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Faculty Representatives


Michael A. Nutter (Faculty Chair)
David N. Dinkins Professor of Professional Practice in Urban and Public Policy

Focus areas: Cities, ethical and transparent government, politics, development of effective national urban policy

After serving almost 15 years in the Philadelphia City Council, Michael A. Nutter was elected the 98th Mayor of his hometown, where he served in office from 2008 until 2016. During his time as Mayor, he also served as the President of the United States Conference of Mayors from June 2012 to June 2013.

Since leaving public service, Mayor Nutter has remained active in public policy, government, and civic life, in critical areas of education, media, public policy, political campaigns, the corporate community, and academic institutions across the country. In addition to his appointment as the Inaugural David N. Dinkins Professor of Professional Practice in Urban and Public Policy at the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) by the Columbia University Board of Trustees, Mayor Nutter has been appointed as a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council; political commentator at CNN; Senior Fellow and national spokesperson for the program “What Works Cities” at Bloomberg Philanthropies; Executive Fellow in Leadership (ISL) at the Lebow College of Business Institute for Strategic Leadership (ISL) at Drexel University; Chair of the first Mayor’s Advisory Council at Airbnb; Executive Fellow at the University of Chicago Urban Labs; Member of the Economic and Community Advisory Council at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia; Distinguished Fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs; and Distinguished Non-Resident Senior Fellow in the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution. Mayor Nutter received his Bachelors in Economics from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.


Hisham Aidi

Lecturer in the Discipline of International and Public Affairs

Focus areas: Sub-Saharan migration and transnationalism, African migration into Europe and racial politics in North Africa

Hisham Aidi's research interests include cultural globalization and the political economy of race and social movements. He received his PhD in political science from Columbia University, and has taught at Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs, and at the Driskell Center for the Study of the African Diaspora at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is the author of Redeploying the State a comparative study of neo-liberalism and labor movements in Latin America; and co-editor, with Manning Marable, of Black Routes to Islam.

In 2002-2003, Aidi was a consultant for UNDP's Human Development Report.   From 2000-2003,  he was part of Harvard University's Encarta Africana project, and worked as a cultural reporter, covering youth culture and immigration in Harlem and the Bronx, for Africana, The New African and ColorLines.  More recently, his work has appeared in The Atlantic, Foreign Affairs, The New Yorker and Salon.  Since 2007, he has been a contributing editor of Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Culture, Politics and Society.  Aidi is the author most recently of Rebel Music: Race, Empire and the New Muslim Youth Culture, a study of American cultural diplomacy.


Yasmine Ergas

Lecturer in the Discipline of International and Public Affairs; Associate Director, Institute for the Study of Human Rights; Director, Specialization in Gender and Public Policy

Focus areas: Globalization, gender equality, and human rights.

Director of the Specialization on Gender and Public Policy and Lecturer in Discipline in International and Public Affairs. She also directs the program in Gender and Human Rights of Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights, is a member of the Executive Committee of the University’s Institute for Research on Women, Gender and Sexuality, and is the co-convener of the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Council at Columbia University. 

A lawyer and sociologist, she has worked on issues regarding gender and women’s rights as a policy analyst and advisor, scholar and advocate. She has served as a consultant to international and domestic policy organizations, including the OECD, UNESCO, the Millennium Villages Project, the New York City Commission on Human Rights, and CENSIS, a major applied social research institute in Italy, and been on the staff of the Social Science Research Council. Her recent work has focused on the emergence of an international market in reproductive services, the transformations of ‘motherhood’ and the impacts of human rights programs and policies. Previous relevant work centered on feminist movements and their interactions with public policies; the implications of the concept of ‘gender’ for feminist politics; child care policies in international and comparative perspective; educational policies and the social implications of HIV/AIDS.  A graduate of the Universities of Sussex and Rome and Columbia Law School, Ergas is a former member of the School of Social Science of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton; visiting scholar at the Center for European Studies at Harvard University; and a Pembroke Fellow of Brown University.


Alexander Hertel-Fernandez

Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs

Focus areas: Political economy of the United States with a focus on organized interests, government and social policy

Alexander Hertel-Fernandez is an Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs. He studies the political economy of the United States, with an emphasis on the politics of organized interests, especially business, and public policy. One forthcoming book examines how employers are increasingly recruiting their workers into politics to change elections and public policy. Other projects examine lobbying and legislative staffers, the development of cross-state networks of conservative activists and business interests, and the role of elite donors in American politics. 

Hertel-Fernandez’s academic work has been published in journals such as the Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law, the Journal of Politics, and Perspectives on Politics, and has been featured in a range of popular outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, the New Yorker, and the Washington Post.


Dipali Mukhopadhyay 

Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs

Focus areas: International security, modern state formation in conflict and post-conflict settings, the role of warlords in the state building project in post-2001 Afghanistan. She recently published the book Warlords, Strongman Governors and State Building in Afghanistan .

Prior to joining Columbia's faculty, Mukhopadhyay spent 2011 as a post-doctoral fellow at Princeton University. Her current work on Afghanistan builds on her first book with a study of palace politics during the Karzai presidency. She also has a number of projects underway on the Syrian civil war related to Western engagement with the opposition and rebel governance. Mukhopadhyay’s research has been funded by the Carnegie Corporation, the Eisenhower Institute, the Smith Richardson Foundation, the U.S. Institute of Peace, Harvard Law School, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the U.S. Department of Education. Her writings have been published in academic books and journals as well as by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Foreign Policy, U.S. Institute of Peace, U.S. News & World Report, and the Washington Post's Monkey Cage Blog. She is a term member at the Council on Foreign Relations. Professor Mukhopadhyay received her doctorate from Tufts University's Fletcher School in 2010 and her B.A. in political science from Yale University.


Administrative representatives

Cory T. Way (Administrative Chair)

Associate Dean for Student Affairs; Adjunct Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs

Focus Areas: Criminal justice policy and management; crime, media and journalism; presidential commutations and pardons; white collar crime; the intersection of art and crime; mentoring in the legal profession.

Cory Way is Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at SIPA.  He was formerly an award-winning Lecturer on Sociology at Harvard University, the Kirkland House Dean at Harvard College, and Affiliated Faculty at Harvard Law School's Centre on the Legal Profession.  

Way holds a doctorate from Oxford and is a licensed attorney who has practiced both litigation and corporate law at Sullivan & Cromwell in New York and Zuckerman Spaeder in Washington, DC. While in law practice he maintained an active pro bono practice, most recently winning political asylum for a Rwanda genocide survivor whose entire family had been murdered; his work on this novel case earned a pro bono award from the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights.

He holds degrees from Princeton, Harvard, Virginia and the University of Oxford, where he also served in dean positions at Merton and Corpus Christi Colleges. While in England he was also appointed as Course Director for a masters degree program at the University of Cambridge. Way’s public service includes four years at the U.S. Department of Justice (working for the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs, the U.S. Pardon Attorney, and the Director of the Bureau of Prisons) and one year as a law clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.  He has also served in an executive director capacity for both the National Committee on Community Corrections and the National Prison Industry Task Force.

Laura L. McCreedy
Executive Assistant, Dean's Office

Laura is an Executive Assistant in the Office of the Dean at SIPA, where she assists with special projects and events, including support for the Diversity Committee. Prior to working for SIPA, Laura worked as an intern for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Representation Office in Tanzania; in the President’s Office at the Carnegie Corporation of New York; as a program associate for Interfaith, Youth, and Adult Diversity and Inclusion and Police-Community relations initiatives (Advocates and Leaders for Police and Community Trust) at the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion; as a program manager and consultant for Diversity and Inclusion and Women’s Leadership initiatives at Booz Allen Hamilton and Accenture; program manager of Global Health and Medical/Dental Education at the Associated Medical Schools of New York and the Museum of Anthropology at Wayne State University in Detroit.

Laura holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs and Anthropology from Wayne State University and a Master’s of Science by Research (MPhil) degree in Social Psychology from the University of Edinburgh, where her research focused on social cognition, specifically superordinate and cross-categorizations and conflict resolution in Kosovo. She is a first year student in the Executive Master's of Public Administration (EMPA) at SIPA, specializing in International Conflict Resolution.


Samantha Shapses-Wertheim
Assistant Dean, Office of Student Affairs

Samantha Shapses has worked for the past 15 years at Columbia and New York University as a student affairs dean and professional focusing on leadership, student engagement and social justice in higher education. Samantha holds an Ed.D. from NYU in Higher and Postsecondary Education, a master’s degree from NYU in Higher Education and Student Affairs, and a bachelor’s from Washington University in St. Louis in Comparative Arts and Women’s Studies. Samantha is also a trained facilitator in cross-cultural communication.

Her research and publications have focused on multicultural education and social justice. Samantha has served as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at New York University and Teachers College, Columbia University, where she teaches courses on social justice education and higher education administration.


Yumiko Shimabukuro
Lecturer in Discipline of International and Public Affairs; Director of Urban and Social Policy Concentration for Executive MPA

Yumiko Shimabukuro's core research and teaching interests lie in the areas of comparative political economy and social welfare policy with a regional expertise in Northeast Asia. She is the Director of the Urban and Social Policy concentration for the Executive MPA program and serves as the faculty director of the Global Leadership Development Training initiative.

Beyond her academic work, Professor Shimabukuro leverages her two-decades long professional experience straddling the financial, non-profit, and academic sectors and offers advanced professional development training for the mid-career MPA program in Economic Policy Management, Columbia Business School, and numerous other venues throughout the country.  She is the creator of the 5S Method, a comprehensive guide to effective knowledge management and transfer derived from the fields of cognitive science, data visualization, psychology, neuroscience, anatomy, linguistics, education, and voice science. 

Professor Shimabukuro received an MIA in International Economics from Columbia University, a PhD in Political Economy from the Department of Political Science at MIT, and a Post-Doctoral Fellowship from Harvard University.  She is the recipient of the Harvard Teaching Excellence Award and the Columbia University Outstanding Teaching Award.


Diane Nguyen
Associate Director of Admissions 


Student representatives


Jin Woo Chung

Jin Woo Chung is in the MIA program concentrating in economic and political development. Before SIPA, he worked on the Minority and Women Owned Business Program at the NYC Mayor's Office and served at a community development organization in the South Bronx. He is a former Coro Fellow in New York City and served in AmeriCorps in the South Bronx. He is a graduate of the Macaulay Honors College at CUNY Hunter College, majoring in history.

As part of the Diversity Committee, he hopes to continue efforts in diversifying the faculty at SIPA and holding events and programs which increase awareness on issues surrounding race and privilege.


Omotolani Elumade

Tolani Elumade is an EMPA student from Brooklyn, New York. Tolani has a decorated past in Public Administration and Civic Engagement. She has held several roles that improve diversity, inclusion and equity outcomes for communities of color. Tolani has contributed measurable impact to deserving members of diverse backgrounds through her work in public sector and non-profit institutions.

Tolani holds a Masters of Professional Studies Degree in Criminal Justice from St. John's University. She also earned her Bachelors degree in History from Fisk University and regularly volunteers in citywide initiatives.


Sasha Lagombra

In her former capacity as a Community Economic Volunteer with the Peace Corps, Sasha Lagombra provided organizational and basic financial advice to local community organizations and associations within the Dominican Republic. In addition to her primary role as a business advisor, she also worked with youth members to teach and promote entrepreneurial spirit, and with local women in strengthening income generating activities. She also served as the Training Coordinator for the Peace Corps Dominican Republic's Diversity and Inclusion Initiative. In this role, Sasha was tasked with revamping and facilitating mandatory diversity trainings and workshops for trainees and volunteers, and organized special initiatives to better support volunteers of marginalized backgrounds.

Prior to joining the Peace Corps, Sasha worked in Human Resources for Oxford University Press (OUP) and YAI Seeing Beyond Disability (YAI). In my role as HR Coordinator at OUP, she worked adhoc projects including reevaluating our worker classification, employee handbook, and regular auditing. While at YAI, she worked closely with the implementation of the Protection of People with Special Needs Act, which fundamentally altered the onboarding and training functions of the Agency. Sasha received her my Bachelors of Science in Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, concentrating in Multinational Management, and is currently in the MPA program studying Urban and Social Policy.


Benjamin Seebaugh

Benjamin is an MPA candidate in the Urban & Social policy concentration, and Technology, Media, and Communications specialization. He holds B.A. degrees in Political Science, International Studies, and Women's & Gender Studies from the Honors College of West Virginia University (where he also served as the university's first-ever LGBTQ Program Coordinator). Most recently, Benjamin served as a Project Manager for the NYC Department of Correction (DOC) where he oversaw a portfolio of jail reform projects on Rikers Island. While there, he also founded the NYC DOC chapter of the Gay Officers Action League (GOAL).

As part of the Diversity Committee and Events Director for SPECTRUM, Benjamin hopes to assist with strategic planning for long-term development goals, and to advocate for policies that make SIPA an even more diverse, vibrant, and inclusive environment for all current and prospective students.


Zulpha Styer

Zulpha is a Master of Public Administration Student, with a concentration in Urban and Social Policy and specialization in Management. She is a dual national of South Africa and Australia. Zulpha has a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts, and a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice and a Master of Laws . She has more than five years of experience as a senior policy advisor to Australian governments at federal and state levels, including the Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department. Zulpha is also admitted as a solicitor to the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory.

She served on the Multicultural NSW Regional Advisory Council, advising the Minister for Multiculturalism on how to better serve one of Australia's most culturally diverse areas. She was also the founding member of the employee diversity committees at both the Attorney-General's Department and the Department of Premier and Cabinet. In these roles she advocated for better workplace support for minority communities including culturally-sensitive leave provisions and prayer spaces. She volunteers extensively in her local community. Zulpha is passionate about improving the opportunities and experiences of migrant communities, and she hopes to continue to do so through her work on the Diversity Committee.


STUDENT Diversity Coalition Representatives


Uttara AgarwalEmpowering Asian Women (EAW)

An energetic advocate for the sustainable empowerment of disadvantaged children through education and career opportunities, Uttara passionately serves others through her extensive transformation skills—including organizational change, communications, digital, and risk management strategies—and the implementation of policies that advance social and economic growth. Through her public service management consulting role at Accenture, she serves various multi-lateral government and non-profit clients.

She is currently a second year EMPA student and the Commitment to Equality and Democracy Fellow at SIPA. In her spare time, she volunteers and spends time with loved ones.


Saniya AliSIPA Students of Color (SSOC)

Saniya is a first year Master’s in International Affairs student, concentrating in Economic and Political Development. An ardent researcher and an anthropologist by background, she has a background in mixed-methods development and policy research, spanning the topics of microfinance and gender empowerment in Pakistan, to US higher education policy. Hailing from Pakistan, she is particularly attuned to the need for inclusive development policies and hopes to bring an intersectional lens to the practice of development after she graduates.

Saniya is the Vice President of SIPA Students of Color (SSOC). She has an MA in Social Science from the University of Chicago, and a BS with Honors in Sociology and Anthropology from Lahore University of Management Sciences, Pakistan.


Lindi Anggraini SIPA Students Association (SIPASA)

Lindi Anggraini is currently pursuing MPA at SIPA, concentrating in Economic Development especially in the developing world, where she is representing from. She was born and growing up in Indonesia. Lindi has spent more than 7 years providing consultancy and advisory on business and organization reform to both private sectors and government institutions, as a manager in Accenture and as an adviser for Australia Indonesia Partnership for Economic Development.

Lindi was elected as a Vice President of Student Government (SIPASA). She is eager to dedicate her time to contribute to the society, as part of the Diversity Committee as SIPASA representative. She has passion to promote equality, embrace diversity in the daily norm practice, and empower women to live their passions. In her free time, she enjoys practicing yoga and exploring new places.


Daniella Gómez BonillaGender and Public Policy Working Group (GPWG)

Daniella is a first-year MPA student concentrating in Urban and Social Policy and specializing in Gender and Public Policy. She is Colombian and before coming to SIPA, she worked for five years for the Colombian Government, implementing social impact projects, related to renewable energy, water and sanitation, and social and productive inclusion. She has also worked in the private sector promoting gender equity policies in the workplace and female leadership.

Daniella belongs to Columbia University Task Force on inclusion and belonging, she is a feminist activist and writes articles on feminism and diversity for a digital newspaper in Colombia. At SIPA, she is the President of the Gender Policy Working Group, a student organization devoted to the awareness, sensitivity, and understanding of global issues related to gender diversity and equality. At the Diversity Committee, Daniella aims to foster initiatives to ensure education on social justice, equity, and gender diversity becomes part of the curricular contents.


Maria Jose PintoWomen in Leadership (WIL)

Maria Jose Pinto is a first year Master in International Affairs candidate, concentrating in Economic and Political Development and specializing in Latin American Studies & Gender and Public Policy. She is the current President to the Women in Leadership Organization at the School. Maria was born and raised in Peru, where she received her Business bachelor degree at Universidad del Pacifico in Lima.

Before SIPA, Maria worked at the British Embassy in Lima, as a Science & Innovation Coordinator for Peru, managing Official Development Assistance (ODA) from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to, among other things, eliminate gender stereotypes to increase girls in STEM in the country. She previously worked with Carolina Trivelli, a former Minister for Social Inclusion in the country, on Modelo Peru, a financial inclusion initiative, which was partly focused on women’s economic empowerment.

Maria’s current focus is gender equality in Latin America, particularly related to women in politics, and how gender roles in the region have shaped women’s destinies for centuries.


George-Ann RyanWorking Group on Race, Inequality, Solidarity, and Economics (RISE)

George-Ann Ryan is a first generation graduate student at pursuing a Master of International Affairs degree at Columbia | SIPA, concentrating in Economic and Political Development and specialising in Advanced Economic and Political Analysis. She is a proud Pace University, NYC alumna where she was awarded a B.A. in Economics, magna cum laude with a focus on quantitative research methods.

Prior to SIPA, George-Ann worked as a Research and Administrative Assistant at the Economic Security Project -- an NYC-based organization dedicated to guaranteeing financial security to all. While there, she worked at the intersection of the tech, policy, and philanthropic spheres to research the feasibility and impact of unconditional cash transfers. George-Ann later joined the team of The Sadie Collective, an organization dedicated to diversifying the Economics profession through the education, community, & mentorship of Black women, as Chief Financial Officer.

As she hails from the twin-island state of Antigua and Barbuda, George-Ann's current academic interests revolve around equitable, sustainable, and independent economic development in the Caribbean.


Theotis SharpeSIPA Pan-African Network (SPAN)

Theotis was born in Monrovia, Liberia and spent the majority of his childhood as a Refugee in Ghana. He has a deep passion for planning and executing growth strategies of small businesses especially those in refugee communities. Theo previously worked as a Treasury Analyst at Wells Fargo helping middle market companies create long term operations and cash management strategies. Prior to that he worked as a Mortgage Consultant at Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase.

Theo is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. During his time in Madison, he served as a Diversity Coordinator creating programs and strategies that fostered inclusivity for all students. Currently, Theo is first year MPA-DP student at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs studying international development with an emphasis in Infrastructure development.


Edgar WibisonoSPECTRUM

Edgar Wibisono is a first-year MPA candidate, concentrating in International Finance & Economic Policy, and specializing in Advanced Policy and Economic Analysis. Edgar grew up in Indonesia and Singapore and received his bachelor’s degrees from Northeastern University in Boston, MA, where he double majored in Economics & Business Administration (Finance). At Northeastern, he was also the Vice President of the school’s Indonesian Student Association, representing a significant portion of Northeastern’s international student population.

Most recently, Edgar worked on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Presidential Campaign, and later transitioned to a nonprofit finance role at a foreign policy think-tank based in New York City. At SIPA, Edgar is the Vice President and the Diversity Committee Representative of SPECTRUM, SIPA’s LGBTIQ+ and Allies student organization. In the Diversity Committee, Edgar would like to work on initiatives that highlight intersectionality and promote inclusion at SIPA.


A full list of SIPA student organizations can be found here.