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

Remembering Nina Brekelmans '12

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It is with great sadness that the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center announces the tragic death of Nina May Brekelmans, Dartmouth Class of 2012, on June 3, 2015. Nina was a true "Rocky" student throughout her four years at Dartmouth. We first met Nina at the Rockefeller Orientation at the beginning of her first term. She made it clear that the Rockefeller Center was one of the main reasons that she came to Dartmouth. On the curricular side, Nina majored in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (AMES) and minored in Public Policy. She began her Public Policy coursework in PBPL 5: Introduction to Public Policy during the Winter Term of 2009. Nina finished the class with an A and was ranked #1 in the class. Nina then applied for and was accepted into our First-Year Fellows program. Nina spent the summer following her first year at Dartmouth in Washington, DC under the mentorship of Dani Downing '99 at the Project on Government Oversight (POGO).

Nina Brekelmans, Dartmouth Class of 2012, died on June 3, 2015. Nina majored in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (AMES) and minored in Public Policy. Nina was significantly involved at the Rockefeller Center throughout her four years at Dartmouth.

Nina returned to campus and enrolled in PBPL 45: Introduction to Public Policy Research during the fall term of her sophomore year. Once again, she performed at the top of the class. Her major team-based research project entailed gathering organizational data from all of the homeless shelters in Vermont and New Hampshire. This research enterprise culminated in our Policy Research Shop with Nina and three of her colleagues producing "One Voice: A Report on Homeless Shelters in New Hampshire and Vermont" and hosting a one-day conference at the Rockefeller Center during the Spring Term of 2010. The conference brought together for the first time all of the homeless shelter directors from both states as well as representatives from NH and VT state agencies responsible for financing and regulation of homeless shelters. Nina invested more than 200 hours in preparation for the conference.

During the 2009-2010 academic year, Nina also participated in the NH State of the State Poll conducted by the Policy Research Shop. During her junior and senior years, Nina remained an integral part of the Policy Research Shop, completing one report in each of her last two years—"The Legal Needs of Low-Income Citizens in New Hampshire," and "Methodologies for Tracking Refugees Longitudinally: Nationwide Analysis and Policy Options." Nina also participated in two more NH State of the State Polls. During the summer of 2011, Nina received Rockefeller Center internship funding that took her back to Washington, DC to intern at the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies at the National Defense University. Prior to beginning her internship, Nina participated in our Management and Leadership Development Program during the Spring Term of 2011.

In addition to her strong ties to the Rockefeller Center, Nina also participated in athletics at Dartmouth as a varsity runner on the Women’s Cross Country and Track teams. Nina graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth in June of 2012; she was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa prior to graduation. After graduation, Nina returned to Washington, DC to begin graduate studies at Georgetown University. During here time at Georgetown, Nina spent almost a year studying in Jordan and Egypt, having received the prestigious Boren Fellowship funded by the National Security Education Program. She also continued her long distance running career with the Georgetown Running Club.

Last month, she graduated from Georgetown with an M.A. in Arab Studies. This spring she also was awarded Dartmouth’s James B. Reynolds Scholarship for Foreign Study as well as a Fulbright Graduate Research Fellowship. Nina was preparing to leave for Jordan to begin her Fulbright research at the end of the summer. Nina was well on her way to a most productive and rewarding career and life. She lived her life to the fullest. Nina brightened every room that she entered; she was a terrific student and loyal friend. Our thoughts and prayers are with Nina’s parents, family, and friends. We will miss her dearly.

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