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

Rockefeller Student Profile Highlights: Manav Raj '15

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During the break, we are taking the time to appreciate the many student program assistants and students of the Policy Research Shop that help the Rockefeller Center run smoothly. Without the support and time of these students, many of our public programs would not harbor the same impact and outreach that currently exists for Dartmouth students. This series of posts will document the daily tasks of these students, what they do, and anything else they care to share about their experiences. Today we have Manav Raj, a member of the class of 2015 pursuing an Economics major with a possible Public Policy or Sociology minor.

What are you involved in on campus?
I'm a news writer for The Dartmouth and I play in the Barbary Coast Jazz Ensemble. I joined the 2012 Tri-Kap pledge class and I'll be the philanthropy chair for this coming winter term.

What is the day in the life of a PRS student?
For me, personally, it wasn't really a daily commitment. I would meet with my group maybe once a week and we would split up the work we had to do. We would each work on our individual parts and then meet as a group and combine our research and work together to refine the product, usually with one of the program coordinators. Though it varied based on the week and the project we were working on, it would usually amount to around 3-5 hours of work a week.

How did you hear about the PRS? What made you want to be involved?
My initial involvement with the PRS was actually a bit of a fluke. I didn't get into one of the classes I signed up for freshmen fall, so on a whim I signed up for Public Policy 45. I found the class to be really interesting and I thought the projects that we did were engaging, so I kept up with the PRS after completing that class.

What has been your experience working for the PRS? What are some highlights and difficulties you have encountered on the job?
I've really enjoyed my experience with the PRS and it provided me with one of the best extracurricular experiences I had during my freshmen year. Along with my group, I was able to present a report about voter fraud and about New Hampshire's emergency response system to the a committee in the New Hampshire State Legislature. Before my first presentation, I felt a little nervous initially. It can be a little intimidating presenting to a real committee rather than to professors or practicing in a room, but our report was fairly thorough and I think we did a great job presenting. As we went through the presentation I felt more and more comfortable. It was a really fun experience for me and it felt that, even though I was just a freshmen in college, I was able to do meaningful work that could have real policy implications.

Are there any particular skills you have used as researcher that you have utilized in other organizations/clubs on campus or in an internship?
I think that the presentation itself gave me valuable experience in public speaking and in communication.

Has it been difficult to juggle an on-campus job with your academic and social commitments?
I didn't think so. I think the PRS isn't necessarily a huge time commitment and I never felt over committed with my academics and with my work for the PRS.

What advice would you give students who may want to get involved with the PRS?
I'd encourage them to try it, especially if you're interested in public policy or research. I would contact Professor Shaiko and try it out. It's a fun experience that doesn't take up an onerous amount of time.

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