Archive for student activities

Navigating SIPA one event at a time

Thanks to Theotis Sharpe MPA-DP ’20 for this post.

At SIPA, you will spend a lot of time on the 4th floor of the International Affairs Building catching up with friends in between classes and getting some free food. In those short conversations, it is difficult to understand and appreciate who people are and the why behind their passions.

Early last month, I organized the first-ever SIPA Story Slam in collaboration with the SIPA Diversity Committee and Taylor Light, SIPA Student Association Student Life Chair, on the theme “Lost in Translation.” In attendance were over 100+ students listening to 5 minutes stories from students and faculty storytellers.

We all have different perspectives, we have different backgrounds; the way we actually express those identities of ourselves, is different. So, the Story Slam was a great event to showcase that.

I would like to provide a glimpse into what it takes to plan a successful event at SIPA:

Partner with another student, or another student organization, to combine resources, expertise, and to reach the widest audience possible.

If you are part of a student organization, apply for SIPASA funding at the beginning of the semester, or apply for funding through the Diversity Committee event grant. You can also reach out to other departments/institutes on campus whose mission aligns with that of your organization or event. For example, earlier this semester, the SIPA Pan African Network (SPAN) partnered with the Institute of African Studies and the MPA-Development Practice office to organize a lecture on Digital Democracy in Kenya.

Plan early – book a room through the room reservation portal, print and post event flyer on the 4th floor, 6th floor, and stairways. Utilize WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram to advertise…. Oh, and remember “Free food” is one of the best incentives to get people to your event!

Sometime last year, I sat in my office in downtown Phoenix, reflecting on where I wanted to take my career. I came to the realization that I wanted to work on the African continent focusing on financial inclusion and building financial infrastructure. I had other offers to pursue my graduate studies but, in the end, I chose SIPA because it provided me with a formidable opportunity to build my network and learn the skills to be able to create the greatest impact on the African continent.

At SIPA, I have had the opportunity to do just that. I have been fortunate to travel to three different countries and work on a business development platform that champions the formalization and growth of informal businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa. In addition to the aforementioned project, I have been able to get involved in various ways. Currently I am a member of the SIPA Diversity Committee and serve as the President of SIPA Pan African Network (SPAN).

All in all, there are many opportunities to learn and get engaged at SIPA. One of the greatest value SIPA has to offer is providing you with a platform to explore your interests outside of the classroom. Pursue your passion, challenge yourself, and most importantly, have fun!

Theotis Sharpe
MPA-DP 2020
SIPA Pan African Network – President


SIPA Follies – Are You Chicken?

First a quick update on decisions . . . still 5% to go so hang in there if you are still waiting.  We are rolling them out as they are made.

New York City and SIPA students share something in common – vibrant energy.  You never know what you might see in NYC, or in the halls of SIPA for that matter.  This is one of the addictive qualities of New York City and I miss it each and every time I leave “the city.”

Each year in the spring SIPA students put on their own variety show known as SIPA Follies.  In the past few weeks I have seen fliers around the halls with a chicken in a diaper, and I guess the point was for the fliers to grow into this promotional video for this year’s edition of SIPA Follies.  Yes, you will certainly get a world class education at SIPA, but you will also have a lot of fun to match.


SIPA News – Are You In?

SIPA students have many opportunities to get involved in activities related to their studies, including the opportunity to publish in SIPA News and The Journal of International Affairs.  The staff of SIPA News asked me to outreach to incoming SIPA students that might be interested in submitting an article for consideration.  Please see the message below and if you are interested, contact the individuals noted below.

You can find previous copies of SIPA news for viewing here.


Dear Member of the SIPA Class of 2012,

On behalf of the staff of SIPA News, welcome to SIPA!

SIPA News is a semi-annual magazine written by students, alumni, and faculty and distributed to the global SIPA community. Our fall issue will be on the topic of water. Water is considered by many to be the new oil: from prospective conflicts in the Middle East to its role in sustainable development to floodwater in the United States, this topic touches on many fields and is truly global in scope.

Where do SIPA students stand on the issues surrounding water and what perspectives can they offer on how water resources contribute to development, trigger conflicts or natural disasters, and transform cultural practices?  What are the most critical issues that water is raising today?

We welcome contributions from all SIPA students, with a premium on first-hand reporting.  SIPA News would like to take its readers into small towns suffering from droughts, bring attention to innovative water development projects, or give them a front row seat in the debate about water-sharing policies. We’re looking for colorful stories about real people.

If you’d like to write for us, please send your proposals by Friday, July 16. Proposals should be at least one full paragraph and be representative of your writing. Clips are also welcome.  We need your feature stories (around 1000 words), shorter articles, and photos.  Final drafts of all submissions must be received by September 15.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes,

Whitney Eulich (
Marie O’Reilly (

SIPA News co-editors


SIPA Student Comments on Presidential Inauguration

SIPA student Kelly Heindel had a chance to participate in inauguration activities and I asked her to compose an entry for us.  I am grateful she accepted.  You can find out more about Kelly by visiting her interview page.

During the recent inauguration of President Barack Obama, I worked as a faculty advisor for the University Presidential Inaugural Conference (UPIC).  UPIC is one of numerous educational leadership conferences put on by the Congressional Youth Leadership Council (CYLC).  The students chosen for these conferences have excelled academically and have demonstrated leadership skills throughout their college careers.  The students came from all over the United States and internationally as well.  In total, there were 5,000 university students participating in the conference.  UPIC was designed as a week-long event to celebrate the historic inauguration and allow for the students to have direct participation in many of the events.  As a faculty advisor, I was charged with many logistical tasks (UPIC used over 75 buses to transport the students throughout the DC area) and as a point of contact for students.

The conference had many speakers, seminars, and panel discussions in the days preceding the inauguration.  Colin Powell and Al Gore were the keynote speakers.  Both men gave their specific ideas of what it means to be a leader, and what is expected of the upcoming generation in terms of leadership.   Colin Powell spoke of discipline and planning as important characteristics for a leader, not surprising considering his military background.  While Al Gore took a more fatherly approach with the students simply saying, “The happiest and most fulfilled people I know have dedicated their lives to something bigger than themselves.”

The morning of the inauguration, I took a group of students down to the national mall at 4am.   We were surprised by how empty the streets were and we were able to get a spot fairly close to the capital.  Waiting for the inauguration to begin was definitely the most difficult part of the week.  It was freezing and dark out, and there was nothing to do but wait.  Soon, they began replaying the Lincoln Memorial concert from the previous Sunday and the crowd began dancing and singing to keep warm.  Then the ceremony began.  The energy and passion of all the people in the crowd was like nothing I’ve ever seen.  It was truly inspiring to see people of all ages, races, and creeds being genuinely excited about our new administration and hopeful about our future.

"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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