Archive for SIPA

Statement from Dean Janow condemning the death of George Floyd and other Black Americans

A statement from Dean Merit E. Janow sent to students, faculty, and staff on June 1:

Dear Members of the SIPA Community,

The School of International and Public Affairs stands firmly with the University in condemning the deaths of Black Americans George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and too many others. These injustices have renewed demonstrations across this country in protest of racism and violence against Blacks, and all people of color. We recognize the pain, fear, and anger this causes, amplified by the disproportionately devastating effect of Covid-19 within communities of color and the poor. We affirm the dignity and equality of all persons and reject bigotry, discrimination, and racism in all forms.

In times like these, we reflect upon our mission – to impart the leadership, skills, and knowledge needed to engage critical public policy challenges in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. As leaders in public policy and international affairs, members of the SIPA community play an important role in defending the dignity and humanity of every member of our global society. These moments remind us of our duty and, sadly, highlight the difficult challenges we face in pursuing equality for all.

Merit E. Janow
Dean, School of International and Public Affairs
Professor of Practice, International Economic Law and International Affairs

See this statement on the SIPA website.

Post Roundup for Admitted Students

We launched our ~virtual~ Admitted Students’ Day last week for admitted students to get to know the SIPA community, including faculty, current students, and alumni. It’s by far the weirdest one I’ve been involved in, and usually every year I really look forward to meeting the many people that I met and got to know (by application!) over the last few months.

So to recreate a bit of what we cover at ASD, I’ve done a roundup of the most popular / useful posts for students around this time:

Hope you find this helpful, and I hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and sane.

Tackling Work, Ambitions, and SIPA: How I managed to plan a two conferences in two years at SIPA without going insane

In October 2018, I became a founding member of The Sadie Collective, an organization which aims to help solve the pipeline to pathway problem surrounding the severe under representation of Black women in the economics profession. Presently, just 2% of bachelors degrees in economics are offered to Black women. At the PhD level, the proportion less than 0.5 %  and dropping despite advances in STEM subjects overall according to a recent report by the American Economics Association’s Committee on the Status of Minority Groups in the Economics Profession.

This is problematic for many reasons. It not only perpetuates the myth that women and minorities are incapable of tackling the quantitative social sciences but stifles the voices of necessary perspectives in a field that commands so much influence in our day to day lives. Working at the intersection of economics and public policy opens doors to the rooms that influence policy which so often negatively influences women and people of color. From public health concerns such as the availability of birth control to choices surrounding who our economy works for and how to support them. The homogeneity in the economics profession doesn’t only hurt underrepresented groups, but the economy at large when it fails to benefit from the variety of experiences and expertise that diverse researchers and policy makers bring. So with that problem in mind, the Collective works to empower, support, and inform Black women in economics and related fields such as finance, data science, political science, and public policy.

Last year, one month into my studies at SIPA, I joined the organization and began planning for the first conference which took place in February 2019. Mentioned by Congresswoman Maxine Waters, NPR’s Planet Money, and Forbes Magazine the event surpassed our expectations of public interest and also cemented the potential of our organization to thrive. However, as Chief Financial Officer, I had to manage fundraising and bookkeeping and keeping spending in check between operations and other department’s concerns. I also had to prepare to write a financial report toward the end… all during midterms, finals, problem sets and the like. This year, our conference was double the size, hosted by Urban Institute, three days long, and had much more support form established grant-making organizations (making the need for attention to detail in financial management even important for grant report purposes). We also had some hard hitting guest speakers such as Sarah Rosen Wartell, the President of Urban Institute, and Janet Yellen, the former and first female Chair of the Federal Reserve, economist at The Brookings Institution, and President of the American Economics Association.

Planning these events and co-running the organization as a whole with the co-founders and CEO and COO (Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman and Fanta Traore) and the rest of the team would take up five hours of my week on a slow time but 10-18 ( and maybe even more during the height of conference planning season) on average throughout the year. Plus I had school responsibilities from taking many quantitatively demanding courses, acting as the Committee Coordinator of RISE: Working Group on Race, Inequality, Solidarity and Economics (a campus group) for the 2019-2020 academic year, my Program Assistant post at Admissions ( which is why I’m writing this…. Hi!!), my former post  as a member of the Faculty and Curricular Subcommittee of the Diversity Committee, my EPD Workshop Capstone…THE LIST GOES ON.

It is not easy to do it and I gave up on a lot of opportunities to party with my cohort in favor and balancing self-care and my responsibilities. However, it is not impossible. I’ve learned first hand that, with discipline, you can manage anything that is thrown at you. Your obligations may not be entrepreneurial. You may want to manage a job to earn some more money while at SIPA to lessen the cost of going to grad school, volunteer, create a student group on campus, or any thing that may take time away from your academic obligations. However, the premise is the same. You need to:

  1. Think about how you use your time wisely, make a plan, and stick to it. Use google calendar, make to-do lists, and ensure you do everything you can to hold yourself accountable.
  2. Prioritize! You can do everything but not at the same time. I chose to prioritize these curricular, extra-curricular, and professional obligations and my own self-care. Did I go to the gym as often as I wanted to? No. But I when I could I went and tried to make it count. I also appreciated time being present with friends more because I knew that I was registering a opportunity cost for more “productive time” that I wanted to ensure the time was worth it. I can always spend my post-graduation time crushing it at the gym but the personal and professional relationships I want to foster can expire. That was my mental math, but you do yours.
  3. Speak up! Most professors are really understanding. If you are submerged with professional work and need a few extra days for a paper or problem set, speak up and respectfully explain your situation. Most times, professors are human and understand because they’ve been there before.
  4. Maintain yourself. Running on empty isn’t cute. Ensure that even at your high season of work, you have a light at the end of the tunnel where  you can turn off, decompress, and practice self care.
  5. Say no! I said no to a lot of things and even though I felt a twinge of FOMO when all was said and done, in the end, I knew it was what I needed and that my full, present, self would be in attendance if I had gone.

At the end of the day, the stressed and haggard moments are just grad school anyway, so you might as well make them work for you. Being a part of The Sadie Collective and many other organizations and posts have, at the end of the day, only provided me with more enrichment that will take me into my post-graduate school life with more confidence to work, mentor, and transform the world around me.

3 Tips from a Student Researcher at SIPA

Working as a student researcher at SIPA is a great opportunity to gain practical experience in your field and learn firsthand from SIPA’s world-class faculty members. So how do you get the job and make the most of the experience? Here are 3 tips based on my experience working for Professor Jason Healey.

1. Network!

Since individual faculty members are the hiring managers for these positions, it’s certainly beneficial if they know who you are prior to seeing your application for a position. You should take their classes as early as possible, attend events that they organize, and utilize their office hours. You should also join any relevant student groups. For example, Professor Healey often prefers his student researchers to be active members of the student Digital and Cyber Group (DCG) because he works closely with DCG to organize cyber policy-related events. I was a DCG board member and had worked with Professor Healey in this capacity prior to being hired as a research associate. The key thing is to demonstrate your interest in the topic by being involved!

2. Look for both formal and ad-hoc opportunities.

There are two primary ways in which student researchers are hired.

First, a few research assistant positions are usually included in the formal assistantship application process for second-year students. SIPA students apply for these positions in the spring semester of their first year.

Second, faculty members hire student researchers on an as-needed basis. The majority of student researchers are hired this way, and both first and second-year students are usually eligible. Many of these positions are advertised via your concentration, in the Professor’s classes, or through the relevant student group. So again, it’s vital that you stay involved!

3. Understand your strengths.

When applying for a position, discuss the specific requirements for the position with the professor. Faculty members hire students to assist with a wide variety of tasks including archival research, online research, coding, quantitative analysis, writing, event planning, or helping manage various programs. Be honest with yourself about your strengths and what you want to do. In my role, I mainly focus on writing for publication because I’m able to write in a style consistent with Professor Healey, which makes the co-authoring process much smoother.

Working directly with a faculty member is one of the best things you can do at SIPA. If you keep an eye out for opportunities and follow these tips you’ll be well on your way to a great learning experience!

SIPA, I choose you!

Choosing the right graduate school is no easy feat. There are so many factors to consider that you end up going round in circles trying to prioritize A over B. Drawn a decision matrix? Pros and cons list? I’ve been there and totally feel your pain.

It’s especially hard when trying to make a decision blindly without knowing anyone who’s been there or if you’re like me, without even knowing or understanding U.S. higher education systems and what you should be looking for. I thought a lot about what experience I wanted at graduate school and most importantly, what I wanted to get out of it when I was deciding between schools.

Here were my 4 reasons for choosing SIPA from an outside perspective. These reasons are why I am now proud to call myself a Seeple:

#1 A student body with incredible diversity

The profile of students at SIPA is diverse, more so than most graduate programs. Diversity of thought, nationality and people was very important to me as I wanted to learn and meet people with different perspectives and experiences. As an MPA candidate, the citizenship of students is typically 60-70% international, which to me, indicated a diverse group of students. Other programs at SIPA also have a good range of diversity.

#2 A school with a global perspective

My long-term career goal is to move back to Southeast Asia which is why it was important for me to choose a school that had a global perspective. That said, I also choose to study in the US which is why it was important that the school had the right balance of both international and domestic courses and approaches. I was looking for a truly international setting from people to curriculum, and for courses to have an important global angle.

#3 A curriculum with hundreds of topics (that includes technology policy)

The course offerings at SIPA are extensive and covers almost any topic you might be interested in from an international and domestic perspective. This is great for people like me who is still undecided about a specific career path as breadth of classes can help me narrow down my options. Also, I was (and still am!) specifically looking to pursue more technology focused classes so the Technology, Media and Communications specialization really resonated with me. This focus on technology and technology policy was less evident in other schools.

#4 A location with unparalleled opportunities 

It’s undeniable that there is nowhere else like New York City as it really is where the world connects. Before moving to New York, I thought the claims that there’s nowhere like New York were overrated but having lived here for over a year now, it’s a hundred percent true. The city is constantly buzzing with activity – from career opportunities and networking events, to the latest Broadway shows and incredible food. The city has something for everyone and as a graduate student, I wanted to push myself and be open to new ideas and experiences, be it academic or social.

Most importantly, I would suggest thinking about the reasons that you’re going to graduate school and what you want to get out of it to help you choose the right school for you!

"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

Boiler Image