SIPA | A View from the Class

The SIPA Office of Alumni and Development is pleased to share A View from the Class, a SIPA stories series featuring current SIPA students.

November 2019

Hello, I am Anastasia Gordon, a Master of Public Administration candidate, concentrating in Environmental Science and Policy (MPA-ESP). I attended the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom, graduating with a BS in Environmental Management in 2011. I then worked in the Environmental Policy and Planning Division for the ministry responsible for environmental management and sustainable development in the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, before returning to the UK to pursue an MPhil in Conservation Leadership at the University of Cambridge.

Why did you choose SIPA’s MPA-ESP program?

Very few programs bridge the science-policy interface necessary to find innovative solutions for the global environmental challenges we face today like SIPA’s MPA-ESP program. A major appeal of the program was that I could refresh my scientific foundation while deepening my understanding of sustainability and environmental policy and learning policy analysis. Another factor that attracted me to the MPA-ESP program is the partnership between SIPA and the Earth Institute. It allows me the extraordinary opportunity to learn from and be a part of the alumni and network of global leaders in environmental policy and sustainability here in New York City.

What has been your experience at SIPA thus far?

My experience at SIPA has been excellent. My cohort has been a major contributor. They come from various walks and stages of life, which generates rich discussion and different perspectives on how we address the critical environmental and sustainable challenges of the day. Beyond that, I have forged genuine friendships and connections with future colleagues in the field. For this reason, I have joined the Communications Committee on the MPA-ESP Student Government to better know, serve, and support my amazing cohort.

Additionally, the MPA-ESP program has proven to be incredibly enriching for my professional development. I am enjoying the program content and classes like Climatology, Environmental Policy, Environmental Toxicology, Microeconomics, and Sustainability Management, to name a few. However, the program has been rigorous and thus, strengthened my time management, teamwork, leadership, and management skills. These competencies were particularly useful for the Workshop in Applied Earth Systems.

Can you tell us more about the Workshop in Applied Earth Systems?

In the Workshop, we are broken up into project group teams to develop a detailed implementation and management plan for a proposed piece of legislation. My team is working on the U.S. House of Representatives bill H.R.1321, the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act of 2019. The goal of this land management and ecosystem protection bill is to ensure the long-term ecological integrity of the Northern Rockies Bioregion by placing additional protections on federally owned lands and waterways in the region.

During the summer term, I had the opportunity to be the Team Manager, leading the team in analyzing the science behind the environmental problems and solutions of the bill. I fully enjoyed this experience! I not only developed project management skills but I have also completely embraced my leadership and management capacity, which will be useful in my future endeavors. This semester, the team has been examining the political controversies and developing an operational plan and performance management system for implementing the bill. Though roles have reversed this semester, I have learned how important and invaluable it is to be a good team member and output task lead.

What are your plans after SIPA?

The MPA-ESP program and my past academic and professional experiences have sparked my interest in the realm of global environmental governance. This area intrigues me because it involves thought leadership and governance at a macroscale. Contemporary environmental and sustainability issues such as climate change, land degradation, biodiversity loss, and plastic waste are both complex and transboundary in nature. They require coordinated international action whether by governments, cities, multinational companies, or institutions. Thus, it is my hope to work with institutions, whether in the public or private sector, that allow me to play my part in addressing these environmental and sustainability issues.

A View from the Class is brought to you by the SIPA Office of Alumni and Development.

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