Homa Hassan (MIA ’12) is a foreign affairs officer and country coordinator of foreign assistance resources for the U.S. State Department. At SIPA she concentrated in Economic and Political Development.
Describe your background prior to attending SIPA.
My parents always encouraged me to be a citizen of the world; they taught me that the only race I’m a part of is the human race. As an undergrad, I found activism through student organizations to be an effective outlet for raising awareness about international issues. I co-hosted a nationally syndicated radio show on foreign policy, domestic politics, and social issues, interned on Capitol Hill, and studied abroad in Germany and Greece, which furthered my desire to continue studying international politics at a more advanced level.
What is most memorable about your experience at SIPA?
I came to SIPA because I wanted to be trained by the best alongside sharp and diverse minds. I wanted to learn as much from my peers as I did from my courses, and to be pushed to the edge. At SIPA I had the opportunity to serve as an editorial and digital assistant for the Journal of International Affairs and as co-chair of the Human Rights Working Group. I was a fellow in American foreign policy through the International Fellows Program. And of course, living in New York City was incredibly exhilarating; the city that never sleeps comes to life in a fiery explosion of glowing lights, laughter, and languages from every nook and cranny of the world. It’s a magical place to live and it was memorable to be a student in such a rich city.
How do you think SIPA helped you achieve your goals?
The SIPA name carries a lot of weight; the combination of academic and non-academic experiences gave me a leg up when applying for jobs or competing for high-profile fellowships. SIPA also provided a vast network of connections across sectors. In my everyday work, I absolutely draw on skills I obtained at SIPA and contexts that I learned about in my coursework there.
How have you benefited from the SIPA alumni community?
At SIPA I found my sounding boards, my career coaches, my travel buddies, and my confidantes. My SIPA friends have been through my highs and lows with me, have guided my career and vouched for my character, and have been a second family wherever I found myself in the world. Even today when I meet a SIPA grad for the first time, there is an instant connection, an easy camaraderie. I wouldn’t be who I am without my SIPA network.