2016-2017 Contributors

Sadia-Afreen-headshotSadia Afreen, MPA 2017
Concentration: Energy and Environment
Specialization: International Organizations & United Nations Studies
Hometown: Dhaka, Bangladesh
Tip for prospective students: Don’t be afraid to explore. You may be surprised to find out that you are really interested in a class or a particular topic that you didn’t know about before.


Sadia is a second-year MPA student, concentrating in Energy and Environment Policy. She has a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in International Relations from the University of Dhaka. Before coming to SIPA, she worked in the Governance and Public Sector for the World Bank in Bangladesh. She is passionate about the energy sector, and in future wants to work to increase private capital investment in Bangladesh’s renewable industry to provide marginal and rural population access to energy services. Since starting SIPA, she has interned for National Grid, a gas and electric utility, where she worked with the Pipeline Safety and Climate Change Compliance Division focusing in methane emission reduction from the natural gas distribution sector. She is living in New York for the first time and tremendously enjoys the outdoor and engaging culture of the city. In her free time, she loves swimming and doing yoga.

Meagan Barrera, MIA 2017
Concentration: Human Rights
Specialization: Gender and Public Policy
Hometown: McAllen, Texas
Fun Fact: I am running my third marathon this November
Favorite College Related Movie: Mona Lisa Smile

Meagan Barrera is a second-year MIA student at SIPA concentrating on Human Rights and Gender and Public Policy. She is originally from Texas, but has spent the past seven years living in the Northeast. She studied International Politics with a concentration in International Law and earned a certificate in Justice and Peace Studies for her undergraduate degree. After graduating she spent two years working as the Appellate Litigation Fellow for the Attorney General of New York, and continued working there part-time during her first year at SIPA.

headshot-ayandafrancisAyanda Francis, MIA 2017
Concentration: Economic and Political Development
Specialization: International Conflict Resolution
Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia
Hobbies: Cooking (and eating of course), bike riding, learning languages, boxing and muy thai, traveling, as well as binge-ing TV shows and Korean dramas

Ayanda Francis is a Jamaican-American second year MIA candidate (MIA 2017!!)  from Atlanta, Georgia, concentrating in Economic and Political Development and specializing in International Conflict Resolution and Asia. At SIPA, she has been involved in SIPA Students of Color as the former finance chair, Women in Peace and Security as the former Vice President, and has spent her summer in Timor-Leste with UN Women. Before attending SIPA, she was a Fulbright ETA in Turkey, and after graduation she will be joining the US Foreign Service. Her favorite hobbies include cooking (and eating of course), bike riding, learning languages, boxing and muy thai, traveling, as well as bingeing TV shows and Korean dramas.

Andrew Liu, MPA 2017
Concentration: International Security Policy
Specialization: East Asian Studies
Hometown: Flushing, New York

Andrew Liu is a Master of Public Administration candidate concentrating in International Security Policy and specializing in the East Asia region. He earned his BA in Political Science from the City University of New York, Baruch College. Prior to graduate school, he served on active duty as a commissioned officer in the US Marine Corps for about seven years. He completed an internship, in the Pentagon, at the Office of the Secretary of Defense as a security policy intern last summer. At SIPA, Andrew studied international politics, cyber conflict and policy, Chinese politics and security policy, and defense analysis. He is also one of the founding members of the SIPA Digital and Cyber Group. Andrew’s career goal is to serve as a foreign affairs specialist in the US government.

Amir Safa, MIA 2017
Concentration: Economic and Political Development
Specialization: Advanced Policy and Economic Analysis
Home State: California

Amir is finishing his final year of studies in pursuit of a Master of International Affairs with a concentration in Economic and Political Development. He earned his BA from University College London in Archaeology and comes to SIPA with over 10 years experience in the financial industry including investment banking and asset management. He is currently on sabbatical while he completes his SIPA degree. Some of the highlights of his Columbia experience so far has included training with the University’s water polo team, gaining instructional experience under the mentorship of Dr. Manuel Pinho for his course Global Energy Policy at SIPA, and spending time in the classroom learning with his wife who is also a SIPA classmate.

admissionsblog-headshot-Weiming ShuWeiming Shu, MPA 2017
Concentration: International Finance and Economic Policy
Specialization: Technology, Media and Communication
Hometown: Kunming, China
Favorite city: New York City
A person I admire in public policy: Janet Yellen, the most influential woman in international financial policy.


Before coming to SIPA, Weiming graduated from Tsinghua University with a Bachelor’s degree of International Relations and Economics. Weiming has wide experience across diverse fields and areas. She has interned at the UNDP, WRI, Thomas Reuters, Chinese CCTV2, and in the financial service industry under asset management and investment banking. Weiming currently concentrates on International Finance and Economic Policy, with specialization of Technology, Media and Communication. After graduation, Weiming plans to pursue a career in the cross realm of finance and media. Having been in New York for one year, she completely fell in love with the city, with all the exciting museums, exhibitions, shows, foods, and lovely little places. She has spent a fruitful and enjoyable year at SIPA, and is looking forward to the second year.

RenaSungRena Sung, MPA 2017
Concentration: Economic and Political Development
Specialization: Advanced Political and Economic Analysis
Hometown: Seoul, South Korea
Favorite landmark: I love the south island in New Zealand, especially Queen’s town.

Rena is concentrating in Economic and Political Development with a specialization in Advanced Political and Economic Analysis. She will be graduating in May 2017.  She holds a BA degree in International Relations and Economics from Brown University. Before she came to SIPA, she worked as a business consultant at IBM in Seoul, South Korea and worked on various mobile/technology related business projects. Apart from working at IBM, she helped her director friend to film and promote documentaries on the harrowing journey of North Korean refuges and the challenging life of young singers in Korea’s entertainment industry, which she enjoyed more than her real corporate job. These films were awarded and nominated in many international film festivals.  While at SIPA, she was a participant of the Innovation trek of SIPA’s Israel Delegation, through which she got to understand not only the politics and diplomatic relations in Israel, but also how innovation and entrepreneurship can be leveraged to promote economic prosperity in Israel.  She was also part of the international fellows program, where she had an opportunity to meet and learn from prominent leaders of the U.S. foreign affairs. Over the summer, she worked on a research project on the dynamics of foreign direct investment and immigration. She plans to study further in the field of political economy upon completing SIPA.

"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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