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

First-Year Fellow Mentor: Danni Downing '99

FYF Mentor

Class of 2018 First-Year Fellow, Daniel Shlien during his internship at the Project on Government Oversight with alumni mentor, Danni Downing '99.

FYF Mentor

Class of 2017 First-Year Fellow, Michelle Li during her internship at the Project on Government Oversight with alumni mentor, Danni Downing '99.

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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.

"I became a First-Year Fellows mentor because first internships are so important in a student's educational and career development. Good internships can engender ideas, expose students to concepts never before considered, and open paths; bad internships can stop them in their tracks. Furthermore, good internships not only provide knowledge and experience, but can also shape attitudes towards and insights into the various sectors with which the intern interacts. As a watchdog of the federal government, we at the Project On Government Oversight are reminded on a daily basis that public frustration and discouragement with the federal government is at a seeming all-time high. Because we routinely interact with a multitude of executive branch agencies, Congress, corporations, and non-governmental organizations, we are not only able to teach students about the practical tools available to hold the government accountable, but also challenge the frustration and discouragement by empowering them with the knowledge that individuals really can create solutions to systemic problems." --Danni Downing '99, First-Year Fellow Mentor since 2007

Danielle (Danni) Downing is Editor and Congressional Oversight Training Series Director for the Project On Government Oversight (POGO). Downing first went to work for POGO as an intern in 1998, returned to POGO as a Research Assistant after graduation in 1999, was made Editor in 2002, and became the Training Series Director in 2010. She has led investigations into such issues as the independence of the Environmental Protection Agency National Ombudsman, the lack of public access to Congressional Research Service products, and inadequate whistleblower protection. Downing earned a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College in 1999. Before attending Dartmouth, Downing was a member of the U.S. Army, serving on active duty from 1988 to 1991 and as a reservist from 1991 to 1997.

Danni Downing has mentored the following First-Year Fellows:

  • Daniel Shlien '18
  • Michelle Li '17
  • Arden Arnold '16
  • Xin Yi Peng '15
  • Rohail Premjee '14
  • Richard D'Amato '13
  • Nina Brekelmans '12
  • Sebastian Ramirez-Brunner '11
  • Zachary Mason '10
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