Alina Koch Lawrence
Alina Koch Lawrence graduated from SF State in 2008 with a B.A. in International Relations and a concentration in International Environmental Policy. Since graduating from SF State, Alina has worked for Sempra Energy, as a consultant for the San Francisco Department on the Environment, been a Graduate Student Instructor at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, completed a project for the United Nations Environment Programme in Paris, and earned a Master of Public Policy in Climate Change and Energy Policy from UC Berkeley. She is now employed by PG&E as a Regulatory Policy Analyst.
Why did you choose SF State and the IR Department for your B.A.?
"I talked to students in the IR department and decided to switch my major from business to IR, one of the best decisions I ever made."
“I chose to study IR at SF State as the program matched my academic interests. The core courses provide a valuable foundation for a solid understanding of international issues from a macroeconomic level. When I transferred to SF State (after completing my first two years in International Business at a university in Germany), I was going to finish my degree in SF State’s business department. However, once I arrived at SF State, I talked to students in the IR department and decided to switch my major from business to IR, one of the best decisions I ever made. Analyzing global economic and political issues from an IR angle broadened my perspective on the interaction between the private and public sector across developed and developing countries.”
What were the highlights of your SF State experience?
“I very much enjoyed the diverse faculty and student body. The courses were challenging, yet rewarding, in particular the thesis class (IR 550). Before, joining SF State, I was determined to study abroad during my final year and the IR faculty worked with me to make it possible to complete all my core course work in time. In 2008, I went to Macquarie University, Sydney, which was a wonderful opportunity academically as well as personally. I was able to learn about Australia’s environmental policies and had the chance to attend the Asia Pacific United Nations Conference in Adelaide, Australia, representing Germany in the UNDP debates.”
How has the IR program helped your career?
“After graduating from SF State, I worked in the energy and environmental field before going back to school for a graduate degree. Having completed a degree in IR helped me with my subsequent ventures such as obtaining a Masters in Energy Policy at UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy, teaching at the Haas School of Business, and working for the United Nations Environment Programme in Paris.”