“I simply wanted to learn as much as I can”

Roxanne Kovacs is a graduate of the Sciences Po Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA). On 2 July 2015, she gave the Valedictorian speech at the 2015 Graduation Ceremony which was held at UNESCO. We interviewed this outstanding, lucky, passionate and optimistic student.

  • You completed your secondary studies at the United World College of the Adriatic in Italy and your undergraduate degree at the University of York in England. Why did you choose the Sciences Po Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA) for your graduate studies?

Roxanne Kovacs: I think a number of factors came into play in that decision. One thing I really liked about PSIA was the variety of courses you  could choose from. That gave me the possibility to specialise and to tailor my degree to my interests. I also wanted to improve my French skills and learn a new language as part of my studies, which would not have been possible at other universities I applied to. Another factor that was definitely important was that PSIA was financially within my reach because tuition fees are income based for Europeans.

  • At the University of York, you earned a B.A. with first class honours and were awarded the Politics, Philosophy and Economics Prize for achieving the highest set of final marks. At Sciences Po, your academic record was just as impressive and you gave the Valedictorian speech for the 2015 Graduation Ceremony. What is it that makes you so involved and passionate about your studies?

R. K.: I have been extremely lucky in many respects. Almost by chance, I found an academic discipline that truly fascinates me -- applied economics. I also had the opportunity to work with excellent professors, who took my ideas seriously and really supported my academic development. Because of all of these factors, many of which were out of my control, I’ve thrived in an academic environment. Given how lucky I have been, I’ve  always felt a responsibility to use my education for something good. Throughout my time at University I tried to acquire skills that I could put to use later in life. I simply wanted to learn as much as I can. Doing well academically was only ever a by-product of that desire.

  • You have already interned at the OECD working on the South African Economic Survey, in London working on access to water and sanitation, and in South Africa with the Women’s Legal Centre (WLC) in Cape Town. What are your plans for the future? Which field would you like to focus on next?

R. K.: A couple of days ago I accepted an offer from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. For the next two years, I am going to work on a Randomised Control Trial that will assess the impact of performance-based financing on health outcomes in Senegal. I see my future very much in applied quantitative research in the development field. I hope to have the chance to work on issues to do with public health, inequality, violence and social policy and to travel as much as I can. At the moment, I am very excited about what the future will bring.

Related link

Latin American students: six reasons to choose Sciences Po

Latin American students: six reasons to choose Sciences Po

Are you a Latin American student looking for a selective international university? Sciences Po is one of the world’s leading universities for social sciences and the humanities. Each year we welcome around 600 Latin American students keen to benefit from our multidisciplinary programmes. Still uncertain? Here are six great reasons to choose Sciences Po.

More
“The world economy is more dangerous and less stable now than in 2008”

“The world economy is more dangerous and less stable now than in 2008”

Nearly ten years on from the global financial crisis of 2008, Colin Hay, researcher at Sciences Po’s Centre for European Studies and Comparative Politics, and Tom Hunt (University of Sheffield) have edited a little book which provides a timely warning as to the dangers still present and building in the global economic system. In The Coming Crisis (Palgrave, 2017) they draw on research on the political economy of growth, stagnation, austerity and crisis, placing each in the context of the wider environmental crisis. Interview with Professor Hay.

More
Stay calm and relaxed!

Stay calm and relaxed!

Each year, half of new students at the Sciences Po Undergraduate College come from outside France. International applicants go through a two-step procedure. First, they complete and submit an online application. Based on this application, certain candidates are then pre-selected for an interview, which can be held in various cities around the world.
More

A week in Silicon Valley

A week in Silicon Valley

To get students thinking about the many aspects of the digital revolution, Sciences Po’s Entrepreneurship Centre took 15 of them to Silicon Valley for a close-up look at technology’s key players, including Facebook, Google and AirBnb. Yaël, who is doing a research-based Master’s in political theory at the Sciences Po Doctoral School, and Thomas, an engineering student at Polytechnique, took part in this immersion-learning trip. Machine learning, blockchain, data science... they told us all about it.

More
“France, a great environment for startups”

“France, a great environment for startups”

Tony Fadell, former senior vice president at Apple, iPod designer and founder of connected objects company Nest, moved to Paris a few months ago. The serial entrepreneur has left Silicon Valley behind him to develop his next projects in the French capital. “France is a country that believes so much in education”, he said. In November 2017 he came to share ideas with Sciences Po students. He goes over a few key points from his talk in this video.

More
“The future is being built today”

“The future is being built today”

Fitiavana Andry from Madagascar wants to play a part in her country's future. Fitiavana belongs to the first cohort of Sciences Po - MasterCard Foundation scholars, a programme that supports committed students from Africa.

More
ADMISSIONS REPORT 2017: SCIENCES PO’S ATTRACTIVENESS CONFIRMED

ADMISSIONS REPORT 2017: SCIENCES PO’S ATTRACTIVENESS CONFIRMED

The 2017 admissions report confirms Sciences Po’s attractiveness, with nearly 17,000 candidates in total and international students in particular applying in increasing numbers. The success of our Master’s programmes is also underscored with a 6 percent rise in applications to our seven graduate schools.

More
Artillerie: discover our future campus!

Artillerie: discover our future campus!

A new chapter in Sciences Po’s history is beginning. The redevelopment project chosen for the Artillerie site acquired in late 2016 has been unveiled: it is the work of the team led by Sogelym Dixence with architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte. Beyond the architectural challenge of transforming a seventeenth-century novitiate into a sustainable, innovative university campus, this plan represents a complete renewal of Sciences Po after 150 years of existence.

More