Education News

MPA-ESP Students to Pursue Diverse Career Paths

2008-05-14

Members of the sixth graduating class of the Master of Public Administration in Environmental Science and Policy program are considering diverse career paths. Many will be entering government and environmental planning and management positions while others are pursuing careers in the private sector and science markets.

After graduation on May 19th, Ashley Mercer will be starting work with the Government of the Northwest Territories (NWT). As Licensing Coordinator for the NWT, Ashley will allocate licenses for researchers to study issues such as climate change and human health. She will also oversee information exchange with the community, media, and other researchers. Says Mercer, “The MPA-ESP workshop, especially being a manager, provided a set of organizational and professional skills that have taught me to engage in these processes in a professional and useful way. Also, the politics class taught by Professor Sara Tjossem, while USA focused, introduced important concepts to understand the salient and deep-seeded political context of the North.” The Workshops in Applied Earth Systems Policy Analysis and Management, which challenge students to apply their theoretical knowledge and functional skills to address real-world environmental policy and management issues, are a unique aspect of the MPA-ESP program. Mercer is very enthusiastic about her new job—though she has been told that, in order to endure the extreme temperatures of the NWT, she will have to purchase a winter wardrobe complete with a 500-dollar parka.

Several MPA-ESP graduates are finalizing their placement in the Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) program. The PMF program is a prestigious two-year government fellowship that places award recipients in the Departments of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Education, Energy, Commerce, Defense, Housing and Urban Development (HUD); Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); NASA and others. Candidates are nominated by their graduate school following a stringent assessment process. 

Another MPA-ESP student, Anirban Ghosh, will be joining EnerNOC’s Boston headquarters as an Energy Markets Associate. According to its website, “EnerNOC, Inc. is a leading developer and provider of clean and intelligent energy solutions to commercial, institutional, and industrial customers, as well as electric power grid operators and utilities.” Ghosh’s work over the course of the MPA-ESP program focused on cutting carbon and lifecycle emissions. Ghosh said, “The position requires a considerable amount of experience in data and trend analysis.” As an Energy Markets Associate at EnerNOC, Ghosh will analyze strategies to reduce energy use during periods of peak demand. 

Past graduates of the MPA-ESP program are applying their skills in a wide range of nonprofit, government and private fields. They are working in organizations such as the National Resource Defense Council, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, City of New York Office of Energy Conservation, United Nations Development Programme, PricewaterhouseCoopers, NASA, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), U.S. EPA and EcoSecurities.

Prospective students interested in learning about the program are encouraged to contact Louise Rosen at (212) 854-3142 or at lar46@columbia.edu for more information.