Columbia GS Alumna is Awarded Prestigious Clarendon Scholarship
Elisa Sisto ‘19GS will pursue a Ph. D. in International Development at the University of Oxford.
Elisa Sisto ‘19GS, a graduate of the Dual BA Program Between Sciences Po and Columbia University, has been selected as a Clarendon Scholar, only the second GS alumna to receive the honor. The highly competitive Clarendon Scholarship program provides full-funding for graduate work at the University of Oxford, as well as networking opportunities with fellow scholars on campus. “I was absolutely delighted and grateful to learn of my nomination for the Clarendon Scholarship,” shared Sisto, who will be pursuing a Ph. D. in international development. “It is a privilege to have the opportunity to dedicate time to delving deeply into a chosen research project. I’m thankful to the team of deans and professors at Columbia, Sciences Po, and Oxford who inspired and supported me throughout my studies, and I am looking forward to joining the vibrant Clarendon community.”
Sisto grew up in a dual Italian and American family, and she and her sister Julia Sisto ‘17GS both found their way to the Dual BA Program, an educational path Elisa Sisto said appealed to her because of its international and intersectional nature. “During the Dual BA, I felt supported in seeking opportunities bridging the classroom and the real world,” she recalled, citing experiences assisting asylum lawyers at a legal clinic and coordinating Columbia Amnesty International events, which complemented courses on international human rights law and migration she took. “This balancing between theory and practice, and the invitation to never lose sight of the practical applications of academic work, have been formative in my approach to post-graduation endeavors.”
“During the Dual BA, I felt supported in seeking opportunities bridging the classroom and the real world. This balancing between theory and practice, and the invitation to never lose sight of the practical applications of academic work, have been formative in my approach to post-graduation endeavors."
Those endeavors have included earning a Master’s Degree in refugee and forced migration studies from Oxford, working at the United Nations’ International Organization for Migration, and holding an array of roles in migration research and operations across Southern and Eastern Europe. “Each of these experiences deepened my awareness of the complexities surrounding humanitarianism and border governance,” said Sisto, “and enhanced my desire to pursue doctoral studies exploring these themes.”
With the support of the Clarendon Scholarship, Sisto will do just that. Her doctoral program is based at the Oxford Department of International Development and its Refugee Studies Centre where, Sisto shared, “I will be focusing on the relationship between border policy and landscape along migration routes. My intended research will analyze the diversion of forced migrants’ journeys through harsh landscapes as a form of border violence, while also exploring the distinctive humanitarian responses that have emerged at mountainous borders.”
Even as she gears up to begin this exciting endeavor, Sisto is maintaining her approach of focusing on the real world applications of academic excellence, and therefore already looking ahead to the impact her Clarendon experience will have on her professional capacities and ambitious humanitarian goals. “The doctoral program promises to expand my research skills and thematic expertise,” she said, “which I hope will have a positive impact in both academic and international institutions in the future.”
To learn more about fellowship opportunities, GS students are encouraged to visit the Fellowships section of the website, and to reach out to the GS Fellowships Office and Undergraduate Research & Fellowships.