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

Rocky and Me: Mary Sieredzinski '17 Senior Reflection

Rocky & Me_Sieredzinski

Mary Sieredzinski '17 is a government major and a sociology minor and plans to work in New York City after graduation in the Teach For America program.

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Mary Sieredzinski participated in the Management and Leadership Development Program during her sophomore year.

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Mary Sieredzinski worked as a Rockefeller Center Student Program Assistant for the Management and Leadership Development Program for three terms.

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During the spring term of her Junior year, Mary participated in the Rockefeller Global Leadership Program. (Photo by May Nguyen)

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Mary was a member of the Class of 2017 Rockefeller Leadership Fellows. (Photo by May Nguyen)

In the Rocky & Me series, Seniors reflect on their experiences during their time at Dartmouth.

In high school I was always involved in many clubs with leadership experiences, including sport, track and field. However, during my first year at Dartmouth I focused solely on track. When my training was not going as well as I had hoped, I turned to Rocky as a way to fulfill my desire for personal development. I first enrolled in the Management and Leadership Development Program my sophomore year. I think the biggest takeaway I had from MLDP, which I still reference on a daily basis, is the importance of understanding the Myers Briggs Personality Type Test. Since that session, I understand myself and others much more than before, and this knowledge has allowed me to develop stronger professional and personal relationships.

Once I had completed MLDP as a participant, Robin Frye, the program officer, asked if I would like to work for Rocky as a Student Program Assistant for MLDP.  I jumped on the opportunity and ended up working with the program for three terms. In this position I was able to help mentor program participants on their personal leadership challenges and really grew as a facilitator. The position also afforded me the opportunity to interact with a lot of other students, share in their struggles, and empathize that a lot of us have similar organizational leadership and management struggles. It was rewarding to watch them experience success when they employed the lessons learned in MLDP to their challenges. Additionally, working with the Rocky staff, particularly Robin Frye, helped me work on my own personal leadership strengths and weaknesses. Robin was really the first person at Dartmouth to give me a lot of responsibility in an organization, and I really appreciated her mentorship.

During my Junior year I participated in the Rockefeller Global Leadership Program. At the beginning of the program we each created a personal goal for ourselves and mine was to recognize differences. All my life I have tried to find similarities between people, which can be a good thing, but it’s important to recognize differences. As a RGLP participant, I also became much more aware of how I am perceived by others and of the privileges I have. RGLP truly transformed how I think about cultural frameworks and opened my perspective to life in a way I had never thought imaginable. I am thankful to the program officer, Vincent Mack, the student program assistants, and all of my 16S cohort for creating a positive environment for us to all learn about one another and discuss difficult topics.

By my senior year, the Rockefeller Center had played a huge role in shaping my college experience, along with being a member of the Varsity Track and Field team as a heptathlete, my sorority Alpha Phi, and my work with the Dartmouth College Fund. Going into my senior year, I knew I was going to be taking on some major leadership roles, and I was ready to take it to the next level and start developing my own personal leadership philosophy. This is why I applied for the Rockefeller Leadership Fellows. In RLF, we have grappled with some of the most complicated, difficult leadership experiences. Every session was a brain exercise. I learned from my peers, guest speakers, Deputy Director Sadhana Hall and Program Officer Tatyana Gao, but I also had the opportunity to critique myself and really work on strengthening my leadership skills, especially in public speaking, interest-based negotiations, and self-awareness.

Overall, my Rocky experiences are all intertwined, and they truly have built upon one another. I know for a fact I would not be the same person without them, as the lessons I have learned in these programs I use on a daily basis. Rocky helped me realize my strengths as a leader and work on my weaknesses. Next year I will be teaching special education in New York City as a part of the Teach For America program. Rocky gave me the confidence to accept this position. If you asked me at the beginning of my freshmen year if that was my calling, I would not have believed you, but I know I have been prepared to take on the many obstacles bound to come my way. I have Rocky to thank for that.

Written by Mary Sieredzinski, Dartmouth Class of 2017.

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