Jessica Prata is a 2012 graduate of the Executive Master in Public Administration program. She is currently Assistant Vice President for Environmental Stewardship at Columbia University.
Describe your background prior to attending SIPA.
I worked in broadcast communications for a few years then worked for nearly ten years in the health care industry at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, where as their first named corporate sustainability officer I founded their sustainability program, NYPgreen.
What motivated you to choose SIPA?
I wanted to go to a program where the students were mission driven. You can get the same skills in a number of different programs, but it’s the lens that SIPA uses to teach you those skills that I thought was most applicable to my career path in sustainability management.
What are you doing now?
As Assistant VP in Columbia’s Office of Environmental Stewardship, I lead a University-wide initiative that brings together staff, students and faculty to set and achieve goals towards a more Sustainable Columbia. In collaboration with key stakeholders across the University including The Earth Institute and University Facilities and Operations, our team recently published the University's first three-year sustainability plan.
How do you think SIPA helped you achieve your goals?
The program provided a foundational background in statistics, economics, and policy analysis, as well as “backbone in-classroom training” about environmental studies, which supplemented what I had learned on the job at NewYork-Presbyterian.
Have you benefited from the SIPA community?
SIPA’s most valuable resource were the students and faculty. It’s such a rich network. This is a distinct advantage of being a Columbia alumna. The people that I met in the program, and the network that I was welcomed into … it’s what’s stayed with me the longest.