Archive for Columbia University – Page 2

Alumna shares thoughts at Diversity Symposium


Lybra S. Clemons, MPA '01, and Jessica Taylor, MPA '12 discuss diversity in the workplace during SIPA's Diversity Symposium.

Lybra S. Clemons, MPA ’01, and Jessica Taylor, MPA ’12 discuss diversity in the workplace during SIPA’s Diversity Symposium.

Last Friday, SIPA’s Office of Admissions hosted its 3rd Annual Diversity Symposium, Policies and Principles: Diversity in the Domestic and International Communities. This free symposium allowed prospective students to meet current students and faculty, and to discuss the importance of diverse communities at schools of public policy and international affairs, including at highly sought-after graduate programs like ours.

The symposium began with a fireside chat by Lybra S. Clemons, MPA ’01, the vice president of Diversity and Inclusion at Morgan Stanley, and Jessica Taylor, MPA ’12, the vice president at Goldman Sach’s 10,000 Small Businesses. The speakers shared their thoughts on diversity levels at corporations and SIPA’s commitment to diversity. “At the end of the day, there’s a business case for diversity,” Clemons said. “If you don’t have diversity at the top of the house, it doesn’t matter. You’re not going to have it at the bottom.”

Ultimately, this Symposium shared with prospective students SIPA’s mission to develop world-class leaders who are committed to solving problems in our ever changing world; how SIPA’s increasing the enrollment of domestic, underrepresented students into our advanced degree programs; and how it’s Diversity Task Force is fostering a diversified student body at SIPA that will explore, expand and enhance opportunities to serve local and global communities.

Clemons went on to share why she applied to SIPA back in 1998. “I applied to seven different schools,” Clemons says. “As I started to dig deep, some of the schools that were on my list [weren’t what I exactly wanted].” After graduating from SIPA with an MPA, Clemons became the director of corporate relations at the American Cancer Society, the director of global diversity and inclusion at American Express, among other achievements.

“I was very, very glad to be here. I did not look back, and I was very pleased with the program,” Clemons added. “Everything that I’ve done since graduating from SIPA in 2001 has had some kind of connection  back to Columbia, SIPA…everything.”

Watch what Clemons had to say about the program here: LybraClemonsVideo-Symposium

Did you take your own photos and/or videos of the symposium? Feel free to share them on SIPA’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles!

It’s not a duel but rather a dual degree

​If you are a student hoping to complement your international relations and public affairs education, you may be interested in  SIPA’s dual degree programs.  SIPA has longstanding partnerships with a number of Columbia’s graduate schools.

Over  the years SIPA has formed partnerships with other schools within the Columbia community and around the world  to offer students a slew of opportunities to explore their intellectual curiosity. From Journalism to Law, to Business, SIPA students have the opportunity  to study in different graduate schools at Columbia or travel around the world to study in places like Japan, Cairo, France, UK among others. Because each program has different requirements and core curriculum classes that must be satisfied, we advise you become familiar with each  schools’ application, guidelines, requirements and the deadlines to apply.

To qualify as a Columbia University dual degree student, SIPA students must apply to each school (program of interest) separately in which SIPA has an accredited dual degree partnership.  Students must be accepted to both programs in order to qualify for dual degree eligibility. 

Below are some important facts to note about the dual degree process.

  • Dual degree applicants will receive admissions decisions separately. Students at Columbia University can only be enrolled at one school at a time.  If an applicant is admitted to both schools, they  should speak with the Dean of Student Affairs or an academic advisor at each school to determine the best school at which to begin their studies.  If an applicant is admitted to one school but not the other, they may enroll at the school they have been independently admitted to and then reapply to the other if they wish to make another attempt at pursuing a dual degree at Columbia.
  • While we generally advise applicants to apply to both programs of interest for the same semester and then enroll accordingly, students already enrolled in a participating Columbia dual degree program may apply to SIPA during their first semester of study in the first program.
  • Not all programs are the same length (i.e. 1 year or 2 years or 3 years) so review the web page that is specific to each program (see below for list of dual degree options).
  • SIPA does not participate in dual programs that are not already listed on our website. This refers to other programs within Columbia University and other domestic schools (non-Columbia University).  For a full list of our dual degree programs, please click here.

As you decide whether or not to pursue a dual degree at Columbia University, you may find it helpful to see who is pursuing a dual degree.  Take a look at some of our dual degree SIPA student profiles here.


A Guide To NYC Neighborhood Jargon And Abbreviations For new New Yorkers

Once students matriculate at SIPA, they are introduced to a new language spoken by those at the graduate school. From the names of concentrations (USP, EPD, and ISP, among them) to specializations (IMAC, ICR) to student organizations (SIPASA, LASA), members of the SIPA community can feel as though they are swimming in an alphabet soup.

For many New York City newcomers, residents of the Big Apple also seem to speak a unique foreign language. Many neighborhoods and places have names that befuddle tourists and those that are new here. But fear not, future New Yorkers! We have identified locations, abbreviations and acronyms that you should know but may mislead. Some of these terms are universally used, others are still finding their foothold in the City’s vernacular (FiDi, we’re looking at you). But use these names, and you’ll be mistaken for a local in no time.

Word: Alphabet City

Meaning: Alphabet City is part of the East Village, and derives its name from Avenues A, B, C, and D. Alphabet City is essentially a neighborhood within a neighborhood. In the past twenty years, the area has gentrified dramatically, and today is known for its hipster culture.

What To Do There: Alphabet City is home to a number of great bars and eateries. For dinner, be sure to check out La Lucha, known for its stellar Mexican street food. Then move the party to The Sunburnt Cow and Pouring Ribbons, both popular bars among locals.

Word: BQE

Meaning: Brooklyn-Queens Expressway

Why It Matters: A major thoroughfare connecting Brooklyn and Queens. You may hear people refer to the BQE when you’re hanging out in Williamsburg, New York’s hipster haven.



Meaning: Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass

What To Do There: When in DUMBO, be sure to spend some time in Brooklyn Bridge Park, one of New York City’s celebrated greenspaces. Chocolate aficionados would be remiss to skip Jacques Torres Chocolate, a shop devoted to the glory of the cocoa bean.


Word: FiDi

Meaning: Financial District

Why It Matters: On the other end of the island from Columbia, you’ll find Wall Street, the New York Stock Exchange, and the Federal Reserve Bank in this neighborhood. This is also where the Twin Towers once stood, and where the Freedom Tower is being built. The 9/11 Memorial in this neighborhood is unbelievably moving.


Word: GWB

Meaning: The George Washington Bridge

Why It Matters: The GWB is the mammoth double-decker bridge that connects Fort Lee, New Jersey to the Washington Heights neighborhood in Manhattan. The bridge is usually tangled with traffic.


Word: NoHo

Meaning: North of Houston Street
What To Do There: NoHo is a small sliver of downtown, wedged between the East and West Villages. For the independent film critic, Angelika Film Center is one of the city’s best theaters.

Important Note: Houston is pronounced How-ston, not like the city in Texas.


Word: NoLiTa

Meaning: The area North of Little Italy

What To Do There: If you’re fortunate enough to visit New York City in September, the annual Feast of San Gennaro takes place in NoLiTa. At the festival, zeppoles and cannolis abound.


Word: SoHo

Meaning: The neighborhood South of Houston Street

What To Do There: SoHo is one of the city’s main destinations for great shopping and even better dining. The neighborhood’s cobblestone streets are charming (just be sure you’re equipped with the right footwear!) Broadway has big name brick and mortars, including H&M, J.Crew, and Club Monaco (not to mention Uniqlo and TopShop), but weave through the side streets for lesser-known brands and boutiques. Then refuel with some delicious dosas at Hampton Chutney Company.


Word: TriBeCa

Meaning: A downtown neighborhood, Triangle below Canal Street

What To Do There: Let TriBeCa’s trendy restaurants, converted warehouses, and inviting parks transport you to a New York City far from Columbia’s beloved Morningside Heights. Stop by Bubby’s for hearty American comfort food (the sourdough pancakes are a hit), then spend the day on the Hudson waterfront where there are basketball and beach volleyball courts, a mini golf course, and a scenic bike path.


Remembering September 11th

on campus this morning…

College Walk in the early morning (post-9/11)

College Walk in the early morning (post-9/11)


overlooking Low Library

overlooking Low Library


College Walk

College Walk












Columbia University Interschool fellowships available

Applications for 2013-14 Interschool Fellowships are now available.  To see if you may meet the eligibility criteria required to apply, please review:  To apply please click here.  The deadline to submit your application to the SIPA Financial Aid Office is Monday, June 10th.  Please contact SIPA Financial Aid at or 212-854-6216 with questions.


"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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