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


Ethan Hong '23 RGLP Reflection: It's an Asian, It's an American, It's Ethan Hong

I am 20 years old. I am a 20-year-old male. I am a 20-year-old male from California. I am an agnostic, upper-middle-class, second-generation, 20-year-old Asian American who was raised in Irvine, California. There’s a nearly infinite number of descriptors and experiences which have shaped me, and by extension, my culture and beliefs. To summarize them all in a single sentence would be a disservice to my uniqueness and the same holds true for all people.

 Being the son of first-generation Chinese and Thai immigrants, my culture exists in a state of limbo. Both my parents imparted traditional lessons to me from their respective cultures, yet they have also formed a progressive mindset after living in the U.S. for many decades. Having shared no common languages aside from English, my mom and dad raised my brother and me in a unilingual household where we were mostly encouraged to form our own opinions and identity. As a result, my friends also had a large influence over my culture, the majority of which were second or third-generation Asian immigrants. 

Emily Henrich '22 RGLP Reflection: Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

Most people structure their social and work lives to intentionally avoid ambiguity. In the age of information, with millions of Google search results at the tip of our fingers, a lack of clear and direct information may make some leaders uneasy. However, tolerance for ambiguity is crucial to a person’s ability to operate effectively in an uncertain and rapidly changing environment. The best leaders can maintain internal consistency, even as external circumstances are ambiguous or rapidly changing.

Lona Girardin '23 RGLP Reflection: Welcoming Cross-cultural Experiences

I was born in France and grew up on the island of Maui, meaning that I was exposed to a bicultural way of life from a young age. My own culture and the ways in which I define it has largely been informed by my family, our language, and our traditions. I remember being a child and never knowing what to say when people asked me where I was from, as I got older I realized the experiences I was given as a child were truly a blessing. When I think of globalism and being a global leader, I don’t imagine someone who has no challenges to inter-cultural experiences or global collaboration, but rather, someone who recognizes differences and barriers while still working to create productive outcomes. The toolkit for doing so includes countless factors ranging from intercultural awareness and empathy, to open-mindedness and open conversations. Rather than thinking about challenges to globalism, I much rather think about the potential that can come out of these experiences. Cross-cultural experiences allow us to be exposed to people, experiences, cultures, practices, and languages different from our own which facilitates open-mindedness and might help us tolerate ambiguity.

Diana D'Souza '23 RGLP Reflection: Bridging Intercultural Awareness from America to Taiwan

I had my first international travel experience during a two-week high school class trip to Taiwan. After a sixteen-hour flight, we explored eleven major cities, each strikingly different from my hometown in central Jersey. Although we did frequent some tourist attractions (making pineapple cakes, bargaining at night markets, paddling at Sun Moon Lake), there were several cultural barriers that brought me out of my comfort zone. Most obviously, there was the language barrier; I had been studying Chinese since freshman year of high school, but I was still uncomfortable with the language. This was dangerous, indeed, especially in the night markets, where sellers could pick out accents and price gouge non-natives. My friends and I adapted by emptying our wallets beforehand, showing the vendor we had no money, and they’d usually agree to sell at a lower price.

Katie Casson '23 RGLP Reflection: The Importance of Leaving the Comfort Zone

Unlike what seems like many of my peers, the culture shock of going to college on the east coast terrified and challenged me but I have never once regretted the transition and I am excited to keep pushing myself into such situations. I am from a small town in Colorado and grew up in a rather intense religious bubble that became stifling and downright harmful to my young queer self. I had grown accustomed to this little bubble and although in many ways I did not quite fit in, I was comfortable and considered colleges close to my home. Deciding to go to school outside of this town and travel half-way across the country into a comparatively liberal, diverse, and more open campus environment was a really tricky adjustment. I said (and continue to say) ignorant or miseducated statements every day and have learned to ask questions and accept gentle guidance as I re-learn much of what I was taught growing up. When I first got to college these were more major such as the idea that as a queer person I am deserving of rights and respect and everyone around me despite religious, political, or cultural backgrounds is deserving of the same.

Policy Research Shop: One Day, Two States, Four Hearings

Story from Dartmouth News

Students in the Class of 1964 Policy Research Shop notched a first in the program's 16 years of working with legislative policymakers by presenting testimony on a total of four different policy papers before house committees in two states—New Hampshire and Vermont— on the same day.

Navigating, Consuming, and Working in Journalism amidst an “Age of Suspicion”

On May 19, 2021, the Rockefeller Center welcomed The New York Times International Correspondent Alissa Rubin to deliver the Bernard D. Nossiter ’47 Lecture. Hosted by Alexis Jetter, Lecturer in the Departments of English and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Rubin discussed the causes and consequences of today’s shifting perceptions of fact-based journalism, as well as ways in which readers and journalists can actively reshape their interactions with pieces of journalism for the better.

Panelists Reflect on Their Paths to Careers in Racial and Social Justice

On May 10, 2021, the Rockefeller Center welcomed three alumni to discuss their career paths and their intersections in racial and social justice.

Drug Court: Where Justice Meets Treatment

On May 12, 2021, Tina Nadeau, Chief Justice of the New Hampshire Superior Court joined the Rockefeller Center to deliver the 2021 Perkins Bass Distinguished Lecture. The discussion was moderated by Senior Fellow and the Associate Director for Curricular and Research Programs, Professor Ronald G. Shaiko.

Chief Justice Nadeau is board member of the New England Association of Drug Court Professionals, and New Futures, a nonprofit organization that works to reduce substance use disorder. She is also a faculty member of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals. The subject of her lecture was “Drug Court: Where Justice Meets Treatment”.

Discussing the Past, Present, and Future of the Supreme Court

Nina Totenberg
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On April 29, 2021, the Rockefeller Center welcomed NPR Legal Affairs Correspondent Nina Totenberg hosted at an event titled “The Supreme Court and Its Impact on You.” In a discussion moderated by Professor Charles Wheelan ’88, Totenberg provided insight on the future of the Supreme Court and answered audience questions regarding current pending cases as well as her decades of experience in covering the Court.


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