Education News

MPA ESP Program Graduates Its Ninth Cohort

2011-05-20

The ninth class of students in the Master in Public Administration in Environmental Science and Policy (MPA ESP) program at the School of International and Public Affairs graduated on May 18th, 2011. As they embark on new careers, the MPA ESP students are now equipped with the skills to analyze and implement environmental decision making in order to contribute to a more sustainable future.

“The students graduating from this program have developed a unique ability both to understand science and implement policy,” says Steve Cohen, Director of the MPA ESP program, “this combination will allow students to flourish in the environmental policy setting. I look forward to seeing how they apply the knowledge they have gained in order to promote sustainability.”

In the program, students learned how to create real-world solutions by working in diverse group settings. “I didn’t expect there to be so much group work, but I really liked it,” said Preston Cox, a graduating student. “We really got to improve our communication and collaboration skills. I genuinely enjoyed all the work that we did.”

The MPA in Environmental Science and Policy is a one year, three semester program, housed at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs. The program is affiliated with the Earth Institute, an organization dedicated to achieving environmental sustainability in the context of a world of environmental challenges. Students in the program benefit from a wide variety of resources offered by the Earth Institute, including courses taught by the Institute’s world-renowned faculty and access to state-of-the-art research facilities.     

Graduating students will advance to professions in domestic and international environmental policy, working in the government, private, and non-profit sectors.  Within these areas, our graduates are called upon to address environmental, sustainability, resource, and global climate change issues, including air, water, climate, energy efficiency, food, agriculture, transportation, and waste management.  MPA ESP graduates take on environmental challenges and affect change through their roles as consultants, environmental and public health advisors, chief operating officers, project managers, program directors, policy analysts, teachers, researchers, environmental scientists and engineers.

Thanks to their skill sets and the help of the Earth Institute and the MPA ESP program, the Class of 2011 will be delving into careers in public and not-for-profit work throughout the country and beyond. Within the U.S., our graduates are heading to work at organizations including Action Against Hunger and the United States Department of Defense.

One graduate, Karina Bautista, will be heading abroad to work for Galapagos National Park. “The skills I learned in the workshop were great assets to my job search – it was a great experience, and the chance to apply the new scientific concepts we were learning was immensely helpful,” she said about the program.

MPA ESP graduates also find roles in the private sector, where environmental policy and practice continue to flourish. The private sector is regularly establishing and implementing new initiatives in alternative energy planning, energy and resource trading, and environmental and sustainable development consulting.  Our graduates are working in private sector firms such as McKinsey & Company, The Top Test Prep, The Junkluggers, and LB Transportation Consulting, and others.

Some MPA ESP graduates have stayed in the world of academia; about 4 percent of MPA-ESP graduates are continuing their education, pursuing PhD and business degrees, in subjects ranging from sustainable development, public policy and business administration.

We congratulate the Class of 2011 on all of their achievements and we look forward to reporting on their future activities.