As part of its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) efforts, SIPA has launched the DEI Alumni-Student Mentoring Initiative. This program was created in order to connect current SIPA students from historically underrepresented groups with alumni mentors. These alumni mentors have volunteered to help current SIPA students navigate their time at the university by providing professional and graduate school advice.

(Carolina Escalera standing to the left. Source: U.S. Consulate Surabaya)

My mentor is Carolina Escalera MPA ’13. She is currently learning Arabic for her upcoming assignment as the Political Officer in Tunis, Tunisia for the Department of State. Her previous assignments include spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic, Consular Officer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and as Public Affairs Officer in Surabaya, Indonesia.

As I’ll be joining the Department of State after graduation, my conversations with Carolina have mostly been about maximizing my time before entering the State Department and what I can expect as an entry-level foreign service officer. For some students, the mentor-mentee relationship has led to professional introductions in their field or in the field they hope to break into. For others, the focus has been in helping with resumes, interview preparation, and other professional advice.

Having extraordinary alumni, such as Carolina, come back and be involved in this mentorship program enriches the sense of community at SIPA. SIPA DEI Alumni-Student Mentoring Initiative helps students connect with former students and better prepare for life at SIPA and beyond.