Archive for selfie

Happy New Year from us to you!

Earlier in the semester, you met some of our student PAs (Program Assistants) and read their posts over the last few months.  Since we’re beginning the new year, we thought we would share some advice (and selfies – for laughs) from the rest of the SIPA Admissions &Financial Aid team.

Meet the team:

grace blogJust call me Grace.

I am many things to many people.  I would rather be… better at all of it within normal “waking” hours.   For now, I am content drinking lots of coffee and not sleeping.

My advice is simple:  Don’t count yourself out before you try.  BE HONEST with purpose.  And plan, plan, plan.

I love the passion, the drive, the hard work, the dedication, and the compassion of everyone who make up the SIPA community… but I am not so much in love with the IAB elevators — wish someone would do something about them.



My name is David.

I am spending the holidays at home in New Jersey, which isn’t a bad place, but I would rather be spending them in Paris.

My best financial aid advice is a) create a budget and stick to it, b) if you must borrow student loans, take the time to learn all of your repayment options, and c) spend time looking for external funding sources, there are a lot out there.

What I like most about SIPA is that I can call our students “do-gooders” without being sarcastic or ironic.  Students come to SIPA because they truly want to make the world a better place.



I am still me. I would rather be TARZAN.

My advice:  The personal statement is by far the most integral part of the application process. Applicants should be prepared to discuss their goals, their accomplishments, and their reasons for seeking a degree at SIPA.

What do you like most about SIPA?  Sense of community and working with SIPA students. SIPA students are extremely talented and committed to fixing problems around the world- After all, SIPA is the incubator for global leaders.


Jennifer a.k.a. “Milk Stealer”jennifer

“I AM a Financial Aid Officer.  I WOULD RATHER BE a Kardashian.”

My financial aid advice:  You can never spend too much time searching for outside funding.  The more effort you put in to researching and applying for outside scholarships, the more likely you are to receive them.

What do you like most about SIPA? The students.  I have found SIPA students to be the most kind, caring and passionate students I have ever worked with.  It is a pleasure getting to know them and assisting them through the financial aid process.


Colette SelfieMy name is Colette and I am the Student Support Services Coordinator in the Admissions Office at SIPA.

I was trying to think of some words to boost your spirits for the New Year and thought that this simple tip might just do it:  Dream big dreams, but at the same time, search for, explore and exploit all possibilities-Life is full of them!

I want you to know that I follow my own advice–for example, though I love my job at SIPA, there are times that I would rather be doing something else.  One of my dreams is to be the Public Relations person for the New York Yankees… My job would be sooo easy because I would have been assigned to represent retired players like the great Mariano Rivera and the incomparable, Bernie Williams! I know… Right? Dream Job! But, seriously, one of the things that I like most about SIPA is the opportunity to meet people from many parts of the US and those from all corners of the globe.  The cultures, languages and zest for learning they bring with them are truly inspiring.  So, to everyone who will be joining us at SIPA, I look forward to meeting you and to being inspired.



“I am working hard. I would rather be looking at pictures of kittens.”

My admissions advice for a prospective candidate:  Don’t cheat on your TOEFL – English fluency is pretty important here.  We will KNOW.

What do you like most about SIPA?  Our lovely building.



Maggie  (Margaret is my full name, but don’t call me that…please).  Office nickname: Pittboss

I am an Admissions and Financial Aid counselor. I would rather be…. A PEGASUS!!

My admissions tip?  OUTLINE, OUTLINE, OUTLINE. If you think of the application (requirements) like an outline that you would use for a research paper or thesis, you can be more certain that all of your information is presented in a cohesive manner. One tip is to use the personal statement questions to state your career goals and to clearly articulate what you wish to accomplish after obtaining your degree from SIPA. It is incredibly important that the committee be able to understand what your motivations are and to understand why you want to do pursue that particular area. The story of how and/or why you came to be involved in the field is a great way to honestly describe your internal motivation and most importantly, your PASSION.

It is REALLY easy for applicants to THINK they are saying what they WANT to say when in fact these statements allude to an idea that is not actually articulated or it might just be too general (i.e. “I want to help people” without any details of how or why). Therefore, identifying the main idea (what you want to do and why) of your application is key and you should be able to write this in one or two sentences, just like a thesis statement. The other aspects of the application and the information provided then are used to help support what you want to do and why. Above all, be sure that you answer the questions fully and follow the directions.

BONUS tip: do everything you can to keep yourself calm and focused- if your recommendation letter might come in late, then be sure ALL of your materials are submitted and be sure to communicate with us for unusual circumstances but DO NOT panic because over-notifying your referee and calling our office in a panic, isn’t going to change the circumstances as they are now. Oh- and submit your application when you are ready AND before the deadline, do NOT wait for a letter of recommendation or other item to be received before you do so.

I sincerely enjoy working with SIPA’s applicants (and current students). I am ALWAYS learning such interesting things from people that I talk to but hearing each person’s “story” and helping them achieve their goals, even if it is just by BELIEVING in them, is the reward and reason I love doing this! The transformation of a prospective applicant, to applicant, to student and then to see them graduate and then a successful Alumni is amazing and I feel privileged to be a part of that process!

Missing from post… Claudio Vargas.  He was taking some time off to recharge.

Wishing all of you a happy and productive new year!


"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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