Note from Admissions: You may have noticed the Admissions Blog got a little facelift! In that time we weren’t able to post much. This post was written a few weeks ago and gives an overview of what internships our Seeples completed this summer. We’ll have more summer internship highlights next week.

In honor of the United Nations General Assembly, we are highlighting several Seeples who completed internships with the UN over the summer. Despite having to shift to virtual internships, Seeples had rewarding experiences and the opportunity to learn more about the work of the UN.

For students interested in the UN, SIPA offers a UN Studies specialization. A specialization is similar to a minor. It is focused on a skill or area of specialized knowledge and requires 9 credits. Curriculum for the UN specialization includes theories of international organizations, management of the UN system, and functional areas such as peace operations and development coordination.

Yerassyl Kalikhan MPA-DP ’20, United Nations – Office of the Special Adviser on the Preparations for the 75th Anniversary

This summer Yerassyl joined the UN75 initiative at the Office of the Special Adviser on the Preparations for the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations. He said this about his experience:

 “I am thoroughly enjoying being a part of this team of professionals, getting the opportunity to sharpen my skills in communication and partnership building, and working to produce tools that are engaging hundreds of thousands of people under the shared vision of a better and more sustainable world.”

 Launched by the UN Secretary-General, the UN’s 75th anniversary initiative aims to listen to the global public, with particular focus on youth, marginalized communities, and new audiences. The UN75 team gathered public perspectives on global challenges and solutions on how to tackle them through a one-minute survey, online dialogues, formal opinion polling, and media analysis. The results were presented to the UN General Assembly this week, at the official commemoration of the UN’s 75th anniversary.

Amanda Waldron MIA ’21, United Nations – Security Council Practices and Charter Research Branch (SCPCRB)

“I am virtually interning from my apartment (directly in front of my AC unit because #NYsummer) in Harlem at the UN Headquarters in New York City. I started the internship in mid-February, so fortunately, I had 3-4 weeks pre-lockdown when I commuted to Turtle Bay 4x per week, met my colleagues in the office, and attended some very cool meetings in the chambers.

 At the SCPCRB of the UN, I follow the activities and procedures of the UN Security Council. I conduct research for and help to draft chapters of the Repertoire of the Practices of the Security Council, which has covered the Security Council’s interpretation and application of the UN Charter and the Council’s procedural rules since 1946.” — Amanda Waldron

Carolina Tamayo MIA ’21, United Nations – Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR)

This summer, Carolina interned in the Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) section, under the UN Department of Peace Operations, working on a project to engage the private sector in DDR processes.

“Understanding how and where conflict emerges, and subsequently supporting DDR processes, holds a particular importance for me, given that I grew up in Colombia—a country that has been entrenched in conflict and a subsequent peace agreement,” she said.

Kaoru Nagasawa MPA ’21, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

“With two clocks on the wall (NY time and Tokyo time) and a globe on my desk, I am remotely interning at United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Representation in Japan.

Reporting directly to the Representative, I got involved in making UNHCR’s strategic plan, which has been the first-ever attempt for the Tokyo office. My work involves research, analysis, summarizing, compiling of information on global, regional and domestic political and socio-economic data to draft the strategy, translation and executive assistance. I also report to the Private Sector Partnership manager regarding the management of corporate partnerships such as global/local initiatives.

I thoroughly enjoy my internship and appreciate the Tokyo office which assigns me to three different units with three bosses from different backgrounds and nationalities. Also, thanks to the practical and rich curriculum at SIPA, I am able to give appropriate executive assistance to the Representative and the Tokyo office with a deep understanding of humanitarian issues. With this experience, I will work harder to make a wider impact after going back to SIPA!” — Kaoru Nagasawa

Liz Olson MIA ‘21, UNDP Crisis Bureau’s Crisis Response/Early Warning Team

This summer, Liz interned with UNDP Crisis Bureau’s Crisis Response/Early Warning Team where she researched the use of social media monitoring and analysis for early warning and situational awareness. In addition to her work at UNDP, Liz developed a full-text searchable database to track and analyze the regulation of biometric surveillance technology around the United States, thanks to a grant from SIPA’s Human Rights and Humanitarian Policy concentration and the Endeavor Foundation.

Outside of work, Liz spent the summer rollerskating around Brooklyn and reading an unreasonable amount of dystopian fiction.



Harry Crimi MPA ’21, UNESCO International Institute for Education Planning

“This summer, I am a data analytics intern with the International Institute for Education Planning within UNESCO. I am currently assisting with their ‘Education and Cities 2030’ research project, where I am using Python to perform quantitative and qualitative analysis on a sample of member cities to analyze municipal level capacity and autonomy over different aspects of education planning. In the context of COVID-19, cities are tasked with making decisions on education now more than ever, and it is increasingly important to understand the strengths and limitations that individual cities have in the context of decentralization to fulfill their education priorities.

At Columbia SIPA, I am pursuing a Masters of Public Administration with a concentration in Urban Policy and a Specialization in International Organizations. As a former educator from Philadelphia, I am passionate about how all cities can plan and implement quality education for their citizens. My internship and SIPA experiences are providing me the tools to realize this passion in an international context.” — Harry Crimi

Avantika Thakur MPA-DP ’21, UNICEF Uzbekistan

“I spent the summer in New York interning remotely with UNICEF Uzbekistan as a Harriman Institute Civil Society Graduate Fellow. I worked with the Chief of Education on large scale systemic reforms. I documented UNICEF’s best practices in early childhood education across different areas such as curriculum, assessments, teacher training and public private partnership. I supported in conducting a national training on assessments and creating a cultural literacy mapping for secondary education. I analysed survey data on knowledge and practices on early childhood education during Covid19 to derive policy insights. Despite the 9 hour difference I felt welcomed and connected to Tashkent thanks to the UNICEF team.

This experience has helped me better understand what role I can play in helping children learn. I hope I can imbibe these learnings into my second year at SIPA.

Besides work, I spent the summer exploring the city, cooking new recipes and playing the guitar.” — Avantika Thakur

Amanda Abrom MIA ’21, Sustainable Development Solutions Network Global Schools Program

“This summer, I interned at the Sustainable Development Solutions Network with the Global School Program, in order to design a new Advocacy program to help schools interage the SDGs, Global Citizenship, and 21st Century Skills within school curriculum and operations. This included designing a Teachers Handbook, a Schools Toolkit, Activities Guides, and more for 1,000 school communities in 80 countries. I also had the opportunity to pursue summer research through the UN/IO Specialization on the topic: SDG Target 4.7 and Teacher Education. For this project, I was able to analyze data from 400+ community volunteers working with Global Schools and interview/survey teachers on their knowledge, behaviors, and attitudes around education for sustainable development. My work will continue this Fall by developing a teacher training, launching the Advocacy program, and monitoring teacher’s work in school communities. This internship gave me the ability to pursue my passion for education and the experience to apply my skills on an international scale.” — Amanda Abrom