justine LaVoye, MPA-DP ’19


Consulting for the Mexican Energy Regulatory Commission, this SIPA capstone team is working on incentivizing more clean energy production for electricity in Mexico.

Costa Rica

This SIPA capstone team worked with Engage Globally and the Monteverde Conservation League.


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What I witnessed and experienced in Haiti the past couple of weeks is stuff I’d remember for the rest of my life. The sea of houses on the mountains of Port au Prince is quite the spectacle. Makes me cringe at the thought of what could be of the restavéks here in the city. Restavéks are children from low income households who are sent away to ‘richer’ households in the hope that they get educated and get the chance to lead a better life than their parents. Obviously, this is an institutionalized form of slavery and child trafficking in Haiti today with the locals believing 1 in 5 kids end up as restavéks in their life. All of this is the result of families in the Caribbean island falling into a poverty trap worsened by natural disasters. All the Caribbean countries, all of them and not just ones with picture perfect beaches and fancy resorts, need attention, support and most importantly, investment. #Haiti #PortAuPrince #restavek #restavekfreedom #freetheslaves #endchildslavery #childtrafficking #work #travel #Carribean #carribeanislands #SIPAcapstone #columbiauniversity #SIPA #madrastomanhattan

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“A team of us from SIPA traveled to Haiti to test the M&E tool we developed for Free the Slaves, and organisation fighting to abolish modern forms of slavery. Our tool aims to gauge the Socioeconomic Status (SES) of households, enabling Free the Slaves to monitor changes in a household’s SES over a program’s lifetime.” – Shreya Murali, MPA-DP ’19

And in case you’re concerned that students don’t get any time off to relax – don’t worry, some sightseeing was had.

You can learn more about the SIPA MIA, MPA, and MPA-DP capstone workshops here.