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

Rocky and Me: Jennifer Davidson '15 Senior Profile

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The Rockefeller Center encourages its outgoing seniors to reflect on their experiences at Dartmouth as part of a series called Rocky and Me.

I’m really interested in law, policy, and social reform, so I often attended public events at the Rockefeller Center during my first two years at Dartmouth. I loved the opportunity to hear from leaders in all kinds of fields. One of my friends was a PoliTALK student assistant, and she always said such great things about her experiences, so together these experiences inspired me to become involved with the Rockefeller Center.

Jennifer Davidson '15. Photo by Thanh V. Nguyen.

During my sophomore spring, I participated in the Management and Leadership Development Program (MLDP). Through my first long-term involvement with the Center, I had the chance to practice everything from public speaking to team building, which, as an aspiring lawyer, was hugely important. It also pushed me to try new things and get outside of my comfort zone, which is a major part of being a leader. MLDP also allowed me to get to know many fellow students and introduced me to more of the Center’s programming.

My junior winter, I joined the Rockefeller Center’s student staff as a PoliTALK student program assistant, a role I continued through my senior year. Throughout my time in this role, I believe I’ve become far more experienced in facilitating discussions. I also feel more confident talking with speakers who are incredibly accomplished and often times quite intimidating. As a PoliTALK assistant, I don’t engage in what people often associate with "conventional" notions of leadership, and instead a lot of my work is more behind-the-scenes. I need to facilitate without being overbearing. However, these types of interpersonal leadership skills are so important to being successful in the workplace. In internships and in entry-level jobs, you usually are not the one getting up in front of meetings and leading everything right from the get-go. instead, you need to know how to be a leader who exemplifies themselves in their interactions with co-workers, clients, and all of the people you interact with on a daily basis.

I'm attending law school in the fall, and although people often think of lawyers as the ones out advocating in front of a jury, the reality of the practice of law is that most work takes place in groups with your fellow lawyers, coming to agreements outside of a courtroom. Thus, all of the leadership experience I have attained through my job at the Rockefeller Center will be directly applicable and helpful. I have also had such a great leadership role model in Joanne Needham, my supervisor and the Coordinator of Public and Special Events, who has shown me the importance of leading with lots of positive energy and enthusiasm!

This piece was written by Jennifer Davidson '15. Jennifer originally hails from Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. At Dartmouth, she is a Government and Women’s and Gender Studies double major. On campus, in addition to working for the Rockefeller Center, she is co-president of Dartmouth Animal Welfare Group, an Admissions Tour Guide, and works for the Women’s & Gender Studies program coordinator. Jennifer participated in the Government foreign study program to London and the Rockefeller Center's Dartmouth-Oxford Exchange program at Keble College. In the summer of 2014, she was a Dickey Cnter-funded intern at the Kosova Women’s Network in Prishtina, Kosovo. This fall, Jennifer will be attending law school and is planning on pursuing public interest law.

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