State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School


Introducing the Environmental Science and Policy Class of 2019

By Lauren Harper

Earlier this week, the Earth Institute and Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs welcomed the Environmental Science and Policy Class of 2019. Lauren Harper, MPA-ESP Class of 2018, finds out more.

The ESP program thrives on collaboration and strong relationships between the cohort, which they start building at Orientation.

The graduate class consists of 57 students who will combat today’s most pressing sustainability and environmental problems using the knowledge they gain through the interdisciplinary MPA-ESP curriculum. A third of the cohort is made up of international students, which is the largest of any previous ESP cohort in the past 17 years. At Orientation, the new class met 12 of the 17 faculty members that will teach the core curriculum of the program. Steve Cohen, director of the MPA in Environmental Science and Policy, welcomed the Class of 2019 by providing them with an overview of the environmental and sustainability issues of the past, the importance of environmental education, and the need for further collaboration within the industry to make the world a better place.

A third of the 2019 cohort is international, the largest percentage in the ESP program so far.

Over this next year, the students will learn how to communicate complex issues concisely to policy makers, analyze and influence policy, and develop strategic plans to solve various environmental problems.

The program will kick off with a summer of science where the students will acquire a base of natural sciences to later apply to shape political solutions. In the fall and spring semesters, the students will continue with the core program curriculum and have the opportunity to select electives to customize their educational experience.

The Class of 2019 at the Alma Mater statue.

The students in the program are gathered here to complete this professional degree because they care about public health and the natural environment. Upon completion, with their passion for sustainability and the professional training the program offers, there is no doubt that the new cohort will shape future environmental policy, joining the 750+ alums that are already working to do so.

Follow the MPA-ESP Class of 2019 on social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.

Lauren Harper is an alum of the MPA in Environmental Science and Policy, Class of 2018.

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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