The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences


Guest Speakers Enhance Student Learning

Each year, the Rockefeller Center hosts a robust agenda of public programs to offer an even closer look at public policy and policymaking through the lens of public officials, distinguished scholars, political figures, journalists, and other civically engaged leaders and activists.

These special events inform, educate, and enrich the discourse amongst faculty, staff, and students from across campus, as well as with members of the broader community.

These invited guests also serve as an important part of the educational experience for students by visiting classes while on campus. During these interactions, they expose students to real-world life experiences, sharing insights and perspectives from their particular field.

During the 2016 summer term, former U.S. Senator Judd Gregg visited Professor Charlie Wheelan’s course, Economics of Public Policymaking.

Preparation Meets Opportunity

If, as the Roman philosopher Seneca observed, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity,” then the Rockefeller Center is all about creating moments of luck for Dartmouth students. 

Although funding is a key ingredient that makes a leave-term internship experience possible for many students, the Rockefeller Center is equally focused on offering programs that fully prepare students to succeed in those opportunities.

For many students, a leave-term internship experience is their first time in a professional environment.

“Navigating an internship can be nerve-wracking for a college student,” says Barbara Olachea ’19. “Rocky helped me acquire new ways of thinking and habits that proved useful during my internship. I came into my internship confident of my abilities to communicate efficiently with my supervisor and co-workers, as well as empowered to make the most of my time in the office by advocating for myself and showing initiative, especially at the beginning.”

First-Year Fellow Alumni Mentors are Instrumental to the Program

Since 2007, the Rockefeller Center has offered students and alumni a dynamic opportunity to engage with one another through a unique program called First-Year Fellows (FYF). FYF combines coursework, leadership programming, and mentorship.

Over the past decade, more than fifty-five alumni have hosted students at their organizations for the eight-week summer fellowship portion of the program. This connection provides these undergraduates with the opportunity to engage meaningfully in public policy early in their college careers with the additional support of an alumni mentor who is interested in their success. 

Ryan Spector ’19, who worked at the Congressional Research Service with Mary Beth Nikitin ’96 explains, “With Mary Beth as a mentor, it was very easy to expand my professional network, as well as my knowledge and confidence. The common experience of Dartmouth allowed us to bond quickly, as we always had something to discuss, and she was able to expand my professional network by directing me to alumni that she knew.” 

Class of 2020 First-Year Fellow: Andrew Xiang

Andrew Xiang '20 comes from San Antonio, Texas and graduated from Reagan High School as a National Merit Scholar. At Reagan, Andrew was the class president, captain of the debate team, and an all-state musician. Andrew was also an AAU basketball player, youth basketball coach, and officer with the Math Honor Society.

At Dartmouth, Andrew plans to pursue a double major in Government and Economics, with a minor in public policy. He is also a member of the Dartmouth Forensics Union and qualified for the National Debate Championship as a freshman.

As a First-Year Fellow, Andrew interned at the National Disability Institute under the mentorship of Director Michael Morris. He went to Capitol Hill for regular briefings on the status of healthcare legislation, partook in conference calls and policy meetings about advocacy strategy, and summarized the relevant points from these briefings, meetings, and other events into reports.

Veterans Day - A Day Dedicated to the Cause of World Peace

Veterans Day is an official United States public holiday, observed annually on November 11, that honors military veterans.

November 11th is also known as Armistice Day and Remembrance Day in other countries and marks the date of the armistice agreement that ended the first World War in 1918.  On May 13, 1938 Congress declared November 11th "a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as 'Armistice Day'."  In 1954, Congress replaced "Armistice" with "Veterans" in an amendment, and it hasn't changed since. 

Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day. Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day honors those who died while in military service.  

Notes from the Field: Caroline Berens '18

Caroline Berens '18 interned with the New York State Division of Human Rights for the Summer 2017 term. The following is an excerpt from her internship report.

This summer, I interned at the New York State Division of Human Rights in its regional office in Brooklyn. The Division’s primary role is investigating complaints of discrimination that New York citizens file regarding either employment or housing. The Brooklyn office only dealt with employment discrimination, which meant that I investigated complaints of people who said they had been discriminated against when applying for a job, while working at a job, or after being terminated from a job. The discrimination clause of the New York Human Rights Law covers various protected classes, such as gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, etc.

Rockefeller Leadership Fellow: Sam Colello '18

This series introduces the 2017-2018 Rockefeller Leadership Fellows. Each fellow reflects on why he or she wanted to be a part of the program and what aspects of leadership most interests them.

Communication, compassion, and decision-making skills are three essential aspects of leadership. I believe that communication is the most important element of being a leader because it is the glue that brings everyone together. It ensures that all members of the group are on the same page and it facilitates the collaborative process of completing a task. I admire leaders who are great communicators because it makes the process of achieving a goal smooth and easy to follow. 

Class of 1930 Fellow Amb. Jane Hartley on "The French-American Relationship"

As part of the Class of 1930 Lecture series, the Rockefeller Center hosted Ambassador Jane Hartley, who shared her knowledge on the French-American bilateral relationship and her experience as U.S. Ambassador to the French Republic and the Principality of Monaco between 2014 and 2017.

Although she had previously served in the Carter administration and on the Business Roundtable, in fall 2013, Amb. Hartley was running an international consulting firm and had no political ambitions, which made the call from the White House offering the ambassadorship all the more shocking. She described the whirlwind of affairs between her acceptance of the position and her first steps on French soil in the capacity of ambassador, particularly describing the intensity of the vetting process and divestment procedures as well as the overwhelming media reception she received upon landing in France. The most difficult adjustment she had to make though was getting used to constant security escort after a lifetime of living in New York and taking taxis at will.

Notes from the Field: Ben Goodman '18

Ben Goodman '18 interned in the Washington, D.C. office of Senator Sherrod Brown for the Summer 2017 term. The following is an excerpt from his internship report.

“Leading Creative Collaboration” with Professor Peter Robbie

Professor Peter Robbie, an Associate Professor at Thayer, industrial designer, and design consultant, has been teaching design thinking at Dartmouth for almost 30 years. He encourages students to tackle complex problems in the world using an empathetic, human-centered approach. He believes that to solve these problems, we need interdisciplinary leaders who are innovative thinkers.

He led the Fellows in a session entitled, “Leading Creative Collaboration.” He began by defining “innovation,” which has now become a buzz word in the creative world, as the intentional implementation of the novel and useful. 


The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences