2014-2015 Contributors

L-R: Dario Martinez, Eric Medina, Selim Can Sazak; Tinsley Corbett, Lauren Podber, Katherine McGehee
L-R: Dario Martinez, Eric Medina, Selim Can Sazak; Tinsley Corbett, Lauren Podber, Katherine McGehee

Dario Martinez, MIA 2015
Hometown: Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Favorite college-related book: The mystery of Capital
A tip: The application process is about finding out what program best fits your professional and personal goals. Visiting programs definitely helped me have a more realistic idea of the capabilities and constrains of the programs that I was considering and reassured me that I would be content.

I am originally from Honduras and I have a Bachelor in Business Administration and a Master of Business Administration, both from Loyola University New Orleans. Prior to enrolling at SIPA, I was a Senior Territory Manager for Loyola University and I was in charge of the recruitment and marketing efforts for the university in Latin America, the Caribbean, Mississippi and Florida.  

SIPA has been a life changing experience for me.  At a professional level, the challenging curriculum has definitely pushed me to develop strong quantitative and problem solving skills.  Moreover, the information sessions, clubs (E.G. finance club and consulting club), on campus organizations (E.G. CI3) and the Capstone have allowed me to develop a stronger understanding and provided me with practical experience in the fields (sovereign risk and consulting) that I am considering to develop a career in.   SIPA and my classmates were instrumental in securing my internship in ThinkGreen Global Advisors, a boutique investment bank that specializes in clean energy and renewables, last summer.  Moreover, SIPA’s strong alumni base has been very supportive and very helpful in my search for full-time opportunities as well.  Whether it is an informational coffee appointment or an informal SIPA networking gathering, SIPA alumni have given me very valuable advice and provided me with the support that I need.

At a personal level, SIPA has given me the opportunity to develop a stronger network of friends and contacts from all over the world.  I have learned immensely from my classmates’ cultures, interests, perspective on key issues and more importantly their experiences.  I feel that I will always cherish the experiences and more importantly the friendships that I have developed at SIPA. 

Eric Medina, MPA 2015
Hometown: New York, New York
Favorite Hobby: Running
Favorite SIPA class: Weapons of Mass Destruction
Favorite weekend getaway: Puerto Rico

Eric is a native New Yorker with Puerto Rican roots.  He comes to SIPA after ten years in the United States Army where he served as a Civil Affairs Officer.  Some of his assignments have included Operations Officer in Afghanistan, Embassy Liaison in Philippines, and Defense Fellow at the Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies in Honolulu.  Eric currently is concentrating in International Security Policy with a specialization in the United States. At SIPA, Eric has studied military strategy, preventive diplomacy, cyber security, nuclear security, counterterrorism, anti-money laundering, intelligence analysis, international peacekeeping, Russian security, and Chinese security.  Following SIPA, Eric will be a Senior Consultant for Deloitte in the Human Capital Federal Division. Eric’s professional goal is to become a senior executive in the federal government so he can help in the national security decision making process.

Selim Can Sazak, MIA 2015
Hometown: Istanbul, Turkey
Favorite books: Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning, William Golding’s Lord of the Flies and Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace
A person I admire and why: Sir Joseph Rotblat, who was the only physicist to leave the Manhattan Project on the grounds of conscience. He dedicated his life to a future free of nuclear weapons, founded Pugwash Conferences and received a Nobel Peace Prize for his life’s work in 1995.

Selim Can Sazak is a master’s degree candidate at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. His interests are in security policy and international organizations, with a regional focus on the Middle East and Africa. His professional goal is to better understand and improve the role of international community (e.g. United Nations) in responding to state failure, inter- and intrastate conflict, and nuclear nonproliferation.

Prior to SIPA, he worked as a junior fellow at the NATO Center of Excellence-Defense against Terrorism and the assistant to the secretary-general of Pugwash Conferences, laureate of the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize for its work to reduce the risk of nuclear conflict. He is a Fulbright Scholar, a Global Zero student leader, and a member of Columbia University’s International Fellows Program. He also regularly contributes to The National Interest and the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.

Currently, he is advising two governments on coordinating and improving humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees, and working with a consortium of nonproliferation organizations to improve youth outreach (while anxiously waiting to hear the results of his Ph.D. applications).

Tinsley Corbett, MPA 2015
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Favorite college-related book: Thinking in Systems by Donella Meadows
Favorite quote: “Chance favors those in motion”
Favorite city: New York City

Tinsley Corbett is a second-year student in the Energy & Environment concentration and Management specialization at SIPA. Tinsley has helped develop strategy for a social enterprise in Manhattan’s own Lower East Side through the Columbia Impact Investing Initiative (Ci3) and spent her summer in Kigali, Rwanda setting up the East African region’s first commodity exchange, the East Africa Exchange (EAX). She enjoys staying up to date on the world’s energy issues through her work at SIPA’s Center on Global Energy Policy were she assists with research and publication. Aside from the skills and experience acquired at SIPA, she believes the most valuable asset you walk away with is the strong and supportive international network. No matter where in the world you find yourself, there is a SIPA graduate ready to share advice, friendship or even a place to stay. Upon graduation in May, Tinsley will commit herself to upholding the SIPA legacy of excellency wherever she may go.

Lauren Podber, MIA 2015
Hometown: Connecticut
Favorite quote: “There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.” —Henry A. Kissinger
Secret talent: Although she often requires a few minutes to review beforehand, Lauren can solve a Rubik’s cube
Best “school-related” movie I saw recently: The Green Prince

Lauren completed her second year at SIPA in December of 2014, and is working in admissions until she starts a full-time job in June.  As of February 11, 2015, Lauren holds a Master’s of International Affairs with a concentration in International Security Policy.  During her time at SIPA, which has overlapped with her final year at Columbia’s undergraduate School of General Studies, Lauren worked for Court Square Capital Partners, a private equity firm, as well as choreographed for Fordham University’s Dance Team.  During the Summer of 2012 and of 2013, Lauren interned in the Intelligence and Cyber Operating Unit, at a defense contractor in Northern Virginia.  Before coming to Columbia as an undergraduate in 2009, Lauren was a professional dancer.  She graduated magna cum laude and phi beta kappa with a degree in Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies from Columbia University in February 2014.

Katherine McGehee, MIA 2015
Hometown: New York, New York
Favorite hobby: I love learning languages. I’m fluent in French and have studied Chinese (Mandarin) and Italian. I’m attempting to learn Spanish now!
Favorite quote: “Do one thing every day that scares you.”—Eleanor Roosevelt

Katherine McGehee is a native New Yorker. She  attended the United Nations International School through high school, which most definitely sparked her interest in international affairs. She graduated from the University of Virginia in 2012 with a dual degree in Foreign Affairs and French and a minor in history. During college, she studied abroad at Sciences Po Paris where she pursued courses on development in Africa.

Before joining SIPA, she worked for the New York City Mayor’s Office for International Affairs on urban-level research. Following local government work, she was part of the advocacy department at Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières. She also served as a French-English translator for multiple international non-governmental organizations.

Since starting at SIPA, she interned at a United Nations-related organization where she organized a conference on the post-2015 agenda for sustainability and innovation issues. Katherine also completed a summer internship in public sector consulting. In the fall of her second year, Katherine traveled as a student representative for SIPA to the Center on Global Economic Governance‘s conference on The Role of the State in Economic Growth in Paris. In the spring, she will complete some field work in Haiti through her capstone project and is working on a project in Kenya through SIPA’s Dean’s Public Policy Challenge Grant.

"The most global public policy school, where an international community of students and faculty address world challenges."

—Merit E. Janow, Dean, SIPA, Professor of Practice, International and Economic Law and International Affairs

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