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

Rockefeller Leadership Fellow: Soyeun Yang '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.

I have realized during my time at Dartmouth that it’s difficult to define a leader. Recognizing a leader is easy, as there are many charismatic individuals on campus with admirable traits. However, distilling a person’s character into their components is significantly harder; just as words do not fully capture the objects they identify, a handful of traits cannot do justice to a great leader. Through the Rockefeller Leadership Fellows Program, I hope to learn what distinguishes a great leader from a good one – and more importantly, work to make these abstract traits a part of my own character.

I have learned throughout my time as a UGA that leadership is an ongoing process, rather than a role, and it is only through a combination of theory, practice, and time that one can be a leader. It is for this reason that I am especially excited about the Rockefeller Leadership Fellows Program; few leadership development programs address all three components, and the yearlong requirement of the program will undoubtedly allow me to become intimate with my own limitations and goals as a leader in a formal context.

Throughout my life, I’ve imagined all the people who surround me as a web – the stronger strands connect me to those who are close to me, and the gossamers represent the people with whom I’ve had fleeting encounters. I’d often wondered what would happen if I grasped at those delicate threads – those people with whom I exchanged fleeting smiles in the library, the girl that lived in my building – and made those connections. That curiosity prompted my application to be an Undergraduate Advisor, and it was this belief in turning serendipity into substance that informed my time as a UGA.

Some of my best conversations on campus have been with people I hardly knew at the time – people who I met through either circumstance or sheer luck. That human-to-human exchange, in which we challenge each other’s thoughts and push each other towards self-improvement, gives me purpose and gratitude for our shared human existence. That’s something I look forward to in the Rockefeller Leadership Fellows Program.

Soyeun Yang '16 grew up in Boulder, Colorado and graduated from Fairview High School. At Dartmouth, Soyeun is an English major and Russian minor. She is currently an Undergraduate Advisor and Clinical Health Officer of the Nicaragua CCESP. Soyeun is also involved in the Women in Science Project and Alpha Xi Delta sorority. In the past, Soyeun has worked for several scientific research labs and a law firm. After graduation, she plans to pursue her interests in international development, entrepreneurship, and law.

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