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

Rockefeller Leadership Fellow: Jonathan Chu ’18

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Class of 2018 Rockefeller Leadership Fellow Jonathan Chu ’18 is an Applied Mathematics major and Economics minor from Kansas City, Missouri. 

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Jonathan Chu ’18 discusses his perception of leadership with other Class of 2018 Rockefeller Leadership Fellows. 

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.

Two broad aspects of leadership that I am very interested in are strategic decision-making and effective implementation of those decisions.  I believe my interest in these areas comes from my view of the leader in general.  A leader is someone who could be responsible for making decisions when a group of people may not be able to arrive at one.  At the same time, the leader is tasked with finding a way for the group to accomplish some mission that is likely unattainable by a single person.  These substitutions make it critical that the leader is an excellent decision-maker, but good decisions are worthless if they can't be executed effectively.

I am also interested in becoming better at teaching and being taught.  Reflecting on some of my own leadership experiences, such as being a student assistant at Dartmouth's Ceramics Studio, has caused me to appreciate good instruction and being able to convey an idea efficiently.  I've also come to realize the importance of sometimes being a student rather than a teacher.  As a result, I am interested in knowing when a leader can best use both skills, and how to maximize the outcomes of both.

At the beginning of RLF, I expected to be exposed to many people from different backgrounds who each approached leadership from a different angle.  I hoped that hearing from these speakers, along with reading about various views of leadership, would help me assemble a more complete picture of leadership.  After one term in RLF, I can say that these expectations have certainly been realized.  Going forward, I suspect I will continue to be amazed by our speakers and that my idea of leadership will continue to grow.

Something I did not anticipate was just how much I would value the program's help in reflecting and developing skills.  RLF also serves as a fairly ideal way to learn more about one's self and become more mindful of behaviors and habits to promote or change.  Simply having a structural part of each week dedicated to giving some thought to what I am doing and saying, and how those words and actions affect myself and others, is hugely important to change for the better.  I think the program is successful in helping me become a more mindful, grounded person in addition to teaching leadership skills.  

Jonathan Chu ’18 grew up in Kansas City, Missouri and graduated from the Pembroke Hill School. At Dartmouth, Jon is an Applied Mathematics major and Economics minor. On campus, he has been a member of Dartmouth’s club running team since his freshman year. He enjoys spending time outdoors, and participates in regional timbersports with the Woodsmen’s Team. He has introduced students to Dartmouth as a First Year Trip Leader. Since his freshman fall, Jon has helped teach ceramic techniques to beginners at Dartmouth’s ceramics studio. He is a self-taught knife-maker and is interested in investing. Jon looks to intersections of mathematics, data science, and investing as areas for a career after graduation.

Edited by Alexandrea Gosnell '20, Rockefeller Center Student Program Assistant for Communications

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