Why I Applied to SIPA – It All Started In High School

My path to studying at SIPA started from when I was a child. Growing up the Bronx, NY, I was surrounded by Spanish. I was fascinated by people speaking in a way that I did not understand. The sounds made me want to learn the language and its speakers. Once I entered 5th grade I began taking Spanish, and it was my favorite class. Having spent some of childhood in Jamaica and with my mother’s side of the family living there, I was traveling a good amount between Kingston and New York.

That Spanish class and the back-and-forth between countries began a love of other languages, cultures and traveling.

When I entered high school, I began to think what career path I would choose. My original plans included me becoming a forensic scientist or a occupational therapist. Teenage-Me liked solving mysteries and playing sports so I thought those professions would be fun (Adult-Me still likes those things). During freshman and sophomore year, I quickly learned that although I was good at Physics, Biology and Chemistry were not my strong suits. My less-than-stellar aptitude at the sciences dampened my scientist and therapist goals.

In my junior year, I was in a program that took high school students to Washington, D.C., to meet diplomats and Congressmembers to discuss diplomacy and national security. Meeting diplomats, learning about what they did and seeing how much they knew about the world left an impression on me. It was on this trip that I figured out I wanted to travel and learn more about the world. And the cherry on top, learning a language for work? I wanted to sign up immediately. Sadly you just can’t sign up for these kinds of positions.

From that point on in high school, I was researching undergraduate and graduate programs in international affairs focusing how to get into diplomacy. As my research into programs expanded, so did my interests in Latin America, which ended up as one of my undergraduate majors.

As I was leaving undergraduate, I was figuring out which field in international affairs I wanted to focus on. Economics had always interested me, but I always thought I was never good at quantitative/mathematical fields. After undergraduate, I spent some time working in the budgeting and finance in Boston. This experience helped me become more comfortable with the quantitative fields and pushed me to take the leap into studying economics.

When I was looking for programs, I wanted a broad one that had a strong economics background and IFEP won my heart. Also, the amount of course offerings at SIPA would allow me to learn about other policy fields. On top of this, with SIPA being in New York, I was able to come back home after living in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts for 10 years. I had missed the city.