2018-2019 Contributors

Julia Chung, MPA 2019
Concentration: Urban and Social Policy
Specialization: Technology, Media and Communications
Hometown: New Jersey

Julia Chung was born and raised in New Jersey but hopes to be considered an honorary New Yorker. After graduating from Vassar College with a BA in Sociology and a minor in Asian Studies, Julia worked at various nonprofits in New York City on issues including housing, immigration, education, and civic engagement. Before SIPA, Julia spent four years working at various nonprofits in New York City, focusing on immigration advocacy and civic engagement.  After working on various grassroots-level campaigns, she decided that the best way to serve the community was to first learn how to create better policies and how to better include multiple voices and communities in policy-making.


Dylan Hoey, MPA 2019
Concentration: Urban and Social Policy
Specialization: Technology, Media and Communications
Hometown: Wisconsin

Prior to SIPA, Dylan worked for his Congresswoman and interned with refugee resettlement organizations in Chicago and Istanbul. He was recently awarded the U.S. State Department’s Thomas R. Pickering Fellowship, and after graduating will join the U.S. Foreign Service. Dylan ultimately decided to attend SIPA because he valued Columbia’s commitment to diversity and SIPA’s strengths as a leading school for international affairs and urban studies. While at SIPA, Dylan has primarily taken classes on good governance and urban leadership in the hopes that he can one day assist developing nations in the fight against corruption. Dylan recommends that students reflect on what they want in their career, and really consider if SIPA, or graduate school in general, is the experience they need to accomplish their professional and personal goals. He likes to think of an application like a narrative that has led the applicant to a fork in the road; the sum of their academic, professional and personal experiences has led them to this moment and now graduate school is the next natural step in the journey.

Kier Joy, 2nd year EPD studentKier Joy, MIA 2019
Concentration: Urban and Social Policy
Specialization: International Conflict Resolution

Raised a military brat, Kier has lived all over the U.S. and in the UK. He graduated from the University of Georgia in 2017 with a dual degree in International Affairs and Political Science. During undergrad, Kier worked as the director of a state-level legislative research fellowship, applying his passion for policy and progressiveness to legislative issues. Also in undergrad, he studied abroad at the University College London and spent a summer in Washington D.C. as a Rangel Scholar. Kier is also a 2017 Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Fellowship recipient under the United States Department of State. Through this position, he has spent a summer working as a foreign policy fellow on the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, Western Hemisphere Subcommittee and spent a summer interning in the political section at the US Embassy in Mexico City. Upon graduating from SIPA, Kier will join the Foreign Service as a Political Foreign Service Officer. He hopes to have a life-long career in the Foreign Service and become a U.S. ambassador to a post-conflict country. In his free time, Kier likes to listen to music, attend concerts and music festivals, and explore new restaurants in the city.

Samantha Taylor, MIA 2019
Concentration: International Security Policy
Specialization: International Conflict Resolution
Hometown: Illinois

Samantha is a native of the Chicago suburbs, and as such, she believes deep-dish pizza is “real” pizza despite what New Yorkers will tell you. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2013 with a dual degree in Political Science and Global Studies. Prior to attending SIPA Samantha lived in Washington D.C. where she worked as a legal assistant for Sidley Austin LLP in their International Trade and Arbitration division. After three years working in the legal field, Samantha wanted to transition into the policy field in order to better understand the implications of foreign policy on peacebuilding and conflict resolution. While at SIPA, Samantha studies international security policy and conflict resolution, and finds the unique blend of theoretical and practical coursework has helped her develop a critical understanding of these implications as well as the necessary framework to apply her learning in the field. When she is not studying, Samantha enjoys watching old movies, finding new restaurants to try, and exploring all this city has to offer.

Niara Valerio, 2nd year MPA - IFEP & GPP student

Niara Valerio, MPA 2019
Concentration: International Finance and Economic Policy
Specialization: Gender and Public Policy
Hometown: New York City

Prior to enrolling at SIPA, Niara worked as an Investment Intern at Women’s World Banking Capital Partners and served as Economic Affairs Adviser to the Permanent Observer Mission of the African Union. She has a strong interest in women’s economic empowerment and hopes to work for either a venture capital or private equity fund after graduation. She recently started her own ed-tech company, Purpose Tutors, which provides test prep and mentorship to underserved students in the South Bronx. Her hope is to gain the experience to one day start her own fund to invest in female and minority led companies. Niara completed her undergraduate degree at Harvard University where she studied Economics and Government and graduated from SIPA in December 2018.

"The most global public policy school, where an international community of students and faculty address world challenges."

—Merit E. Janow, Dean, SIPA, Professor of Practice, International and Economic Law and International Affairs

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