State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

MPA in Environmental Science and Policy Welcomes the Class of 2013

Members of the ESP class of 2013 getting acquainted over breakfast.

On Tuesday, May 29, the Master of Public Administration in Environmental Science and Policy (MPA-ESP) program hosted an orientation day to welcome its eleventh cohort of students. 71 students representing a diverse array of academic and professional backgrounds attended the event, which delved into the program’s curriculum and purpose and provided some icebreakers for the cohort to become better acquainted. The orientation also hosted presentations from various offices throughout the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) including Financial Aid, Health Services, and Career Services. Overall, the event was well received by the new students who were just as excited to learn about each other as they were to begin their studies. The 71 new students join us from 16 different countries and hold undergraduate degrees from 59 different institutions.

“I was inspired to find such a diversity of backgrounds, experiences and professional interests among my fellow students,” stated incoming ESP student Hannah Thonet-Bermudez. “From our early conversations at orientation, I feel confident that we will use our individual differences to develop and strengthen our collective skills as future sustainability leaders, and make some lifelong friends along the way.”

Meg Heenehan, the Executive Director of the Office of Career Services at SIPA, discusses the career search process with incoming ESP students.

Steve Cohen, the Program Director, discussed the degree’s intended vision, purpose and curriculum, while the program’s Assistant Director, Sarah Tweedie, held an open discussion between members of the MPA-ESP class of 2012 and the incoming students. Alison Miller, Deputy Executive Director of the Earth Institute and a member of the ESP class of 2011, moderated an alumni panel for the new class to see some of the career paths that ESP graduates have pursued.

After the presentations, a reception was held for the students to mingle with other members of the cohort, ESP alumni, and the program’s faculty and staff. “ESP students are an impressive bunch, and it is exciting to meet each class for the first time at the orientation event,” said faculty member Jason Smerdon. “They bring to campus a diverse and admirable range of experiences that make teaching and interacting with them a pleasure throughout the program.  This year’s class is no exception and I was happy to have the chance to meet our newest group of exceptional students.”

ESP students mingling at the post-orientation reception.

Students in the MPA in Environmental Science and Policy program enroll in a year-long, 54-credit program offered at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, in partnership with the Earth Institute. Throughout this one year program, students are immersed in courses that combine Columbia University’s hands-on approach to teaching public policy and administration with pioneering thinking about the environment. During the summer semester, students learn the fundamentals of environmental science, while the fall and spring semesters focus on teaching the policy and economics necessary to becoming successful environmental analysts and managers. The 71 students come from a wide variety of backgrounds ranging from Hospitality to Engineering and come to us from 16 different countries. Please visit our website to learn more about the program.

Banner featuring a collage of extreme heat images.

Recent record-breaking heat waves have affected communities across the world. The Extreme Heat Workshop will bring together researchers and practitioners to advance the state of knowledge, identify community needs, and develop a framework for evaluating risks with a focus on climate justice. Register by June 15

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