Archive for Meet Seeples

SIPA Stories with Katie Jacobs Stanton and Mayor Eric Garcetti

We hosted an energetic and busy Summerfest NYC yesterday and met so many fantastic people. Thank you to all who came to network with us and the other top policy schools. If you’re in the D.C. area and are interested in graduate programs in international affairs, stop by Summerfest D.C. tonight.

A common question from prospective students last night was about how the MIA, MPA, or MPA-DP program would help them in their future careers. Who better to answer this question than two former students / current alumni?

Katie Jacobs Stanton (MIA ’95) shares how her SIPA education was applicable across her career in government and technology. She is the chief marketing officer of Color and former VP of global media for Twitter.

For a different perspective, Eric Garcetti (MIA ’93) was elected Mayor of Los Angeles in 2013 and speaks to how he wants Los Angeles to “become an example of how we bring folks across cultures together to build a new city.”

You can meet more of the people devoted to addressing public policy challenges at SIPA Stories.

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.

A View the from the Class: Audrey Misquith

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. In this issue, we feature recently graduated SIPA student Audrey Misquith MPA ’18, Master of Public Administration concentrating in Economic and Political Development (EDP) and specializing in Advanced Policy and Economic Analysis. 

What were you doing prior to attending SIPA?

After graduating from Bangalore University with a bachelor’s degree in financial management and a minor in accounting and taxation, I worked as a deputy manager at a government-owned development bank in India. I led teams through entire credit cycles, specializing in the sectors of agriculture, education, medicine, and infrastructure. On the side, I designed initiatives and managed operations for two education non-profits that served low-income school children.

Why did you choose SIPA?

I chose SIPA for its widely-recognized reputation as a global public policy school. Since my regional interests lay in South Asia, Africa, and the Middle-East, SIPA was a good fit given its vast repertoire of courses tailored to this region.  I was particularly interested in transitioning to the non-profit sector and with my previous banking experience with small and medium enterprises and agriculturists, I hoped to gain solid academic training that would complement the practical skills I had picked up on the field.

Why did you choose your particular areas of study?

The EPD track offered what I was looking for. The workshop component meant applying important skills learned in the classroom on the ground with the opportunity to work with innovative social enterprises and multilateral organizations. I chose Advanced Policy and Economic Analysis as my specialization to further widen my data analytic skill-set.

Please describe some of your SIPA experiences.

My SIPA experience has been fabulous. Highlights include a class on “Global Inequality” with Professor Suresh Naidu, “Advanced Economic Development” with Professor Eric Verhoogen, and classes with political science and humanitarian industry experts, Dr. Lisa Anderson and Dr. Dirk Salomons. My summer internship at Plan International in Uganda was a fulfilling experience as well. My primary responsibility was to inform the operating model of a scale-up of Plan’s flagship economic empowerment program for youth farmers.

This semester, I travelled to Brazil to meet with government officials and the World Food Programme’s staff to assess the World Food Programme’s Center of Excellence(CoE)’s south-south cooperation strategy with the West African region. Recently, my team claimed the runners-up prize for the Dean’s Public Policy Challenge grant and won a $20,000 grant to fully launch a technological platform to raise HIV awareness in India’s rural district of Solapur.

What are your plans after SIPA?

I am most interested in roles that involve a combination of program design and implementation. I like to get my hands dirty, so roles that entail scaling up a development intervention or building an initiative from scratch are most appealing. I lean towards food security and livelihoods and public health.

A View from the Class: Ally Tang

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. In this issue, we feature recently graduated SIPA student Ally Tang MPA ’18, concentrating in Human Rights and Humanitarian Policy with a specialization in International Conflict Resolution.

What were you doing prior to attending SIPA?

I practiced commercial litigation in New Zealand for close to three years and also interned in the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, working in the Office of the Prosecutor.

Why did you choose SIPA?

I liked its strong focus on global policy, the caliber of SIPA’s faculty with expertise that aligned with my areas of interest, and its location in New York City, a hub of international activity and organizations.

Why did you choose to focus your studies on Human Rights and International Conflict Resolution?

I wanted to build on my legal background to work on human rights policy, particularly in the area of atrocity prevention. The International Conflict Resolution specialization also provides a good mixture of practical skills and theoretical knowledge.

What are some highlights of your SIPA experience?

I have really enjoyed being part of a diverse cohort of students, which created a rich learning environment for sharing experiences and ideas through a comparative lens. I interned with the International Justice Program at Human Rights Watch and was part of the Business and Human Rights Clinic for my capstone project. I have also been a teaching assistant for Professor Robert Jervis and Professor Vicky Murillo at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

How has SIPA impacted you?

SIPA has really broadened my skill set and allowed me to build on my legal training to work in policy areas I am passionate about. The intellectual environment at Columbia is excellent; events and talks on campus have exposed me to an array of ideas and policy discussions from high-level policymakers, heads of state, and leading academics. I’ve also made a number of exceptional friends over the two years.

What are your plans after SIPA?

I will be working as a Research Analyst at the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect here in New York.

How Can New Students Can Get the Most Out of Their SIPA Experience?

It’s finally May, and our Class of 2018 is coming to the end of their journey here – graduation is less than 2 weeks away. Before they leave us, our Program Assistants imparted advice to future SIPA students as they look back on their own two years here.

Tedros Abraham, MIA ‘18: I have two pieces of advice for newly admitted students: Try to make a personal connection with at least one professor early on, and start applying to internships and jobs in the fall.

Professors at SIPA make themselves accessible and are always eager for students to come to their office hours before the rush of midterms and finals. By engaging professors in your field, you can gain access to practitioners who will be able to offer you insight on how best to position yourself in school for success afterwards. Furthermore, building a relationship early on will allow professors to write you strong letters of recommendation.

Between moving to a new city, readjusting to the rigors of academic life, and getting to know your cohort, it is easy to put off thinking about summer internships and jobs after school. However, doing so in your first semester is critical since so many competitive jobs and internships in larger organizations and government agencies have deadlines in the fall. The Office of Career Services hosts regular recruiting events on campus and sends weekly lists of opportunities. Take full advantage of these events and actively pursue opportunities on your own.

Mark Jamias, Five-Year Joint Bachelor/Master Program, ‘18

  • Many come to SIPA to grow as professionals, pushing the boundaries past their realms of working experience. Take classes for the learning curve, not the grading curve. In other words, don’t be afraid to get a B or a C in challenging classes. It’s better than an A in something you already knew.
  • One can learn just as much, if not more, from one’s peers. Take the time to prioritize people: learn what they do, understand from where they’re coming from and why they’re doing what they do. Every person at SIPA has their unique, amazing story (Hint: That’s why we chose you). Listen to theirs; share yours. Also, taking one hour out of your studying time to attend your partner’s opera performance, a classmate’s Capstone presentation, or simply to chat (read: vent) with a friend won’t cause you irrevocable academic doom. Besides, the people you meet here are much more interesting than monetary theory.
  • Break out of IAB: Step out of the International Affairs Building and visit Columbia’s other grad schools. There’s literally nothing stopping you from venturing to the Law School or Business School to attend talks and other social events. Take a few classes outside SIPA. Join university-wide clubs to get a true taste of Columbia’s diverse palate. Want your worldview really challenged? Go talk to an engineer; one can find them in Mudd at all hours of the night and day.
  • Make friends with the Five-Years. They’ve been at Columbia for 3-4 years, and they know what’s up. From the best coffee on or near campus, tricks to get discounts and free things using your Columbia ID, and fun library hacks and seat-scouting/staking strategies, the Five-Years have seen things and know their way around (read: work) this place.

Rahel Tekola, MPA ‘18: One of the best things I did before coming into SIPA is taking a step back and asking myself what is it that I want to gain out of this program, and what things can I do during my time at SIPA and New York City that will allow me to leverage the school and city to help me explore career, education and professional development opportunities.

Before moving to NYC I made a list of professors I wanted to meet with at SIPA, organizations and companies I wanted to connect with in NYC and practitioners in my area of interest that would entertain me for coffee. This exercise allowed me to hone in on my interests and really embrace the best parts of SIPA and NYC these past two years.

Suzanne El Sanadi, MPA ’18:

  • Take time every weekend to explore New York. The city is full of incredible opportunities ranging from the Bronx Zoo to the Transit Museum in Brooklyn!
  • Go on as many of the international student-led trips at SIPA as you can – you’ll not only learn about other cultures and governments but also make lifelong friends.
  • Jin Ramen is the best ramen spot up near Columbia – I wish that I had discovered it my first year!

Sebastian Osorio, MPA ‘18:

  • SIPA claims to be “where the world connects”, and it is really like that. With more than 100 nationalities among the student body it is truly the most international policy school. This means that you will find here a multiculturalism that will open your mind to new and different ways of thinking. Also you will make friends from all the corners of the world. What you gain from them is as important as what you get from class.
  • SIPA is a big school, which is great. The school needs a large academic offering for students with so many different backgrounds and interests. This means that you can take a lot of different courses in the same school – from the ones in Economic and Political Development, to the ones suited for people interested in journalism or energy or security policies.
  • SIPA offers the possibility to cross register courses from other schools at Columbia University. If there is another class or professor that you like but is not at SIPA, you can easily cross register with them and use them as credit for graduation. You can choose courses from the ones at Law, Engineering or Business Schools to the ones in Statistics, Psychology or Sociology departments, for example.
  • There are courses that you will find extremely interesting and some others that you will think weren’t suited for you. Make sure to talk to a lot of the second-year students for recommendations about classes aligned to your interests or extremely good professors.

A final reminder to our admitted students that today, May 1st, is the enrollment deadline for the upcoming fall semester. And we haven’t forgotten about our waitlisted candidates – we’ll start reviewing those applications this month. You’ll get an email once there’s an update, so thank you for your patience.

"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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