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

Rockefeller Leadership Fellow: Andrew Zhu ’16

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This series introduces the 2015-2016 Rockefeller Leadership Fellows. Each fellow reflects on why he or she wanted to be a part of the program and what aspects of leadership most interests them.

One of my toughest experiences at Dartmouth happened during the spring of my freshman year while playing rugby. I endured a season-ending concussion that lasted 2 months. I had just spent the entire year training and competing for a spot on the first team, and with one untimely hit, my season was over. I didn’t feel like myself, I was behind with my academics, and worst of all, I felt like I couldn’t contribute to the rugby team. I wanted to lead and be on the field.

A senior on the team who was also sidelined by an injury provided me with powerful words of encouragement that I have always remembered. He explained to me that I didn’t have to be on the field or a star athlete to be a leader on the team. Everyone has their role and mine was to get healthier for the following season, since I was just a freshman. In the meantime, I could help everyone else improve their game by doing the minor, unglamorous tasks like filling water bottles and providing emotional support. Since then, I have reassessed my skills and my role to focus on utilizing my talents to help everyone around me improve collectively.

Through the injured rugby senior and other upperclassmen I admire at Dartmouth, I have constantly tried to listen, adapt, and improve my approach to understanding leadership. I believe leadership is a skill that can be taught and enhanced. The Rockefeller Leadership Fellows program is a great environment to facilitate such growth and development. RLF has three key attributes that I believe will promote my development: the speakers, the discussions, and most importantly, the other fellows. In the remaining duration of my time at Dartmouth, and for the rest of my professional career, I hope to have a leadership role and affect positive change. I don’t want to repeat the same mistakes. Therefore, I need to improve my understanding of what leadership means and how to lead effectively. My personal growth depends on self-awareness, with the discipline and courage to set aside past habits in order to grow for the future. RLF presents a holistic leadership development experience and allows a safe space to be vulnerable for self-reflection.

Andrew Zhu ’16 graduated from The Roxbury Latin School in Boston, MA magna cum laude. At Roxbury Latin, Roxbury Latin, Andrew was a three sport varsity athlete, elected President of Roxbury Latin’s environmental group, ECOS, Vice-President and award-winning member of the Model UN team, Executive Officer of the debate team, and Associate-Editor of the school newspaper, The Tripod. At Dartmouth, Andrew is a double major in Mathematics and Economics. He served as Interim Summer Publisher for The Dartmouth and currently serves as an Executive Directorate, leading Operations and Marketing. He also plays for the Dartmouth Rugby Club, is Treasurer of Green Key Junior Honor Society, and a member of Alpha Delta Fraternity. During his off-terms, Andrew has volunteered for John Connolly’s campaign for Boston Mayor and interned with financial institutions in San Francisco and New York City. After graduation, Andrew plans to pursue a career combining finance and education policy.

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