Archive for Elaine Kubik

Elaine Kubik’s summer in Southern Africa

One of the best parts of the MPA-DP program is the opportunity to spend three months in a developing country. The Summer Field Placement is a requirement within the program, and proves to be an integral component of the graduate learning experience. While most of my cohort comes from a variety of different countries, or has had development field experience already, the Summer Field Placement becomes an opportunity to advance professionally with a recognized organization.

I spent my summer in Maseru, Lesotho, a small enclave within South Africa. There I worked with an amazing organization called Jhpiego, working on their HIV outreach programs. Although it was challenging at first to see how my marketing and communications experience would relate to development work, I found my summer placement to be a worthwhile learning experience.

Check out my video below (it’s only 3:46 minutes) to learn more about my summer placement and my life at SIPA!

A peek into ‘Global Food Systems’

During my second semester of my first year, I was required to take Global Food Systems. Read More →

7 reasons to choose the MPA-DP program

I know it’s a tough decision to choose the right program that will boost your career, so I’m here to tell you more about one of those options: the MPA-DP program. Read More →

A peek at MPA-DP summer field placements, fall retreat

**Correction: It seems that our blogging platform has a mind of its own when it comes to homonyms (peek vs. peak) We apologize for this obvious mistake and hope you won’t hold it against WordPress (or us). 

As a second-year graduate student in the Master of Public Administration in Development Practice (MPA-DP) program, I have many long, grueling hours under my belt spent in the many nooks and crannies of Lehman Library. Luckily, I’ve had great classmates (and now best friends) to work by my side. Mariela Maccado, MPA-DP ’16, is one of my classmates and truly an intelligent and inspiring emerging development practitioner.

Mariela Machado Fantacchiotti

Mariela Machado Fantacchiotti

Prior to SIPA, Mariela was a telecommunications engineer with five years of work experience. Through the MPA-DP program, Mariela has combined her previous telecommunications-engineering education and experience with recent development studies. Mariela has accomplished a lot at SIPA, so I wanted to share with you a little bit about how the MPA-DP program has supported her efforts.

“I came [to SIPA] to learn how to design, deploy and make a project sustainable overtime, while at the same time addressing the social and economic needs,” Mariela says. She later applied that newfound knowledge to her three-month summer field placement at Inveneo in San Francisco, which is a nonprofit social enterprise that delivers the tools of technology—sustainable computing and broadband—to those who need it most in the developing world in order to transform lives through better education, healthcare, economic opportunities and faster relief.

There she worked alongside their engineering department, studying drones for Inveneo’s upcoming “Drones 4 Good” project, and researching Internet policies and laws in Cuba focusing on information and communication technologies (ICT) development and freedom of speech. “MPA-DP prepared me to understand development in a broader sense,” Mariela adds. “I could now understand sustainability taking into considerations all the different axis, from human centered design to M&E post implementation plan. Thus, I was able to give Inveneo a new perspective on how to design, implement and measure ICT4D projects.”

To learn about other summer placements from 2010-2015, please check out our Summer Field Placements Map.

All of the summer placements on the map were introduced to the incoming students at the MPA-DP annual fall retreat. Held every year within the first month of school, the fall retreat is open to both first and second-year students, and it takes place in upstate New York. Considering the MPA-DP program is “small by design,” the retreat is a key programmatic milestone in building up both the unique MPA-DP spirit and a strong cohort community at the beginning of the academic year.

More than 80 students attended the retreat this September (pictured above). It’s a great kick-off event to the fall semester and provides an opportunity for the students to learn about program offerings, as well as to get to know each other and chat informally with the program staff.

For more information on the summer placements this year, or about the annual MPA-DP retreat, please feel free to email sipa_mpadp@sipa.columbia.edu.

[Photo courtesy of Annum Hussain]

Program Assistant Introduction: Elaine Kubik

While I wrapped up the Admissions Office PA introductions a couple weeks ago, we do have a new addition to the team. Elaine Kubik is a program assistant for the MPA-DP program. Elaine helps the MPA-DP team with marketing and bringing great speakers to campus. If you have any questions about the MPA-DP program feel free to reach out to her at mek2211@columbia.edu.

Elaine Kubik is a second year MPA-Development Practice candidate at SIPA. She is focusing her studies on corporate social responsibility and examining how private sector companies can contribute to the growth of developing countries. Elaine was born in Panama and raised all over the world as a military dependent. Prior to SIPA Elaine worked for five years in both the public and private sectors in marketing and communications. Upon graduating Elaine hopes to work with private companies in increasing the sustainability of their products and their commitment to their communities. You can follow her on Twitter at @elainekubik.

In a brief Q&A for the Admissions Blog, she had this to share:

What attracted you to SIPA and Columbia University?
The MPA-Development Practice curriculum was the perfect blend of foundational, required courses and opportunity to take elective courses. The first year was spent focusing heavily on economics, health policy, food policy and learning about the different intersections of development in terms of programs and policies. Now, in my second year I’m able to hone in on my interests and build out my skillset in a specific area.

What has been the best part of your SIPA experience?
One of the best parts of my SIPA experience has been the MPA-DP summer placement. In the summer of 2015 I was able to go to Maseru, Lesotho and work with a global health organization on their HIV programs. It’s one thing to learn about health policies and programs at school, but it’s another thing to be on the ground and helping to implement it.

Did you choose to attend SIPA to change careers, or to gain experience in a career path you already had experience in?
I chose to pursue a graduate degree because I wanted to advance in my career and make a slight change in my professional direction. I was heavily focused on marketing communications before SIPA and I knew I wanted to get into the world of development. The MPA-DP program is making this possible and I’ll have the network connections to get the right position afterwards.

SIPA features lots of events for students to attend. Is there any interesting presentation that you have attended that you could comment upon?
It’s so easy to have a jam-packed schedule! There are many opportunities to attend workshops or attend a speaker event. The most memorable events have been hearing Michael Kimmel speak about masculinities and attending a mobile data collection workshop facilitated by the same team that did contract tracing for Ebola at The Earth Institute.

Have you taken classes at other Columbia Schools?
My schedule for my second year has been much more flexible and I’m able to take a class at Columbia Business School. It’s a great course on negotiations and the course has a great blend of lecture and role-plays. Soon we’ll have a large group negotiation with the negotiation students at the Columbia Law School.

What was the most challenging aspect of the application process?
One of the most challenging parts was getting the recommendations. Throughout the entire graduate application process and even scholarship/fellowship applications, it’s easy to teeter on the edge of burning out your recommenders. It’s a tricky process to maintain the relationship and also satisfy the requirements (and large quantities) of applications.

[Photo courtesy of Elaine Kubik]

"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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