Archive for Academics

Entrepreneurial MPA-DP Student Learns How to Change the World

The MPA in Development Practice program curates dynamic 12-week professional summer placements by developing partnerships with organizations working in sustainable development. Students also have the flexibility to develop their own placements. During past summer 56 second year MPA-DP students have worked in 30 countries for such partners, as MIT D-Lab and Mercy Corps in Uganda, OECD in France, the World Bank in Tanzania, FAO in Lao PDR, among many others. Students typically fill a “junior professional consultant role,” either assisting in the design and development of new initiatives or supporting and/or evaluating ongoing projects. They apply skills they have developed through past professional experience as well as from MPA-DP coursework.

Fernando Armendaris Puente (Class of 2019) has spent his summer with the World Bank Independent Evaluation Group in South East Asia. Fernando moved to the U.S. from Ecuador and has experience working at the World Bank focusing on various issued related to cities. This summer he traveled to the Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam developing case studies on urban resilience. “It’s always fascinating to me to read so much about a city and then go there and see it all come to life. I’m glad I have acquired so many tools that I’m already applying and I look forward to more epiphany moments of linking my experience back to SIPA,” Fernando reflects. To learn more about his summer placement watch DP120 video below. DP120s are short videos with stories from the field shared by development practitioners.

If you have questions or want to join the MPA-DP global community email us at: sipa_mpadp@columbia.edu

What will your Capstone Workshop look like?

Here at the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid, we’ve kept busy by preparing for a new admissions cycle. Now that it’s August, the SIPA application will be opening soon. Make sure you’re signed up on our mailing list so you can get notified when the application goes live.

As usual, we’ll be posting application tips and advice to the blog throughout the admissions process. One piece of advice we can give for any program is to be specific in your personal statement, and about why you want to not just attend graduate school, but this particular program. For some, this means researching each program’s curricula.

A signature of the SIPA curriculum is the Capstone Workshop. Small teams of students work on these consulting projects, where they apply the theory they learn in the classroom to real-world issues. What can your Capstone look like? You can check out the full list here, and below, Julia Tumasz (MPA-DP ’19) and John Rouse (MPA-DP ’18) went on New York’s MetroFocus to talk about their Private Rainforest Reserves capstone case study film.

Check out the full interview here.

We covered this capstone about clean cooking in Uganda in this post. Here’s the Spring 2018 team that worked on it, along with a (beautiful) writeup on their project.

If you’re preparing to apply to SIPA to start in Spring or Fall of 2019 and want to see certain content on this blog that hasn’t been covered, be sure to reach out and let us know! Submit An Idea by clicking the link at the top or shoot us an email.

 

Capstone Workshop: Improving STEM education in Ghana

A signature of the SIPA curriculum is the Capstone Workshop, a live consulting project on a real-world issue for an outside organization. You’ll work with small consulting teams of other SIPA students under the guidance of an expert faculty advisor.

This is just two of the Spring 2018 workshops out of the 80+ projects each year, and your project could be in the public, private, and nonprofit sector

Building a Hands-on Science Culture Among Ghanaian STEM Teachers

Client: Practical Education Network (PEN)

Based on the finding that one-off teacher trainings alone are not sufficient to enable teachers to implement hands-on science, the Capstone team developed an incentive strategy to increase teacher uptake of in-class activities. The team also made recommendations to improve PEN’s monitoring & evaluation practices, including providing guidance on data collection, analysis, and storage. The team’s final deliverables include toolkits, step-by-step implementation, and measurement guides for immediate incorporation into organization processes. Learn more here.

Clean Cooking Energy Enterprise in Uganda

Client: United Nations Capital Development Fund

In Uganda, only 2% of the population has access to clean cooking technologies while the majority of households rely on biomass to cook, thus making the expansion of the clean cooking sector a major challenge in the country. To fulfill the client’s requests of providing diagnostics to help the companies attract further technical and investment support, the Capstone team undertook background research on the sector, conducted interviews with international organizations and local associations, and took a weeklong field visit to Uganda to meet with local entrepreneurs and produced a set of deliverables, including company prescriptions, company profiles and a website with database feature, to advise them properly on the ways in which they could scale up their efforts. Learn more here.

Check out the full list of SIPA Capstone Workshops here.

A View from the Class: The 2018 Award-Winning Capstone Workshop Team

The SIPA Office of Alumni and Development is pleased to share another installment of A View from the Class, a SIPA stories series featuring current SIPA students, recently graduated alumni, and SIPA faculty.

Here, we feature the Capstone workshop team that was awarded this year’s Dr. Susan Aurelia Gitelson Award for Human Values in International Affairs for their work with UN Women on the project “Using Twitter Data Combined with Traditional Survey Data to Measure Societal Dynamics Related to Violence Against Women in Brazil.” Awarded annually, the Gitelson award was created by SIPA alumna, Dr. Susan Gitelson to recognize outstanding work by SIPA students related to human values in international affairs.

For this project, six SIPA students were partnered with faculty advisor, David Dabscheck. UN Women was interested in the use of Big Data; specifically, to understand the potential of using Twitter data combined with traditional survey data to measure societal dynamics related to violence against women in Brazil, where the rates of homicide have continued to increase since 2007.

Alejandra Baez MIA’18: At SIPA, Alejandra concentrated in Human Rights and Humanitarian Policy with specializations in Latin America and Technology, Media, and Communications. A Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellow, she will join the U.S. State Department in September 2018 as a Foreign Service Officer.

Wajeeha Bajwa MIA’18: Wajeeha grew up in Tokyo and Moscow and completed her undergraduate education in Germany before returning home to Pakistan to pursue a career in independent consulting. At SIPA, she specialized in Gender and Public Policy to complement her international field experience. She hopes to join an international organization working for women’s empowerment globally.

Gabriel Barrientos MPA-DP’18: At SIPA, Gabriel focused on quantitative analysis, education policies, and behavioral economics. Recently graduated, Gabriel is joining Concordia in New York City as a Partnership Development Manager, working with key partners, industry leaders, and other stakeholders to foster and strengthen public-private partnerships for social impact.

Veronique Ehamo MIA’18: At SIPA, Veronique concentrated in Human Rights and Humanitarian Policy with a dual specialization in Gender and Public Policy and Regional African Studies. From the Democratic Republic of Congo, she  will begin PhD studies in the United Kingdom this fall, focusing her research on the utilization of rape as a weapon of war in the North Kivu Region of Eastern DRC.

Lilah Greenberg MPA’19: A dual degree student at SIPA and the Columbia School of Social Work (CSSW), Lilah is pursuing her MPA, concentrating in Human Rights with a specialization in Gender and Public Policy. In fall 2018, she will continue her studies at CSSW, focusing on human rights and contemporary social issues in the U.S.

Marie Wavre MPA’18: An attorney and MPA graduate in Development and Gender Policy, Marie received a Master in Public International Law from Université Paris Assas and an LL.M. in International Law and Justice from Fordham University School of Law. Marie is currently legal counsel for an immigration law office representing Tibetan refugees seeking asylum in the United States.

An Upfront Look at SIPA Capstone Projects

The SIPA community is diverse and broad in many areas, including where they end up after Columbia. Students are prepared to work in a variety of private, public, and nonprofit places after they graduate. The rigorous but flexible curriculum prepares students for professional success in private, public, and nonprofit spaces through analytical knowledge and practical skills.

One crucial part of this experience is the Capstone workshop, where students apply what they are learning at SIPA to a real-world issue. You can think of the Capstone as a live consulting project where students partner with an external client and work on teams of 6-8 students with a faculty advisor.

The Morningside Post, the student-run newspaper at SIPA, wrote an overview of Capstone projects. In it, they quote Capstone project director Suzanne Hollmann, who joined SIPA in 2008 and has overseen the entire evolution of capstone workshops:

[Hollmann] says, “SIPA offers the largest number of capstone projects in the United States and probably in the world,” and with many satisfied clients returning the next year, the school came to a point where it has to “carefully select clients to make a good combination of options available for students.” One more amazing aspect of the SIPA capstone, she notes, is that every project has one faculty adviser.

We get a lot of questions about what a typical Capstone workshop looks like at SIPA, which is difficult to answer succinctly because of the breadth of clients and workshops. A variety of Capstone workshops are featured on the SIPA website here, and read on for an exciting opportunity to view the Economic and Political Development (EPD) concentration workshops upfront.

You’re Invited: 30th Anniversary of Workshop in Development Practice Final Presentations

This year, the Workshop in Development Practice (EPD Workshop) is celebrating their 30th anniversary, where students in the EPD concentration assisted a diverse range of clients on work related to international development.

The EPD concentration has invited you to their final workshop presentations on April 26-27 and the 30th anniversary celebration on April 30 at the International Affairs Building. Working through almost 400 projects in the last 30 years, you can get a front-row seat to the most recent batch of projects.

Click here to RSVP for the EPD Workshop in Development Practice event.

[You can right-click and open the flyers in a new tab to view it full-size.]

"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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