Dartmouth's Rockefeller Center embodies the ideals of public service. The center offers a range of courses, seminars, exchanges, and other experiences for undergraduates. The goal of each learning opportunity: to prepare wise, effective leaders dedicated to serving others. Your gift will help strengthen and expand the center's programming.
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Jessica Guthrie ’10 graduated from Dartmouth with a major in sociology and a minor in public policy. In addition to being president of Dartmouth’s Afro-American Society, a member of the Dartmouth Gospel Choir and Casque and Gauntlet Senior Society, and the leader of Dartmouth’s Vote Clamantis on-campus voter registration drive, Jessica was also immersed in Rockefeller Center programs throughout her Dartmouth career. A two-year Teach for America corps member, Jessica is now the manager of teacher leadership development with Teach for America in Dallas, Texas.
“The skills I learned through Rocky Leadership Fellows I am now using as a leader on my staff.”
Rocky had me before I even got to campus. The month before I came to Dartmouth as a freshman, I received a Rockefeller Center newsletter in the mail that explained the public policy track and talked about the First-Year Fellows Program, the Research Policy Shop, and the different leaders and speakers Rocky brings to campus. I thought, “Wow, this is exactly what I want to do!” The first week of school I went to the Rocky open house with that newsletter in my hand and said, “How do I jump in?”
I was involved in all three of the Rockefeller Center programs: as a First-Year Fellow, as part of the Policy Research Shop, and as a Rockefeller Leadership Fellow. As a First-Year Fellow, I was paired up with now-Senator Kirsten Gillibrand ’88 from New York. The internship in her office made me realize that I wanted to be involved with public service for the rest of my life. Watching her interact with constituents was my first exposure to our public policy system and what really goes into making laws and speaking for the people. I attribute my extra-passionate drive to become involved with public service to the First-Year
The Policy Research Shop was like the extra layer on the cake for me in terms of realizing that public policy was what I needed to do with my life. In the PRS you learn research skills and then you’re given a problem to research and come up with potential solutions. You talk with the stakeholders and community leaders, you get the nitty-gritty details, and then you develop a brief. When I was presenting our research findings to members of the New Hampshire legislature I realized that the research we were doing as college students was on par with what organizations would get paid thousands of dollars to do. And I said to myself, “Oh my goodness—as a second-year student I have done work that has an influence on potential laws being passed here in New Hampshire.” It made me realize that this field is accessible to me—I can be a student with an interest and an ability to research and have an impact.
When I was a senior I was part of the Rockefeller Leadership Fellows program, which brings together 22 senior leaders from all around campus that have shaped the leadership landscape at Dartmouth. RLF members meet each week to discuss different topics such as negotiation or conflict resolution. Each week I was pushed by peers who didn’t necessarily believe the same things that I do, but still had the same aspirations that I did. I not only learned about this general concept of leadership at each session; I also learned a lot about myself, how I interact with others, and how I need to become a better learner and listener.
The RLF program is more than just a Thursday night discussion group about leadership. It challenged me to think about how I could make the groups I was leading more effective. It also made me realize that as a senior about to hit the real world I needed those skills to be a competitive employee. In fact, the application of the lessons I learned at RLF to my life and career now has made me realize how important and valuable RLF was when I was at Dartmouth.
The leadership skills I learned through those RLF sessions I am now using as a leader on my staff. As a manager of teacher leadership development with Teach for America my role is to develop and support first- and second-year teachers as they are placed in high-risk, urban schools here in Dallas. I am not only giving them teaching advice, I am developing their leadership through the lens of teaching. Because I am in a position to manage and develop teachers directly, I use those RLF leadership lessons to inspire and motivate them. My experiences with the Rockefeller Center gave me a direction in life, a career, and the skills to pursue my career to the fullest. I couldn’t ask for more than that.
Originally from Calais, Maine, David Lumbert graduated from Dartmouth in 2012 with a major in government and a minor in public policy. Through the Rockefeller Center’s Policy Research Shop, David completed projects ranging from analyzing the social effects of statewide gambling initiatives to determining best practices for longitudinally tracking refugee populations. He is currently an analyst at the Advisory Board Company, a health care research and consulting company in Washington, DC.
“The work we did at the Policy Research Shop affected my entire Dartmouth experience.”
I came to Dartmouth interested in government and economics. I knew I wanted to do a public policy minor, so I took Public Policy 45 and then became involved in the Policy Research Shop. The first project I was assigned was to look at all the different states that had legalized gambling for the New Hampshire Gaming Study Board. Our job was to review what the social impacts were and how those social impacts were monitored across the country. It was exciting and I really enjoyed the real-world experience.
The Policy Research Shop offers opportunities to do in-depth research that you don’t get in other classes. Lawmakers don’t come to the Policy Research Shop with easy problems—they present you with difficult issues and you have to research those problems and defend that research vigorously in front of state-level lawmakers who have their own agendas. You have to show why your research holds up against everything they’ve passed, and you also have to prove why what you’re saying is better than what anyone else is saying.
The work we did at the Policy Research Shop affected my entire Dartmouth experience. It strengthened my ability to do research in other areas. It made me think more critically about issues in other classes, and it improved my public speaking. My ability to collaborate and work as part of a team also improved because I learned how to deal with different working styles.
When I was interviewing for jobs after graduation, my experience with the Policy Research Shop is the one thing that came up every time. Regardless of what career you pursue after college, the Policy Research Shop is directly relevant to everything because, let’s face it, you’ll always do research in something. You’re always presenting your work, whatever you’re doing. And you’re always asked to justify and defend what you’ve found. People who interviewed me were interested in my experience with the Policy Research Shop because they’re always looking for people who can solve difficult problems, work in a team, and defend what they’ve discovered. The Policy Research Shop does all of that. It changed my life.