New Student Photo Series #8

August 25th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

Hawa Ansary is an incoming Master of International Affairs student.  She will be concentrating in International Security Policy and plans to specialize on the Middle East.

Hawa Ansary, born and raised in Afghanistan moved to the United States in 2007 for college.  She has not been able to visit Afghanistan but her passion to give back and stay connected remains.   Hawa is currently working for the Embassy of Afghanistan.  As an Afghan woman who missed 5 years of her education under the rule of Taliban she is dedicated to help educate women not only in Afghanistan but around the globe.  Hawa has been working with the Muslim Women’s Association that promotes and provides access for the many unprivileged Muslim women in the U.S. She is also volunteering for Razia Rays of Hope Foundation, a non-profit organization that built and continues to fund the first school for girls in Ansary’s village, Day Saabz, Afghanistan.


Summer 2014:  Hawa Ansary and Former Afghan Ambassador to Bulgaria at a fundraising event showcasing traditional Afghan clothes.

Summer 2014: Hawa Ansary and Former Afghan Ambassador to Bulgaria at a fundraising event showcasing traditional Afghan clothes.



Great Moments at SIPA: 2013 – 2014

August 22nd, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

As we prepare for the start of the fall semester on September 2, check out our reel of video highlights from the past year: Watch now »

If you want to see what’s going on at SIPA, click here for our events calendar » .

And if you can’t be here, we also posts some of our events online.  Watch some of our past events online:  Watch now »


New Student Photo Series #7

August 20th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

We’re only a few days from Orientation.  Students are stopping by the office to “introduce” themselves.  And even though this new class is just starting, we feel like they’ve been around for a while.  We’ve gotten to know them during the admissions process so it’s very exciting to finally see all of them in person.

As we count down to Orientation, we’ll post the rest of the photo contributions from our new students so you may share their adventures before arriving at SIPA.

Our next submission comes from Bartosz Garbaczewski who will be pursuing his Master of International Affairs, concentrating in Energy and Environment and specializing in Advanced Economic and Policy Analysis.


This coming September I will officially join the family of  Columbia University | SIPA – a family of incredibly diverse backgrounds and experiences! I look forward to meeting you all, and sharing personal interests and passions, as well as  professional experiences in and beyond classrooms. 

As we all arrive in NYC and arrange for housing for the upcoming academic year, here are some facts about myself, which I would like to share.  I am originally from Poland where I spent the first twenty years of my life. Since the last nine years I studied, worked and lived in six countries around the globe including Germany, England, China, Canada, the Netherlands, and Qatar. My professional experience is in the energy industry, where I have spent four years working across downstream and upstream businesses in one of the world’s largest oil majors.  

As a keen traveler, I am sharing three photographs, which I took in Qatar, Thailand and most recently in Sri Lanka.

Cheers,  Bartosz


Qatar : "Stopping for a picture with camels in Al-Shahaniya in Qatar in March - a place where every visitor should stop to catch a camel race during the season..."

Qatar : “Stopping for a picture with camels in Al-Shahaniya in Qatar in March – a place where every visitor should stop to catch a camel race during the season…”


Sri Lanka : “Stilt fishermen fishing from their poles in Unawatuna in Sri Lanka presented a view worth capturing with my camera this July”


Thailand : “While visiting Thailand in May I visited Damnoen Floating Market – one of the most famous Thailand’s floating markets.”









New Student Photo Series #6

August 14th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

Max Arvid Anderson will be joining SIPA in two weeks.  He will be among 200+ new students pursuing the Master of International Affairs degree this fall.  Before beginning his studies, Max spent his summer in the Economic and Social Council Chamber at the UN Headquarters in New York.


The silly grin on my face is due to some over-the-top self satisfaction, the fatigue is due to spending the summer working. The picture was taken last month, when the draft resolution on General Assembly Revitalization was adopted by consensus in the Ad Hoc Working Group on GA Revitalization. The GA Revitalization process is a yearly affair (like so many things at the UN), and was formalised after the 2005 World Summit. This year I had the privilege to function as negotiator on behalf of the European Union and its Member States. The other main stake holders are the NAM, certain members of the Security Council and UN Member States who value the GA and the UN reform process. This year proved particularly difficult due to well known political sensitivities when it comes to the selection and appointment of the next UNSG, due to take place in 2016. On a more consensual note, we managed to agree that the Security Council elections for non-permanent members should take place earlier than October; to allow smaller UN Member States to adequately prepare for the two years they spend there.

International Student Funding: some resources for your search

August 8th, 2014 by Maggie Pittman

If you are an international student, you may be faced with some challenges in identifying funding sources available for studying in the US. But each year, approximately half of SIPA’s students are international, and each of them has found their own way to meet the costs associated with furthering their education overseas.

As you are probably aware, SIPA offers a number of scholarships for first year students, and scholarships and assistantships for students in their second year of study. All of these awards are available to international students. All applicants for admission are automatically considered for funding during their first year, and all interested students should apply for second year funding during the application period (typically early in the spring semester). Some international students borrow student loans from private lenders while studying here (loans from the US Government are not available to international students). For more information and a list of lenders that international students at Columbia University have had success with, click here. Please note lenders require international students to have a US citizen or permanent resident as a co-signer.
SIPA’s Financial Aid Office has an extensive database of external funding opportunities; while it is not designed only for international students, it does include many awards available to international students, and that is a criteria by which you can search the database.

We also recommend that students thoroughly investigate all forms of assistance from government or private sources in their own countries. Many international students at SIPA have been supported by their governments, employers or other agencies while studying here. There are also resources available from entities in the United States and elsewhere that may be helpful, and the following websites contain information that may be of use to international students seeking funding (and it’s not too early to start looking now for second year funding opportunities):

New SIPA Student Photo Series #5

August 1st, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

Orientation is in a few weeks so we’re going to share more of the New SIPA Student photos before all the new students arrive on campus and ask what happened to their submission — oops.

Today we have two submissions to share with you.  The first one is from Bartłomiej Walentyński, MPA 2016.  When you meet him call him Bartek.

Each year a student organization, which he was a member during his studies at Warsaw School of Economics, organizes a conference devoted to emerging markets (Emerging Markets Business Conference). This year they hosted this event at the Warsaw Stock Exchange and hosted students from Peru and India. It was great time to discuss many aspects of economic development not only with the students from different countries but also with prominent speakers (CEOs of banks, rating agencies, consultancies etc.).

Warsaw Stock Exchange

Warsaw Stock Exchange


Our second submission comes from Brazil.  Eloy Henrique Saraivade Oliveira, MPA 2016.  He had an opportunity to enjoy the World Cup in his home country and cheer for Brazil!

The below pictures were taken during the semifinals in Belo Horizonte (his home city).  It was a great time to get to meet new people and enjoy the party!

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 4

A word about official documents

July 31st, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

We are getting ready to release our 2015 application and some of the wording came into question… What do we mean “don’t mail transcripts to our office” when you are submitting an application?  This does not mean we don’t want to see them or that they are not reviewed by the Admissions Committee.  Actually, contrary to what we say about not sending your transcripts, we actually do need to receive official transcripts. eventually.  If you are admitted and decide to enroll at SIPA, official documents must be mailed and received by us before you may register for classes.

However, as an applicant, you may scan and upload unofficial transcripts to your application.  Your application will be reviewed with your unofficial records.  And you may be admitted with these records.  However, in order to enroll, we will need to verify your documents.  So please have your university or college send us official copies of your academic records (after you have been admitted).  This also applies to GRE, GMAT, TOEFL and IELTS scores.  These can all be entered by you into the application for review but again, they will need to be checked and verified with official records from ETS, GMAC, and the Cambridge Assessment Organization if you decide to enroll at SIPA.  Allowing you to upload and enter information into your application, allows us to process your application without unnecessary delays, then we can send them off to the Admissions Committee for review… so the fun may begin.

We offer enrolling students a few months to request and send in their official documents so no need to panic… Unless you’re a procrastinator and wait until a few weeks before Orientation (when course registration occurs).  Our Office of Student Affairs will put a hold on your account if we do not have a record of your official documents so you will not be able to register for classes… and isn’t one of the main reasons for coming here to take classes?

Key point:  Scan and upload unofficial documents for application review but don’t delay in having official documents sent to the Office of Admissions if you are admitted and plan to enroll.


New SIPA Student Photo Series #4

July 24th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

Our newest photographs submission comes from Adriana Popa, an incoming SIPA student (MIA 2016).

Originally from Romania, Adriana has lived, worked and studied on three continents and graduated with High Honors from Swarthmore College.  Upon graduation, she was awarded a Davis Project for Peace grant in India, where she worked for the summer of 2012. Currently residing in New York City, and working for the Global Institute at KKR, she is buying her time in the “real world” before returning to academia.

Diving the Reef Barrier in Belize

Diving the Reef Barrier in Belize

At the Lamanai Mayan ruins in Belize

At the Lamanai Mayan ruins in Belize

Skydiving over Long Island

Skydiving over Long Island

Flying over Fire Island

Flying over Fire Island

Seeple Snapshot: Dariela Sosa

July 23rd, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

Students__Dariela Sosa

The Journalist: Dariela Sosa

Age: 28
Nationality: Venezuela
Program: MPA 2014


Snow can be seen out the window falling over Manhattan, as Dariela Sosa addresses her tens of thousands of listeners in Caribbean-bathed Venezuela. “Good afternoon my friends we are airing from the City of New York your program ‘Hoy No es Un Día Cualquiera’ (Today is Not an Ordinary Day),” says Sosa before introducing her guest today, Paul Lagunes, a SIPA professor specializing in the study of corruption.

Her one-hour interview show is recorded at her studio on the 14th floor of the International Affairs Building and aired on Radio Caracas Radio, Venezuela’s oldest radio station. She started presenting the show daily in 2011 and producers decided to keep her as their radio host on Fridays from New York, when she moved from Caracas to start her degree at SIPA.

Over the last two years, Sosa has conducted interviews with some leading Latin American academics and politicians as well as with some of her fellow students. She says that the idea of her show is to use Columbia University as a platform for important ideas in the Venezuelan debate. She wishes to work in the field of communication and development after her graduation but would like to continue with her show. “Running the show has allowed me to stay connected to Venezuela and to link what I have learned in the master’s program with the necessities of my country”.

A SIPA Faculty Interview

July 17th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

Eric Verhoogen, an associate professor of international and public affairs and economics, followed a somewhat unorthodox path to SIPA. “After college at Harvard, I was a high-school teacher in Los Angeles, and then tried my hand at journalism in Berkeley and at the Nation. Then I was a labor organizer in Minnesota and Ohio. And then I started grad school at UMass Amherst and later transferred to Berkeley.” After earning his PhD in 2004, he came directly to SIPA, where he received tenure in 2010.

In a study of soccer ball manufacturers in Pakistan, Professors Eric Verhoogen of SIPA and Amit Khandelwal, Gary Winnick and Martin Granoff of Columbia Business School found that how workers are paid, and whether or not incentives are offered, can promote or stifle the adoption of a new technology. Below were some additional information Verhoogen shared about the study and some other things he’s working on.

You found clearly that misaligned incentives can compromise the adoption of otherwise beneficial technology. Why is this significant, and what are the challenges inherent in a study like this?

It’s an interesting, important question for economic development and growth more generally. It’s also a hard question to study because it’s hard to observe technology use by manufacturing firms and rare to have information about the actual cost and benefits of technology.

This is partly because technologies vary a lot across firms, and particularly across sectors. And unlike other types of data, it’s hard to collect via survey—sometimes firms don’t want to share information. Economists have other methods to estimate productivity, but they’re all pretty indirect.

Why soccer balls? I realize it’s just a coincidence that we’re in the middle of the World Cup tournament.

With soccer-ball producers [in Sialkot, Pakistan], you have a pretty large number of firms, 135, producing a standardized product using similar technology. So the same basic production process is used by large and small firms alike. We thought we could introduce a new technology that would be useful to these guys, to producers, and focus on the diffusion process.

As the Columbia News story explains, Verhoogen and his team developed a fabric-cutting die that would enable producers to use fabric more efficiently, creating an opportunity to cut costs and increase profits.

Is it unusual that your team of researchers gave the manufacturers a technological advancement? Does it impact the study somehow?

In development economics, there’s been a broad trend over 15 or 20 years, of having more of these experimental interventions. There’s a large literature on technology adoption in agriculture where researchers share information about improved production processes. What’s more unusual about our study is that we are focusing on larger manufacturing firms and especially that we invented the technology we gave out.

So what happened when you introduced the new technology?

We gave the dies out in May 2012, and to be honest we were expecting very fast adoption. We were planning to focus on the diffusion process, seeing how the technology spread to firms we didn’t give it to.

We had evidence to indicate that the technology was working, that it was more efficient, but after 15 months only six firms had adopted the new technology. This was a puzzlingly low adoption rate, so we decided to write a paper about that.

The number-one reason firms didn’t adopt the new technology was that the employees were unwilling to use it. What became clear was that the cutters actually cutting the material are paid a piece rate per pentagon or hexagon. They want to go as fast as possible and don’t care about waste.

Our new technology slowed them down initially, certainly for the first month or two, and given their wage contract they have no incentive to adopt new technology. So we formulated this hypothesis that the misalignment of incentives was a key constraint to adoption.

We did a second experiment to probe this—we explained the misalignment and said we would pay a lump-sum bonus of one month’s salary, about $150, to the cutter if in one month he could demonstrate competence in the new technology.

The incentive program led to a 26 percent increase in probability of adoption of the new treatment. That such a small incentive targeted at workers could have a significant effect indicated to us that the misalignment of incentives is why the technology wasn’t being adopted.

Can you elaborate on the significance of your findings, and the study?

One piece of the big picture is that you have to have employee buy-in. Workers will only cooperate in the adoption of new technologies if they expect to gain—and if they don’t cooperate, they can effectively block it.

Also, by introducing the innovation we were able to actually observe the process and statistically distinguish between different hypotheses, as opposed to in case studies. This was a particularly clean setting, and we have a strong argument that the new technology is beneficial for essentially all firms.

I think this sort of thing happens all the time in many different settings. We happened to be able to observe it in one setting, but we think there are many incremental changes that could be made in different settings, and make a big difference.

Traditional economists sometimes say there can’t be a $100 bill on the sidewalk because if there were, someone would pick it up. We think this is a $100 bill on the sidewalk, but firms aren’t picking it up.

You’re also the director of SIPA’s Center for Development Economics and Policy. How has CDEP been received since it formally launched in November 2013?

There’s a lot of enthusiasm about development economics at SIPA. There’s been a great response from students and faculty members, and also from people outside SIPA.

We have a couple of initiatives that are gaining momentum. One is a human capital initiative for human education and health issues—what leads someone to acquire education, what factors shape education and health, and what are the consequences of that for a labor market. Another is our firms and innovations initiative, which examines issues around industrial upgrading in developing countries— the question of why some countries can grow and thrive in world economy and some less so.

Another coincidence with the World Cup… you’re also pursuing research in Brazil.

In Brazil, with support from the President’s Global Innovation Fund, I have a project on the interaction between labor market regulation and innovation at the firm level.

The question is, how do firms respond to labor market regulation? Economists tend to think of the effect of labor regulation as uniformly negative, but we’re investigating whether there are less familiar but important positive effects on firm behavior.

For example, the minimum wage in Brazil has risen a lot. The minimum wage affects the relative cost of hiring different types of workers, more low-skill than high-skill. If you give firms incentive to upgrade the composition of their workforce that may in turn induce them to use higher quality inputs, to produce higher quality outputs for sale to richer people in Brazil or richer export markets.

You’ve lived and worked in many different and interesting places. After almost 10 years here, how does SIPA measure up?

I very much like being at SIPA and teaching SIPA students because it keeps me grounded in the world. Our students have experience in the world and they’re planning to go back and be involved in things on the ground—I think it’s healthy and stimulating for me to be exposed to them and to be at a place that respects policy-oriented work. I got into this job to make the world a better place and I haven’t given up hope that that’s possible.

No one likes to talk about it, but it’s important to get accurate tuition information

July 16th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

SIPA, like most schools at Columbia, has its own Financial Aid Office to assist our students.  However, the office responsible for posting charges on student accounts, billing, collecting payments and issuing refunds, is Student Financial Services (SFS), a centralized office serving the entire University.  SIPA’s Financial Aid Office does not send you your tuition bills, collect payments, or the other procedures mentioned above.

The SFS website can be found at

Some important information related to your bill and your student account:

  • SFS will send an email to your Columbia email address (your UNI) on or about August 11 with a link to a preliminary bill, which must be paid in full by September 12.  You can see the billing schedule at
  • Accounts not paid in full by the due date are subject to late fees, which are assessed monthly.
  • Interest-free monthly payment plans are available (see
  • Financial aid that has been fully processed is credited to your account.  Please respond to all requests for documentation from the Financial Aid Office promptly, as failure to do so will prevent your aid from being credited to your account.
  • The state of New York requires all full-time students to have health insurance.  Your bill will include a charge for health insurance, which can be waived if you have equivalent coverage.  For more information, visit
  • If your aid in any semester exceeds your tuition and fees, you will receive a refund of that credit balance approximately one to two weeks into the semester.  Please plan your non-tuition expenses (rent, food, transportation, etc) accordingly.
  • You can receive refunds payments for which you qualify by direct deposit (recommended, otherwise you’ll receive them by a hard copy check through the mail); go to Student Services Online (SSOL) at to set this up.
  • SFS accepts electronic checks for payment via SSOL, but does not accept credit cards.
  • If your bill is being paid by a sponsor or third party, please see for important instructions.
  • See SFS’s website for mailing addresses if you are paying by mail.
  • Remember that the federal government deducts fees from loan disbursements, 1.073% for the Direct Unsubsidized Loan, and 4.292% on the Graduate PLUS loan.

Seeple Snapshot: Amon Simutowe

July 15th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA


The Chess Star: Amon Simutowe

Nationality: Zambia

Age: 32

MIA 2014

While many SIPA students will go on to have remarkable professional careers, it is not that common to meet one who has already made history. At the age of 27 in 2009, Amon Simutowe became the first Chess Grandmaster from Sub-Saharan Africa. The title Grandmaster is awarded to world-class chess players by the world chess organization FIDE. The achievement of this Zambian student is all the more remarkable considering he taught himself at the relatively late age of 10 and grew up in a country with little tradition of chess competitions. In Zambia, soccer is the most popular sport, but in 2001, Simutowe was named “Sportsman of the Year” by the Zambian Sports Council.

His victories were featured on the front pages of Zambian newspapers, something that gave domestic visibility to chess. “I cannot complain of the attention and support I got,” he says. While at SIPA, Simutowe has been writing an instructional book with the aim of encouraging kids in Africa to develop a liking for the game. The book was released after his graduation in May. Although he is not currently playing at tournament level, chess takes over much of his free time. “I usually play on Friday evenings, to get my brain to relax”, he says. “I cannot stop playing chess, for me it’s like an addiction”.

Summerfest 2014 in NEW YORK CITY

July 14th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

Before the summer is over, you need to attend at least one Summerfest.  You may have missed the other two in DC but you still have one more chance to beat the heat in New York.

What?  You still haven’t figured out what Summerfest is?  It’s just the event of the summer and place to be if you are interested in a career in international affairs.

Join us for an evening and we promise you will meet alumni, students and staff from five top graduate programs in international affairs and learn about the graduate programs, career opportunities and network with professionals in international affairs.

Representatives from the following graduate international affairs programs will be available:

  • Columbia University – School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA)
  • Georgetown University – Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service
  • Johns Hopkins University – The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)
  • Princeton University – The Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs
  • Tufts University – The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy

We’re being hosted by the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College, 47-49 East 65th Street in New York City (10065 – if you need the postal code to plug into your GPS).

Be there on Wednesday, July 16 (that’s in 2 days).  Doors open at 5:30pm… stay for a few minutes or until the “party” is over at 8:00pm.  Admissions representatives (and alumni/students) will be available all evening.  Bonus:  there will also be two alumni panel Q&A presentations at 6:00pm and 7:00pm.

So what are you waiting for?  RSVP and share this with friends and colleagues.

See you at Summerfest 2014!

New SIPA Student Photo Series #3

July 10th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

As an entrepreneur and consultant, Jean Suhas has traveled across Europe, South America, North America, Asia, North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa.

But what he encountered in Hanoi, Vietnam was worthy of a photo submission.  You don’t see one of these every day.

Jean is an incoming Master of International Affairs candidate.

Jean Suhas


Applying for graduate school? Things you can start doing now.

July 9th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

You’re thinking about going back to graduate school?  Graduate school can be a rewarding experience where you can explore, engage and think… while establishing yourself for career advancement or  job opportunities in your chosen path of study.  But keep in mind graduate school is a huge commitment and it does not guarantee that you will end up with the job of your dreams (at least not immediately).

If you have made up your mind about going to graduate school, here are a couple of things to do before applying:

Research graduate school programs that may interest you and find out if you are qualified or not.  You should also find out what are their requirements and deadlines to be considered for admission.  A prospective candidate showed me her color-coordinated spreadsheet to keep track of the different programs, deadlines, requirements and contact information — this is a great way to keep yourself organized especially if you are considering several programs.  Go to fairs, speak to admissions counselors, attend information sessions, visit the school and sit in a class or two.

Make sure you meet all the requirements to apply.

Ask your professors and supervisors if they would be willing to write a letter of recommendation on your behalf. Ask early in the applications process so they have as much time as needed to prepare the letter. Provide them with the information of where to send the letter.  Also send them your personal statement and your resume.

I mentioned personal statement; think about what it is that you wish to convey to the Admissions Committees.  Your statement/essay will help you tell your story and why a particular program/school is the best place for you to get your education given your goals and interests — tailor the essays to the program/school you are applying.  It also gives the committees an opportunity to get to know you more personally.  Be sure to cover all the points that the school asks you to address in your essays.  And most importantly proofread before submitting them.

Prepare your resume/CV. You should also include any academic awards or scholarships you’ve earned.

Request your official transcripts from all your Universities/colleges you have attended, but keep in mind, you may submit unofficial scanned copies for review — so no rush on getting the official transcripts to us immediately.

And remember it’s never too soon to start researching scholarship opportunities.  SIPA keeps a database of external scholarships we hear about that are relevant for our students, so begin there.  Graduate school can be expensive so thinking about your finances early is always smart.

PLUS Loan information

July 8th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

Some SIPA students find that they need additional resources beyond the $20,500 annual limit of an Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan and other aid they have received.  The loan most SIPA students turn to is the Federal Graduate PLUS Loan.  This loan (which is credit-based) can be borrowed up to the full cost of attendance, including living expenses, minus any other loans and aid; please note that like all aid from the US federal government, it is only available to US citizens and permanent residents.

To start an application: Log in to the Net Partner portal at and go to the Messages tab.  There you will see a section labeled “Unmet Financial Need” that includes instructions for the Grad PLUS loan.  Follow the link to the Graduate PLUS Loan Request and Credit Authorization form.  That will bring you to a Google document that will just take a few minutes to complete and submit.  You will receive an approval response in a few days directly from the US Department of Education.

After receiving the approval, log in to to complete the PLUS Master Promissory Note and Entrance Counseling.

Some private lenders offer similar loans.  While their interest rates may be lower, they also don’t include as many repayment benefits or flexibility, including not qualifying for Public Service Loan Forgiveness.  But if you’re only borrowing a small amount, some private loans may fit your needs; click here for some suggestions.


July 4th office hours

July 3rd, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

In celebration of Independence Day in the U.S., our offices will be closed tomorrow July 4.  We will resume regular office hours from 9:00am to 5:00pm on Monday, July 7.

Have a happy and safe weekend.

New SIPA Student Photo Series #2

June 24th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

Today’s submission comes from Karen Mustiga, MPA 2016.

Karen was born in Lima, Peru and immigrated to the U.S. in the 1990s.  Her disposition for public service and helping out the less fortunate comes from her roots and keen awareness to third-world poverty, political turmoil, and immigrant experience.  She plans to concentrate her studies in Urban and Social Policy.  We look forward to welcoming Karen to SIPA this fall.


Mallorca 2014

Photo taken in Mallorca:  A photo of my friend Tom and I in Mallorca this past May. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting most of Spain while teaching English in Madrid and Mallorca was definitely a trip worth taking. As a Florida native, I was impressed by the breathtakingly beautiful beaches and stunning cliffs.

New SIPA Student Photo/Story Series #1

June 20th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

We kick off the 2014 new student summer photo (and story) series today with a photo submission from incoming MIA student, Supriya Kumar.  Ms. Kumar, a global nomad who has lived in five countries on three continents will be joining SIPA this fall.

Photo taken at the Taj Mahal, in Agra, India

Photo taken at the Taj Mahal, in Agra, India


Here is a photo of my friend Susan and I at the Taj Mahal this June. Words cannot really describe the overwhelming beauty of this structure – it is quite surely a sight that has to be seen in person to really appreciate, and I’m so grateful that I was lucky to pay it a visit this summer.



If you are an incoming SIPA student and have photos or stories you would like to share with our community, please send them to



New SIPA Student (photo/story) Series 2014

June 16th, 2014 by Columbia SIPA

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:  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.