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Looking for a few good people

If you are interested in making a difference, serving the people of New York, and helping to write the next great chapter in New York’s history; there is an opportunity for you to keep in mind as you plan your career in public service.  The New York State Excelsior Service Fellowship Program brings graduates into government service.  Excelsior Fellows work alongside senor members of the administration and play a policy-influencing role in New York State with the opportunity to work on the most pressing issues of the day.

The program is accepting applications for the 2014-2016 class from students who are graduating this academic year (February 2014 or May 2014).    International students are eligible to apply; however, you must have U.S. work authorization for the duration of the fellowship, as the State does not provide employment sponsorship.

To apply, students must provide a personal statement (one page or less, describe your interest in public service, referencing academic, professional, and civic experiences that demonstrate such interests.  Additionally, discuss your career goals and how the Excelsior Service Fellowship will contribute to these goals.), resume, graduate school transcript(s), one recommendation letter and submit it to: by February 10, 2014.



This fall, approximately 80 individuals newly graduated from college, graduate and professional schools from across New York State and the nation will begin their service as Excelsior Service Fellows.  The New York State Excelsior Service Fellowship is designed to attract the “best and the brightest,” who are called to a career in public service.  Being an Excelsior Fellow is an honor, privilege and full-time commitment.   Fellows serve in a variety of capacities within such agencies like the Department of Environmental Conservation, the Department of Labor, Housing and Community Renewal, the Department of Financial Services, and the Empire State Development Corporation.  Alternatively, Fellows may be assigned to roles in the Governor’s or Lieutenant Governor’s Office.  Each Fellow, in his or her own way, is making important contributions in building the New New York.  The Fellowship is a two-year program that combines both experiential and professional development opportunities designed to nurture and cultivate the next generation of leaders in New York State government.   While not guaranteed, there is the potential for high-performing Fellows to remain in State service at the conclusion of the Fellowship.

Each school may select up to seven (7) Fellows for the 2014-2016 class.  Fellows possessing a graduate degree (i.e. MA, MPA, MBA, or JD) will receive an annual salary not to exceed $70,000.  All Fellows are considered State employees and also receive a full benefits package.  The schools will forward their selections to the Center for Recruitment and Public Service.  Upon receipt of Fellowship candidates, the Program Committee will conduct interviews with each candidate to obtain additional information regarding the candidate’s background and interests.  These interviews are an important component in the Program Committee’s assignment determination process.  It is important to note that while we will accept all program nominations from our academic partners, the State will reserve its right to appoint only the most highly qualified nominees.

Placements are generally in the Albany area (>80%) although some positions may be in New York City and are made based on agency needs.



Financing your education at SIPA – Part 7

Our last post about financing your education focused on student loan repayments options to consider when you’re first thinking about taking out a loan or when you’re weighing your repayment options as you prepare to graduate from SIPA (or any other institution).

One new initiative that we’re excited about at SIPA is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.  Under this program, student borrowers who pursue careers in the non-profit or public service sectors can have their outstanding loan balance forgiven after 120 months of repayment.  This forgiveness program applies to Federal Direct Loans (also known as Stafford Loans), Graduate PLUS loans, and Federal Direct Consolidation Loans.  It is not available for Federal Perkins Loans or any type of private loans.

If a student borrower qualifies for the Income Based Repayment program (available to borrowers with lower incomes during repayment), the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program can save a borrower a considerable amount of money; depending on the amount borrowed, maybe tens of thousands of dollars.  As many SIPA students seek out such employment before, during and after graduation, this is an initiative that we want all SIPA students who borrow to be aware of.  For more information, visit any of these websites:

These 120 monthly payments need not be consecutive; for instance, if you start working in the non-profit sector immediately after graduating, work for a while in the private sector but then return to non-profit, you could still qualify.  However, you do have to make 120 monthly payments while working in the non-profit sector.  Your loan servicer will need verification of employment.  Note: while paying off your loan quickly (in 10 years or less) will save you money by minimizing interest, it will also prevent you from being able to take advantage of Public Service Loan Forgiveness, because if after the 120 monthly payments you have no remaining balance, there will be no outstanding loan amount to be forgiven.  It cannot be applied retroactively to loan amounts already paid off.

Non-profit or public sector employment may include any of the following:

–       A Federal, State, local, or Tribal government organization, agency, or entity;

–       A public child or family service agency;

–       Volunteering full-time in the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps;

–       A non-profit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code that is exempt from taxation under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code;

–       A Tribal college or university; or

–       A private non-profit organization (that is not a labor union or a partisan political organization) that provides at least one of the following public services:

Emergency management

Military service

Public safety or law enforcement

Public interest law services

Early childhood education (including licensed or regulated child care, Head Start, and state-funded pre-kindergarten)

Public service for individuals with disabilities and the elderly

Public health (including nurses, nurse practitioners, nurses in a clinical setting, and full-time professionals engaged in health care practitioner occupations and health care support occupations)

Public education or other school-based services

Public or school library services

This employment must be full-time (an average of at least 30 hours a week) and while in most cases the exact nature of the work does not matter, it cannot include religious instruction or worship, or any kind of proselytizing.  Work for a labor union or partisan political organization also does not count as public service for purposes of this program.

There are circumstances in which your student loans can’t be forgiven but at least you would be able to halt payments temporarily.  This is called either deferment or forbearance, and is applicable for enrolling at least half-time in a degree program, serving in the military (including the National Guard or Reserves), unemployed or experiencing economic hardship, or serving in the Peace Corps.  In some cases, interest may continue to accrue on your loans, which you would ultimately be responsible for, but deferment or forbearance may help a borrower out during times that making loan payments would create a hardship.  For more information, visit these sites:

If you choose to borrow student loans to attend SIPA, online entrance counseling will be provided so you can get more details about your rights and responsibilities as a borrower.  But if you have questions at any time or would like to learn more about borrowing, feel free to contact us at


Alumni Notes #1: February 2011

Every so often I work with our Director of Alumni Affairs and I get highlights on what some of our alumni are doing.  I received a report from her earlier this week and started to digest it.  I decided to divide the information into two posts.  This first post covers three general sectors and the next post will cover NGOs, the United Nations, business, academia and think tanks.

Below are sector titles, names, program, graduation year, organizations, and titles.  Feel free to follow the links for related pages on those referenced.

Media and Technology

Na Eng – MIA 1999:  News and Documentary Producer, CNBC.

Omoyele  Sowore – MPA 2003:  Founder of

Claire Shipman – MIA 1994:  Senior National Correspondent, ABC News

Richard Smith – MIA 1969:  Chairman, Newsweek

Lan Yang – MIA 1996:  Sun Media Investment Holdings

Politics and Government

Bill de Blasio – MIA 1987:  New York City Public Advocate

Eric Garcetti – MIA 1995:  President, Los Angeles City Council

Patricia Haslach – MIA 1981:  Deputy Coordinator for Diplomacy of the Department of State’s Office of the Coordinator for the Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative, US Department of State

Shannon Lightner-Gometz – MPA 2001:  Deputy Director, Illinois Dept of Public health, Office of Women’s Health

Robert Scher – MIA 1991:  Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for South and Southeast Asia, U.S. Department of Defense

Chun Yung Woo – MIA 1994:  Korean Senior Presidential Secretary for Foreign Affairs and National Security, Korean Government.


Scott Campbell – MIA 1995:  Executive Director, Elton John AIDS Foundation

Richard Greenberg – MPA 2004:  President, The Fund for New Jersey.

Anisa Kamadoli Costa – MIA 1998:  President, The Tiffany & Co. Foundation

Ferry Pausch – MIA 2001:  Managing Director, Deutschlandstiftung Integration

Rita Soni – MIA 2001:  CEO, NASSCOM Foundation

SIPA and Careers in the U.S. Government

The Admissions Committee continues to work away and today I present the following student entry.  The following was prepared by SIPA student Joshua Huneycutt, a second year MIA student concentrating in Energy and Environmental Policy.


So you’re interested in working for the U.S. Government, but are worried that SIPA may be too far from Washington, D.C. for you to effectively work your way in.  Well, have no fear – SIPA has a strong track record of placing graduates in civil service positions and a large (and friendly) alumni network within government.

For those students at SIPA seeking government jobs, opportunities abound for networking and gaining entry to special career development programs at various agencies.  SIPA career panels frequently feature U.S. government-employed alumni, and the annual D.C. Career Fair features site visits with alumni to various government agencies.

Another great way to gain access to a career in government is through the Presidential Management Fellows Program.  Thanks in part to the dedicated effort of the Office of Career Services and the various workshops, guides, and one-on-one consultations, 18 SIPA students were recently named as PMF Finalists for 2010.

Below you can find the employment statistics for recent graduates, provided by the Office of Career Services.  A link to the information is here.

Program & Year

# of Hires

% of Program Graduates

Median Salary

2009 Graduates









2008 Graduates









In addition to SIPA being a great “in,” you will also have the pleasure of enjoying all that NYC has to offer, prior to beginning your days as a resident of the lovely, yet very culturally different, city of Washington D.C.  Policy schools in D.C. certainly have many things to offer, but a significant advantage over SIPA for government positions is not quite one of them.

SIPA Alumni News

BilldeBlasio-80x94Bill de Blasio (MIA ’87) was elected New York City public advocate in the 2009 general election. De Blasio previously served as a New York City councilman, worked in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and managed Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2000 campaign for the U.S. Senate. Read more from the New York Observer.

"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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