Archive for summer – Page 2

New SIPA Student (photo/story) Series 2014

Summer officially begins this weekend but school is out and for most, summer is already here with lazy days and mild summer temperatures.

If you are a follower of the SIPA Admissions Blog, you will know that each summer we run a series of new students’ photos.  Last year we included stories about their summer adventure prior to beginning classes at SIPA in the fall.  Blog readers have informed us that they like seeing/reading what our students are up to each summer.  Well, it’s that time of year again when we make a request for submissions.

All you NEW SIPA STUDENTS, we encourage you to submit pictures (travel photos, artistic photos, event photos) to post and share on the Blog.  If you would rather provide a short post about what you are doing this summer before enrolling at SIPA, we’ll be happy to share that too.  We typically post 3 photos per student so the maximum number to send along for consideration should be no more than four.  If you are sending a story about your summer activities, please limit it to five paragraphs.

To participate, simply send along your photos or story as attachments to this address: sipa_new@columbia.edu.  Please include the subject: 2014 Blog submission.   We will try to post everyone’s submission but it may take a few weeks/months (depending on how many people are willing to share their experience) for us to share all of them this summer.

If you plan to submit (and experience at least 24-hours of fame), please include the following when submitting your pictures/story:

  • Your Name
  • Your Degree Program (MIA, MPA, MPA-DP)
  • Where the photo was taken (if submitting a photo)
  • A brief description of the photo (if submitting a photo)

Looking forward to receiving your submissions.

 

What I did this summer

I spent my summer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. My professional and academic interests are on politics and development in Latin America, particularly on innovation in the public sector. My decision to spend my summer in Rio de Janeiro came as a mixture of academic and personal curiosity. On one side, I was familiar with some of the innovation efforts been carried out by the Secretary of Education of Rio and I was eager to learn more about their programs. On the other side, despite its political and economic importance for Latin America I knew very little about Brazil. Hence, the offer to intern at the Secretary of Education of the Municipality of Rio de Janeiro came just in time and I was ready to depart to my destination.

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The Secretary of Education of the Municipality of Rio de Janeiro (SME) is in charge of the municipal red of schools of Rio de Janeiro, that is, a total of 1.076 schools including kinder garden and elementary level, with 633.449 students enrolled and 42.536 teachers. The challenges of the public system are numerous and diverse, especially for the schools located in dangerous areas.

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In order to improve the quality of education in public schools and the quality of life of the communities where they are located, the current Secretary of Education, Claudia Costín, along with her team started to implement several very interesting initiatives. One of these initiatives, for which I had the opportunity to work, is Escolas do Amanhã, which was created for schools that were in favelas recently pacified. Given the weak presence of the government in these communities, the program changed the structure of these schools to include services that supported the community, like health and parenting services.

Another unique program currently in place is called GENTE, which promotes a new concept of school that fully integrates the new educational technologies and places the student in the center of the learning process. The pilot school for the program is called Escola Municipal Andre Uraní and it is located in Rocinha, the biggest favela of Rio. I also had the opportunity of working with the team from GENTE, visit the pilot school and learn some of the philosophy behind their model. In the case of GENTE, all the students are given a laptop computer through which they do most of their learning. This is possible thanks to Educopédia, an online platform of digital classrooms where students learn the curriculum while teachers follow their progress and evaluation, also included in the platform.

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I spend a total of two months and a half in Rio de Janeiro. The internship was inspiring and very interesting, as it was the rest of experience in the country. The city is beyond beautiful, the culture is vibrant, the juices are natural and the beaches are amazing. I was lucky enough to be in Rio during the Confederation Coup, the visit of the Pope and the starting of the protests that are still taking place all over Brazil. It was a great summer indeed.

 

Posted by Giuliana Irene Carducci Sanchez, 2-Year SIPA MPA, concentrating in EPD with specialization in Management

 

Summer in the Amazon: Reliving Hakuna Matata

CollageDuring the summer I had the privilege to work with Fundacion Runa in Tena Ecuador. Located in the middle of the Ecuadorian Amazon, Fundacion Runa specializes in commercializing Guayusa (a tea native to the land and sacred to the Quichua Community). Since its creation initiation in 2010, Runa has earned “Fair Trade” labeling through FAIR TRADE USA due to its organically grown products. The foundation offers different internships directly related to the product including agro-forestry research, social impact studies and community development.

As the community development intern, I focused on working with the FAIR TRADE social premium fund. Under Fair trade agreements, 15% of all Guayusa sales must be redirected to the community. Other fair trade organizations have help fund schools, buses to schools and health clinics for women. The purpose of my internship was to establish goals and set deadlines for projects that the Guayusa Co-Operative could work on in the future. My assignment over the two months was to focus on issues pertaining to children and women of the Quichua community.

I was able to do research by talking to different members of the community and working with children for three hours every other day. It was difficult at first because of the lack of trust and because most of the work I did set the foundation for the future. I was also able to find resources through local “children defense fund” and work with them on children issues including rights and harassment. For two months, I was able to witness poverty but also help the foundation set a plan for women and children in the Quichua Community: Immediate necessities include simple first aid kits for each community and operational schools throughout the academic year.

I was also able to establish a youth council for teens in “Alto Tena” with the sole purpose to voice their opinions on how and what to fund for their communities. The youth council will provide a voice to the youth and hopefully allocate funding for things they need: operational schools, health clinics, etc.

The work was challenging. I visited communities in the middle of the rainforest; sometimes not accessible through cars or busses. I experienced the Quichua culture: tried delicacies (larvas), checked out the Fincas, learned a couple of words in Quichua and even attended school with the children.

The internship solidified my interest in local domestic issues and how to solve them using a different perspective. I was also able to put into practice management techniques learned in class.

post submitted by Eder Gaona-Macedo, MPA 2014, concentrating in Urban and Social Policy (USP)

not singing Kumbaya in July

The SIPA Admissions & Financial Aid Office is still under repairs (see earlier post) and so our tiny team has been temporarily jammed inconstructionto the outer office space of two shared faculty offices on the 8th Floor of the International Affairs Building.  At first glance when you step off the elevators, you’re not sure if you’re in the right place — we appear to be a call center of sorts (the opposite of our warm and fuzzy group) in the middle of a construction site (see photo).  Howeverconstruction 2, you will still be greeted with warmth if you come by, although you probably will not hear us singing our version of Kumbaya –the Director of Financial Aid has banned us from singing while we are all sitting in close quarters; but we will share our Insomnia cookies or pastries from the Hungarian Pastry Shop (if there are any left).

So where is this going…   Just to keep you in the loop of what’s to come… We’re still making sure all our incoming students are happy and getting all the necessary information needed to prepare them for their arrival on campus for Orientation in a month .  We have set up a couple of community groups and updating the Welcome site — there has been a lot of chatter, which is always a good sign of people’s engagement and excitement.  We are also in the process of putting together our 2014 program applications; the spring MIA/MPA application will be available by late-August and the application for the MIA/ MPA/ MPA DP fall term will be available in early September.  In addition to the already planned fall trips we will make to meet you on the road at various graduate school fairs and APSIA forums, we are arranging times for you to come visit us in New York through class visits (will be offered beginning in late September after our students have settled into their classes), information sessions, and SIPA-sponsored events.

If you are thinking about graduate school, you should use this summer to research various schools and programs (because not all programs are the same — within a school there may be a few — at SIPA, we have seven), definitely invest time into searching for scholarships (every dollar helps) and you would hate to learn later you missed the deadline to apply.  We will continue to post information about fellowships opportunities that we hear about too.  And of course, plan your fall visits; make sure a stop at SIPA is on your travel itinerary — if we don’t have cookies, we’ll definitely offer you a good karma lollipop and some sound advice  :).

New Student Photo Series 2013 – Post 3

¡Hola!

I’m Rebeca Moreno Jiménez, Mexican Fulbright fellow, currently working as a Communications Assistant at the World Bank (WB) in Mexico City field office. I have lived in Mexico City for almost 5 years, but I come from a small-town in northern Mexico called Ensenada, and usually people from the capital notice my “funny accent”.

During these four years, I have work in the promotion and outreach of WB activities in Mexico, from Advocacy Communication, Corporate-Internal Communication, to Communication for Development (Comm4Dev), Public Relations and Knowledge Management.  In my free time (yes, I have some free time left) I am part of the global youth network called World Economic Forum (WEF) “Global Shapers“, supporting Mexico’s national development with a ‘glocal’ vision.

I have to confess that I have mix feelings about leaving my country, my job and my friends. But I’m bringing to SIPA my passion for international development and my desire to share my experiences with all of you.

Un abrazo desde la Ciudad de México,
Rebe (MPA candidate, 2015)

Colima World Bank RMJ2

Rebeca Moreno Jimenez deliver student workshops regularly   – photo was taken in the City of Colima

 

 

 

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This is a view from the World Bank Office in Mexico City….

 

 

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…and a photo of my work space in the office.

 

 

 

"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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