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

Rocky and Me: Ashley DuPuis ’19 Senior Reflection

Ashley DuPuis ’19 has participated in various Rocky curricular and co-curricular programming, including Rockefeller Leadership Fellows. 

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In the Rocky & Me series, Seniors reflect on their experiences during their time at Dartmouth.

After my first year at Dartmouth, I knew I wanted to pursue a Public Policy Minor. From the outset, I was drawn to the Rockefeller Center’s emphasis on experiential learning and quickly jumped at the chance to take my education beyond the confines of a traditional classroom. After taking the introductory course to the minor my freshman winter, I enrolled in Public Policy 45: Introduction to Public Policy Research, which serves as the prerequisite for the Policy Research Shop (PRS). Through PRS, I had a front-row seat to policymaking in New Hampshire and Vermont, as I worked with other Dartmouth students to conduct non-partisan research on a number of different issues facing each state. Topics for research are brought forth by legislative committees, executive agencies, and non-profit organizations, amongst other groups. Through PRS, I have addressed a range of topics from data security to paid family leave. The skills I have learned through PRS laid the foundation for my future policy work both within and outside of the classroom.

My culminating experience for the minor was Public Policy 85: Global Policy Leadership. The course is designed to provide students with real-world international policy experience, as each class travels to their particular country of study at the end of the term. My class studied the genesis and implementation of the 2016 Colombian Peace Agreements signed between the government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The final product for the course was a white paper centered around the question “What role, if any, should the United States have in the implementation of the 2016 Colombian Peace Agreements?”

To complete the report, my peers and I had to draw on past policy courses, as well as weeks of focused study on Colombia and the peace agreement. The series of in-country interviews we conducted over the course of our two weeks in Colombia had us speaking with stakeholders in both the Colombian and U.S. governments, as well as with non-governmental actors such as academics, business people, social activists, humanitarians, art collectives, and even members of the FARC. The opportunity to actually travel to Colombia and meet with individuals personally impacted by the decades long conflict and the recent peace deal made the class one of the most impactful experiences in my time at Dartmouth. 

Beyond the curricular, Rocky has also influenced me through its co-curricular programming. This past year, I have participated in the Rockefeller Leadership Fellows (RLF) program. RLF has served as a capstone to my Dartmouth and off-campus leadership experiences. As part of the program, I have studied different leadership theories and models and have participated in a variety of experiential activities. One of the most rewarding aspects of RLF has been getting to know and learn from the other fellows, who are leaders across campus and beyond. Moreover, to have a time set aside each week to critically reflect on my personal and professional values, as well as my leadership philosophy, has been incredibly valuable and will serve me well as I leave Hanover.

In many ways, my experiences at Rocky – in all its varied forms – have culminated in my plans for after graduation. I will spend the following year in Budapest, Hungary as part of a Fulbright Scholarship. In Budapest, I will conduct research on the political and legal history of migration and asylum policy in the countries that make up the Visegrád Four (V4) in order to assess current and potential modes of cooperation on these issues within the V4 and the European Union. As I prepare to leave Dartmouth, I am confident that Rocky has prepared me for what lies ahead and am grateful to have had opportunities to grow, not only as a professional and person, but as a life-long learner as well.

Written by Ashley DuPuis ’19, Class of 2019 Rockefeller Leadership Fellow

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