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

Notes from the Field: Arjun Sachdeva '17

Article Type 

Rockefeller Center-funded interns reflect on their experiences as part of our Notes from the Field series. The Rockefeller Center helps students find, fund, and prepare for a leave-term internship experience in public policy research, public policy analysis, issue evaluation, or activities which help shape and determine public policy. 

Student Intern: Arjun Sachdeva '17

Internship Organization:
Ashoka U - Arlington, VA
How would you describe your employer in one paragraph? What’s the elevator pitch?
Ashoka U transforms universities across the world into hubs of social innovation. This global network of leading universities in the field of social innovation strives to expose students to the concept of social entrepreneurship in hopes that everyone can become a "changemaker."

What are your specific responsibilities in the organization?
I am responsible for assisting with Ashoka U's global expansion strategy. This includes writing proposals, creating marketing documents, and making budgets to expand our work across the world. I am also in charge of Ashoka U's social media. I manage their Facebook page and keep our audience engaged with what we do.

How did you feel on the first day of your internship?
I was beyond nervous on my first day. This was my first real internship, and I was living on my own in a place I had never been before. I was actually so unfamiliar with Washington, DC that on my first day I took the metro in the opposite direction of my work and found out 3 stops later. Once I finally did arrive at Ashoka U, the staff and other interns welcomed me and made me feel at home.

What is your favorite part of the internship so far?
The most rewarding aspect of my internship has definitely been seeing the impact of my work. Through some of the projects I have completed, Ashoka U has solidified partnerships with amazing organizations, and members of our staff are now traveling to unique places all across the world to spread their vision. Just knowing that what I do is actually valuable to Ashoka U and not just busy work has been truly special.

What challenges have you faced so far?
I think the greatest challenge I have been confronted with is being thrown into a highly developed system and having to find my way around. Ashoka U has been doing amazing work for over 6 years, and I had to learn very quickly the ins and outs of the system. Another challenge has been taking an idea from its conception to its completion. When I am assigned a project, it is usually very vague, so taking that idea to a finished project with little help has been challenging but a great learning experience.

What do you hope to achieve by the end of your internship?
I hope to get a broader sense of what the field of social entrepreneurship is and to really see it in practice. I'm also hoping to take some of the insight from Ashoka U and bring it back to Dartmouth to help me personally in honing my skills as well as helping to develop some of Dartmouth's entrepreneurial initiatives.

What have been some practical lessons you've learned in the day-to-day life of your internship?
Cooking is hard but eating out for every meal is insanely expensive. The DC metro is terrible to use on the weekends due to crowds, construction, and infrequency. Washington, DC is an amazing city with so much to do, but one of the great things about it is how central it is. Taking weekend trips to Philadelphia or New York City is super easy and relatively inexpensive. Don't be afraid to meet new people because DC is full of awesome interns from all over.

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