Nandini is a first-year CIPA student pursuing an MPA with a concentration in Environmental Policy. An international student from India, she joined the program this past fall. She is serving as an Admission Ambassador now, conversing with applicants who have similar backgrounds or policy interests.
When looking for grad schools, I was certain I wanted to study environmental policy. It was important to me to find a program that would offer a balance of environmental science courses and general policy study courses. CIPA was one of the few schools that I felt offered that balance. Here, you learn the hard skills required to work on policies and then, based on whichever concentration you choose from the diverse set of options, you take courses focused on the area of your interest.
Along with CIPA, I was also accepted by Columbia University, Sciences Po in Paris and the Erasmus Mundus Scholarship. There are several reasons why I finally chose CIPA. A major one of those would be the fluidity of the program. Its basic requirements assure that you meet the skillsets you need by the time you graduate but it lets you gain that knowledge and those skills in any manner that suits you best. Thousands of courses across every department in the university are open to us. This means access to some amazing faculty in every possible field you could imagine and a chance to study from any of these that fits within your program of study.
In addition to academics, Cornell offered great libraries, sports facilities, and a vibrant cultural life. This was important, as I was definitely one looking for the holistic experience. Finally, support from CIPA definitely played a role in my decision to come here. The silliest of queries prompted swift and warm responses from the staff and that has continued even after I joined the program. My one piece of advice to those of you applying to CIPA would be to reach out to faculty and staff if you have questions during the application process.
The people at CIPA are undoubtedly the program’s biggest asset. There is a lot of diversity here; each student here is inspired by something different but is equally passionate. The wonderful thing about this program is that it lets this diverse set of students tailor their program of study according to their individual needs and everyone is supportive in helping you reach your goals. My first semester here has definitely been a rollercoaster ride but I’ve undoubtedly learned a lot and I’m eagerly looking forward to learning more!