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

First Year Fellows

Class of 2020 First-Year Fellow: Alex Rounaghi ‘20

Alex Rounaghi '20 grew up in Laguna Beach, California where he graduated from Laguna Beach High School. In high school, he worked as Senator Feinstein’s U.S. Senate Page, served as the Secretary-General of the Model United Nations program, and founded Safe Rides Laguna Beach, a program that allows teenagers to have a safe ride home instead of driving in unsafe conditions. He also was involved in student government as Class President and received the award for Top Achievement in the Social Studies department. His passion for criminal justice began with his time as a Juvenile Justice Commissioner for Orange County.

At Dartmouth, Alex plans to major in Government and minor in Public Policy and possibly Urban Studies. He is involved in Great Issues Scholars, College Democrats, and the Dartmouth Law Journal.

As a First-Year Fellow, Alex interned in the Chambers of Judge John Mott ’81 at the District of Columbia Superior Court. As a judicial intern, he was primarily responsible for drafting legal orders for the judge to review and submit as well as researching certain legal issues on which he would write legal memorandums for the judge and clerk. 

Class of 2020 First-Year Fellow: Alexandrea Gosnell ‘20

Alexandrea Gosnell ’20 comes from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and graduated from Julia R. Masterman High School as an AP Scholar with Distinction. At Masterman, Alexandrea served as the Co-President of the National Spanish Honor Society and worked as a tutor helping local middle school students. She was also a dedicated member of the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center (PPAC) Teen Program.

At Dartmouth, Alexandrea plans to major in History. She is involved with Link Up, and America Reads, which reflects her commitment to education and female empowerment.

Class of 2020 First-Year Fellow: Alex Fredman '20

Alex Fredman '20 is from St. Louis, Missouri and graduated summa cum laude from Parkway North High School. At Parkway North, Alex was the secretary of National Honor Society and a saxophone section leader in the marching band. As a member of the Debate and Mock Trial teams, he participated in regional and state tournaments, and competed in the 2015 National Speech and Debate tournament. He also participated in the school jazz band and quiz bowl team and earned the rank of Eagle Scout as a Boy Scout.

At Dartmouth, Alex plans to pursue majors in Government and History as well as a minor in public policy. He is a staff news writer for The Dartmouth school newspaper and plays for the Dartmouth College Marching Band.

Class of 2020 First-Year Fellow: Ajaipal Chahal ‘20

Ajaipal Chahal ‘20 comes from Santa Clara, California and graduated from Santa Clara High School. At home, he loves to spend time outdoors and go on scenic drives with his friends.

At Dartmouth, Ajai is currently involved with the Great Issues Scholars program, the South Asian Student Association, and the Rocky Entrepreneurship Business and Leadership Club. He serves on the national board of directors of Sister Cities International as the youth representative where he works to build bridges across cultures.

Class of 2020 First-Year Fellow: Albert Chen '20

Albert Chen ’20 hails from Westfield, New Jersey and graduated from Westfield High School as a National Merit Scholar. In high school, he was the drum major of the Marching Blue Devils and led the group to a USBands 5A National Championship. He also served as an officer for the 2016 YMCA Model UN Conference, played in the All-State Band, and studied at the New Jersey Governor’s School in the Sciences.

At Dartmouth, Albert serves as the Vice President of Operations for the Dartmouth Parliamentary Debate Team and works on the Finance & Strategy staff of The Dartmouth.

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 '20

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.

Welcome Class of 2021

Students who come to the Rockefeller Center find a home, mentors, and engaged peers.

The Rockefeller Center has a specially designed First-Year Fellows program for the Class of 2021 that begins by taking Public Policy 5 in the winter term of 2018. Public Policy 5 is the introductory course in the Public Policy minor, which allows students to customize their own interdisciplinary plan of study around an important public policy area that they define, such as health, education, the environment, leadership, law, poverty, or urban issues.

There are additional programs open to first-year students, such as Dartmouth Leadership Attitudes and Behaviors, Student Discussion Groups, and Peer Mentoring.

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.

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