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Student Profile: Stav Gilutz

StavGilutzFor Stav Gilutz, the MPA in Environmental Science and Policy program offered the perfect mix of hard sciences and networking opportunities to complement her legal background and interest in environmental activism. Upon completion of the program, she hopes to apply her skills to management of an environmental non-profit.

1. What drew you to the Master of Public Administration in Environmental Science and Policy program (MPA-ESP)?
Environmental protection has always been a passion of mine but it took me a while to decide to focus my career on solving environmental problems. Once I realized that this is what I wanted to do in my professional life, I knew I was missing two key elements – scientific literacy and a networking hub, which is why the MPA ESP program was such a perfect fit.

2. What were you doing before you started the program?
Up until the MPA-ESP program my career shifted between working on economic, human rights and environmental legislation in Israel’s Ministry of Justice, and community organizing at Harvard University Office for Sustainability. In the meantime, I also gave legal counsel to various environmental NGOs in the renewable energy and water conservation fields and raised my two children, a job I share with my husband.

3. What area of environmental policy and management are you most interested in?
Environmental activism and education are my primary interests. I think that the main challenge the environmental movement faces is how to make people care enough about these issues to take the political action necessary. I see a strong link between the degradation of the environment and the economic systems that we live by. That is why I choose to spend a lot of my time in the MPA-ESP program promoting the divestment from fossil fuel companies campaign, organizing events and leading a delegation of SIPA students to Israel to provide a first-hand experience of environmental policy problems and solutions.

4. What is your favorite class in the MPA-ESP program so far, and why?
The summer semester of the program as a whole was one amazing and empowering experience. As a lawyer I feared that I would be completely out of water learning chemistry and climatology, but I discovered that the professors we had were not only some of the best scientists at Columbia, but also very good at helping students like me acquire a scientific background and learn to appreciate it tremendously within a short period of time.

5. What do you plan to do after you complete the MPA-ESP program?
After the completion of the program I see myself working in a managerial position at a well-established environmental non-profit and climbing up the ladder to become an influential policymaker. I am hoping to help build the political momentum and capacity necessary to tackle our problematic reliance on natural resource extraction and other unsustainable practices in the modern economy.


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.

Since it began in 2002, the MPA in Environmental Science and Policy program has given students the hands-on experience, and the analytical and decision-making tools to implement effective environmental and sustainable management policies. The program’s 741 graduates have advanced to jobs in domestic and international environmental policy, working in government, private and non-profit sectors. Their work involves issues of sustainability, resource use and global change, in fields focused on air, water, climate, energy efficiency, food, agriculture, transportation and waste management. They work as consultants, advisers, project managers, program directors, policy analysts, teachers, researchers and environmental scientists and engineers.

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Columbia campus skyline with text Columbia Climate School Class Day 2024 - Congratulations Graduates

Congratulations to our Columbia Climate School MA in Climate & Society Class of 2024! Learn about our May 10 Class Day celebration. #ColumbiaClimate2024

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