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

Recognizing Rockefeller Center Student Program Assistant: Sarah Waltcher ’16

Sarah Waltcher

Sarah Waltcher ’16, Rockefeller Center Student Program Assistant for the Dartmouth Leadership Attitudes and Behaviors Program.

16W DLAB Student Program Assistants

Sarah with the D-LAB Leadership team, staff members Robin Frye and David Pack, and fellow student program assistant, Austin Boral '16.

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A passion for dialogue led Sarah Waltcher ’16 to become part of the first class of D-LAB facilitators and to remain active in the program every year since. In three short years, Sarah has witnessed the program grow and develop both in size and training.

“Sarah represents a new generation of refined activism,” says Robin Frye, Program Officer at the Rockefeller Center and Sarah’s supervisor. “Her goal is to get everyone to a place of mutual understanding by thoughtfully challenging people to think deeper about issues.”

According to Sarah, first-year students often feel pressure to say they love everything about college. Reflective conversations provide support to students struggling with some aspect of the new experience of being on campus. D-LAB enables students to talk about issues with a variety of people from different backgrounds, and allows reflection without an end goal other than the conversation itself. Sarah finds it uplifting to see how this program enables students to talk about their values and Dartmouth. The program’s success has demonstrated that students want to talk about these things, but do not normally have a platform to do so. 

D-LAB student program assistants like Sarah make a three term commitment to the program and contribute significantly to the program’s content development. D-LAB student facilitators begin preparing for the program during fall term. These practice sessions lay the groundwork for better conversations during the winter term sessions with the first-years. By taking turns facilitating each session ahead of time, student facilitators establish an effective working relationship with their co-facilitator, and bond as a group.

Sarah says she has applied the facilitation skills gained in D-LAB to other campus organizations by knowing how to better ask open-ended questions that get people talking about experiences in a constructive way. She participates in the Palaeopitus Senior Society, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and SEAD. In addition, she is vice president of Kappa Kappa Gamma. As a volunteer for DOC Freshman Trips, she led two trips and was a part of Vox Crew.  Her favorite memories at Dartmouth so far include a dance party on the top of a mountain during the fifty-mile hike from Hanover to the Lodge, watching friends’ senior thesis presentations, and sneaking into the Homecoming bonfire to run laps with the current freshmen this year with her friend she ran with freshmen year. An English major from New York City, Sarah plans to teach high school English after graduation.

Submitted by Rachel Inman ’19, D-LAB participant and writer for the Rockefeller Center

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