Archive for Alumni News – Page 2

ASD 2013

Okay, I know as an admissions blogger it was my job to convince YOU how great SIPA is, but I have to admit yesterday it was kind of the other way around. I started off Admitted Students Day excited to meet future Seeple (that’s our shorthand for SIPA people) obviously, but also pretty groggy. I have had a cold for the past week, on top which I’ve spent most of my free time lately writing my final papers or job searching. Such is the life of a last semester grad student. So it was a truly needed breath of fresh air to spend my day extolling SIPA’s virtues and reminding myself to take advantage of all we have to offer over my last six weeks on campus.

I struck up a conversation first thing in the morning with a prospective student who was interested in energy solutions in the Middle East. Within minutes I was connecting him via email with a classmate who had worked for an oil company in Jordan. Another student at my lunch table asked me about networking opportunities in the Energy and Environment field, I looked across the room and called over a classmate who had just organized the Columbia University Earth Summit. No matter the policy field, I knew an expert.

The thing is these are not just my contacts during my time at Columbia. For the rest of my professional career, when faced with a policy question, I can pick up the phone or send an email to an expert on virtually any policy area in any country in a matter of minutes. Other schools, which are smaller, offer fewer programs or are strictly domestic don’t offer students that kind of network. THAT’S the SIPA advantage.  Now combine that with access to a University- wide alumni network of thousands and SIPA connections are simply beyond compare.

Look for more updates on what I learned at Admitted Students Day coming soon!


-Nancy Leeds


TEDx Columbia SIPA = cool

TEDxColumbiaSIPA is a locally-organized, student-led event designed to spark authentic, impassioned, and open-minded dialogue in our community.  Drawing from both TEDx’s mission of “Ideas Worth Spreading” and SIPA’s focus on addressing challenges around the globe, the event will be organized under the theme of “A Better World.”

TEDxColumbiaSIPA will be held on Friday, February 15th, 2013 at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) in New York City.  Speakers include Joel Klein, VP, NewsCorp & former Chancellor of NYC Dept. of Education, Leila Makarechi, COO, MicroClinic International & SIPA alumna, Yvonne Macpherson, Executive Director, BBC Media Action USA, Joseph Stiglitz, Professor at Columbia University & Nobel Prize- winning Economist, Adam Scher, Captain, US Army & current SIPA student, Andrew Rasiej, Founder, Personal Democracy Forum, Paul Krugman, Professor at Princeton University & Nobel Prize-winning Economist, Victor Casanova & Michael Craft, filmmakers, Route2Happiness & SIPA alumni, PigPen Theatre Co., award-winning actors and musicians, and many more…

Unfortunately, the event is sold out — to be expected with fascinating topics and a high-level roster of speakers… But the good news is that the event will be live-streamed so you can catch it online in your pajamas at: 


Top 10 Communication Tips 2011 – #7

This is the seventh entry in our “Top 10″ list for you to consider when communicating with our office and applying.

Number 7 – Check out our student, alumni, faculty, staff interview page.

One of the most common requests we get is from prospective students is the opportunity to speak with alumni, students, or faculty. The top priority of our faculty is to work with current students and they often are unable to respond to the high volume of email requests. We generally reserve contact with our alumni to current students for the same reason – sheer volume.

We do have student volunteers but their top priority is to focus on their studies and professional development. We do our best to put applicants in touch with current students but often this takes a bit of time and coordination.

However, you can hear from students, alumni, staff, and faculty by visiting our interview page. We have text and video interviews and biographies available and we continually try to add new content. This is a great way to hear directly from those with experience in our programs without having to wait.

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SIPA Video

The following video, featuring administrators, students, faculty, and alumni, is a great introduction to all that SIPA has to offer.  Enjoy.

Picture This

SIPA students have a lot of talent that they express in different ways and recent graduate Lenny Pridatko (SIPA 2011), has launched with photographs of Columbia University. He is currently working on his first picture book, Columbia University in Pictures. He hopes to make a career out of making picture books.

Pridatko came to SIPA in January 2009, with an interest in merging photography and international relations. A year later, he launched his first photography website,, and soon afterward, began working on a Columbia University picture book, a first in the university’s history. At SIPA, he concentrated in Management and became the school’s honorary photographer at events and parties.

Samantha McCann, 2nd year MPA, joined Pridatko on the project in May 2011, to help write text for and edit the book. (Pridatko avoids writing at all cost). McCann is Editor-in-Chief of SIPA’s bi-weekly newspaper, Communiqué, and is specializing in media and communications. This is her second book project, but her first contribution to a photography book.  Enjoy a few of his photos.

"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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