The SIPA Office of Alumni and Development is pleased to share A View from the Class, a SIPA stories series featuring current SIPA students, recently graduated alumni, and faculty.
Hello, I am Florentina Pruteanu, a second-year Master of Public Administration (MPA) candidate concentrating in Economic and Political Development with a specialization in Data Analytics and Quantitative Analysis. What were you doing prior to attending SIPA? After earning my bachelor’s degree in communications and public affairs from the University of Bucharest, Romania, I worked in the private sector in public relations and marketing before switching to advocacy and policy design with an NGO and in the public sector. Before starting at SIPA, I worked in the Romanian Parliament for three years as Chief of Staff to a woman parliament member, stewarding the passing of fourteen bills on issues such as equal opportunities, combating gender-based violence, improper child institutionalization, human trafficking, and equal access to education. Why did you choose SIPA? I wanted to tackle the problems I was trying to solve in my home country in a more profound and sustainable manner. When left ignored, challenges like poverty, gender-based violence, and lack of equal opportunity can become even greater threats to democracy than they already are. To drive that meaningful change, I felt I needed an improved skillset that SIPA could offer. I considered SIPA’s academic rigor essential to cementing a lot of the practical knowledge I already possessed. Moreover, all of the alumni with whom I spoke recommended SIPA because of the diversity and quality of the student body. After almost two years, I agree. Just being in the same classroom with talented people from diverse backgrounds, but with similar principles and interests, has confirmed that my decision to attend SIPA was the right choice for me.
What has been your experience at SIPA?SIPA has already opened many doors for my career, and despite COVID, I have been able to make the most of my experience. Last summer, I interned with CARE USA and the World Bank. Both internships helped shape my interests in international economic development. This semester, for my capstone workshop, I am part of a diverse team of SIPA students working with the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office to develop innovative financing for advancing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Mongolia. As part of the workshop, our team will be traveling to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia over spring break for fieldwork.
I have also been actively involved with some of SIPA’s student organizations and have worked as a Teaching Assistant (TA). I served as Co-president for the Columbia European Union Student Association, Vice President for the Gender Policy Working Group, and as a student representative for the Diversity Equity & Inclusion Committee. This semester, I am a TA for Quantitative Analysis, and last semester, I was a TA for Microeconomics and Policy Analysis. All of these experiences have helped me broaden my skill set and focus my interests.
What are your plans after SIPA?I hope to end up in a role that allows me to leverage my quantitative and qualitative skills to advance economic inclusion and empowerment for women.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Just a big thank you to my community and my support network at SIPA. I am grateful for the many classmates who have also become friends. Being a graduate student during COVID and the current aggression against Ukraine has shown me again that community support and solidarity are two of the most crucial aspects in our personal and professional life.
If you are interested in following Florentina’s SIPA journey and beyond, you can stay connected with her through LinkedIn