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

Alumni

Engaging With the Center: The Dartmouth College Public Service Legacy Project

When he was a student in the late 1920s, Nelson A. Rockefeller ’30 helped the nearby town of White River Junction recover from the Great Vermont Flood of 1927. His only request was to not be featured in any newspaper or other media article because his father, John D. Rockefeller, discouraged such publicity. Unearthing a little-known anecdote such as this one, connects undergraduate students to Nelson Rockefeller—a public figure who went on to contribute his wisdom, energy, and resources to the nation as a governor and vice president.

The Rockefeller Center was dedicated in September of 1983 in honor of Nelson Rockefeller. At the same time, his Class of 1930 dedicated a wall in the Center that recognizes all Dartmouth alumni and alumnae who have served in public office with a plaque bearing the individuals’ names and service.

Josh Tupler ’16 Reflects on His Experience with RGLP

Current Rockefeller Global Leadership Program (RGLP) Student Program Assistant, Soham Basu '20 interviewed alum Josh Tupler ’16 about his RGLP experience. RGLP seeks to help participants build their intercultural leadership competencies. Tupler initially got involved with RGLP because he was interested in traveling abroad and saw this program as an excellent opportunity to prepare for this experience. Through the lessons and practical seminars, RGLP provided Tupler with the resources and skills to thrive on the Government Foreign Study Program at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Tupler reflects on the impact of his RGLP experience at Dartmouth.

Soham Basu (SB): How did your perception of the program differ from its reality?

Josh Tupler (JT): I went in expecting a weekly dinner meeting arrangement that a lot of other on-campus activities had, but I came out very surprised at the level of engagement and interaction with speakers. From giving us their emails and cell phone numbers to taking an active interest in our academic lives and careers, it exceeded any expectations that I had.

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.” 

"Effective Delegation: Who Wants the Dollar Bill?" with Alison Fragale '97

“Who wants it?” asked Alison Fragale ’97, as she held up a crisp dollar bill. For a split second, Washington looked out to silent room of Fellows. Then, Matthew Sindelar ’18 sprung from his seat and dived for the dollar bill.

But before he took the bill, Sindelar hesitated and asked, “can I really have it?”

Fragale emphatically nodded, and Sindelar returned to his seat with a grin and one dollar richer.

Fragale then prompted the room, asking why no one else made an effort for the dollar bill. Charlie Blatt ’18, sitting at the far side of the room, noted that there was virtually no possibility that she would reach Fragale before a student sitting at the front of the room. Another student added that it was only a dollar, not a stack of Benjamins. In essence, it wasn’t that the students were lazy or apathetic. As rational actors, students logically saw that minimal reward compounded with low probability for success and the social tackiness of grand public gestures for money made the dollar not worth the effort.

Board of Visitors Biannual Meeting

The Rockefeller Center Board of Visitors (BoV) convened in October for their two-day biannual meeting. The BoV is comprised of Dartmouth College alumni who serve as advisors to the Director of the Center. Drawing from a wide range of backgrounds, the members represent academia, business, law and non-profit organizations. This fall the Board welcomed two new members Mike Pyle ’00 and Ariel Stern ’05 and Tim Harrison ’78 as the new Chair.

The Board uses its time while back on campus to meet with faculty, staff, and students who collaborate with the Center and participate in courses and programming.  

The Brooks Family Lecture: “Ten Years after the Financial Crisis: Causes and Consequences”

As part of the Brooks Family Lecture series, Aaron Klein ’98 gave a lecture entitled “Ten Years after the Financial Crisis: Causes and Consequences”.

Aaron Klein elucidated the consequences and causes of the 2007-2008 financial crisis by detailing how the “perfect storm” of factors combined led to the financial crisis. In particular, he focused on the convergence of the housing bubble and the proliferation of new financial instruments that decoupled loan repayment from profitability origination. He then transitioned into an overview of how repeated warnings about predatory lending practices and subprime mortgages went unheeded. Klein contended that Glass-Steagall would not have prevented the financial crisis because most of the subprime mortgage players—Bear Sterns, Lehman Brothers, AIG, among others—would not have been impacted, and also argued that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were not responsible for the crisis because they did not originate any mortgages.

Turning Your Passion Into Your Living with a Liberal Arts Degree

On Friday, August 4th, the Rockefeller Center hosted a one-day conference entitled “How to Make Your Passion Your Living with a Liberal Arts Degree.” The purpose of the conference was to help students learn how to translate their interests into careers that have meaning and impact.

Puja Devi ’19 values a liberal arts degree “because it encourages me to both delve into my interests as well as explore fields I might not favor as much.” Even though she is a government major, she has taken classes in sociology and women’s and gender studies, studied abroad in India, and is currently searching for research projects in geography.

The conference featured remarks from Rebecca Biron, Dean of the College, about the versatility of a liberal arts degree as well as six young alumni.

Rey Allie ’11 studied Government and Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. He has developed insights to help Uber expand into new markets across the world, expanded the scope and reach of Google’s Intelligence and Investigations team, and currently advises senior leaders on strategic initiatives and opportunities at OfferUp.

First-Year Fellow Mentor: Jennifer Chandler Hauge '82

The First-Year Fellows program is a unique opportunity for first-year students to engage meaningfully in public policy early in their Dartmouth careers. Each year, around 20 students are selected and placed in fellowships with Dartmouth alumni in Washington, D.C., who are willing to take on a significant mentoring role.

The Annual Student and Alumni Reception in Washington, D.C.

The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center hosted its annual Student and Alumni Reception in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, June 15, 2017. Each year the occasion provides an opportunity for the Center’s First-Year Fellows, newly arrived to the city and ready to embark on their 8-week summer internships, to meet and network with their Dartmouth Alumni mentors.

“The First-Year Fellows program is a great example of the partnership between the Rockefeller Center and Dartmouth alumni, who find many ways to contribute to the education of each successive cohort of Dartmouth students,” noted the Center’s Director, Professor Andrew Samwick, during his brief remarks at the reception.

This summer, 23 First-Year Fellows, all members of the Dartmouth Class of 2020, are serving fellowships in a diverse range of host organizations with a Dartmouth alumni mentor.

The Class of 2020 First-Year Fellows in D.C.

The Class of 2020 First-Year Fellows arrived in Washington, D.C. this week and are currently participating in the Civic Skills Training (CST) component of the program. The Fellows have already completed four on-campus training sessions during the spring term and will now spend an additional five days of training in Washington, D.C. before their fellowships begin on Monday.

The CST curriculum covers everything from public speaking, networking, and advocacy writing to project management, team work, and professionalism and is designed to prepare the students for a successful internship experience and beyond. The week includes classroom sessions facilitated by Deputy Director Sadhana Hall and Program Officer Sam Williamson, workshops hosted by area alumni, and excursions around the city to familiarize the students with Capitol Hill and the surrounding area.

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