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Carrie Campbell, 2009 MPA
International Energy Management and Policy
Carrie is a 2009 MPA student concentrating in International Energy Management and Policy. Before SIPA she worked at the New York City Parks Department; taught English language in Mexico and started a pilot after-school program for Mexican immigrants in Birmingham, Alabama.
What attracted you to SIPA?
“I chose SIPA over other programs because of the selection of course offerings and the breadth of students’ professional and cultural backgrounds. As someone interested in studying urban development policy with a focus on migration and energy issues, having the ability to supplement the wide array of SIPA courses with courses offered through the Planning and Engineering schools is a great perk.
As someone with interests beyond energy, I enjoy the opportunity to learn through Columbia events about topics like forced migration through infrastructure projects, company towns in China, the role of the media in presidential campaign, etc. I also appreciate the incredible educational opportunity that comes simply through interacting in the intercultural mecca that is SIPA.”
What experiences do you think prepared you to attend SIPA?
“My professional background working for New York City government and my experience working with Latino immigrants in Alabama prepared me to think critically and inquisitively about the role of city government and municipal services.
Volunteer work with urban agricultural youth program teaching ESL also opened my eyes to intercultural comparisons, livelihoods and inequalities. When I applied to SIPA I knew I wanted to learn more about the economics of urban development issues and compare development practices across cities.”
What was your internship experience like?
“I spent the summer in the Andes in Peru, working for an NGO that performs economic impact studies and analyses of microfinance program policies. I found this internship through a posting on the Career Services website, persistence, and good fortune.
After responding to the posting on the Career Services website, I was informed that the position had already been filled. Optimistically, I asked if the organization might have any other intern needs. Somehow through the right combination of follow up and serendipity, I managed to ask at a perfect time, just when the Peru office needed someone to help with two new impact studies.”
Can you comment specifically on some exciting things about your concentration?
“I recently attended an Energy and Law seminar at Bloomberg headquarters. While the event was offered primarily to attorneys who work on energy issues, the SIPA Energy Association managed to secure some guest passes for students. The seminar provided a well-organized overview of pressing energy-related legal issues, as well as a good networking opportunity.”
Did you choose to attend SIPA to change careers, or to gain experience in a career path you already had experience in?
“Some of both. I came to SIPA almost ten years out of college because I wanted to build upon my previous professional experience and to acquire tools of analysis that would allow me to be more effective in urban policy implementation. I also came to learn about energy policy considerations, something completely new.”
What advice would you give a first-year student?
“Be proactive. Talk to other students, professors and staff to know what’s going on. Pace yourself. SIPA can be overwhelming precisely because of all of the choices and activities it offers, so try to stay focused on your individual goals; don’t over-extend yourself; and plan your time at Columbia wisely. Remember to leave the International Affairs building sometimes.”