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

Rocky and Me: Kaina Chen ’18 Senior Reflection

Kaina Chen, Class of 2018 (Photo by Akiirayi Ademoyo)

Kaina Chen ’18 during a Rockefeller Peer Mentoring Program session in the Winter of 2018. (Photo by Faith Rotich)

Kaina Chen ’18 during a Rockefeller Leadership Fellows session in the Fall of 2017. (Photo by May Nguyen)

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

I first became involved with the Rockefeller Center later than most. During my junior year, I signed up for a Rocky program out of curiosity (as I would walk through the Center regularly to attend my government classes). I made an intentional choice to stay involved for the people and the community. I first participated in the Management and Leadership Development Program and then went on to work as a student program assistant for the Rockefeller Professional Preparation Program, Rockefeller Alumni Mentoring Program, and the Rockefeller Peer Mentoring Program.

In addition to my involvement with the Rockefeller Center, I also pursued interests in the non-profit sector, mentoring programs, and the arts while at Dartmouth.

As a senior, I participated in the Rockefeller Leadership Fellows (RLF) program. In RLF, I had the opportunity to learn personal, academic and case-based perspectives on leadership challenges in a variety of scenarios. I have been asked to think critically from the perspectives of peers with radically different working habits, leadership styles, and personal experiences. I have had the privilege to hear from individuals with experience in leadership challenges in different contexts from military operations to religious life to higher education. The cases asked me to support my hypothetical decisions with evidence on the spot, challenging me to think more analytically when working with others in real situations. On a personal level, I am grateful that RLF introduced me to genuine and ambitious peers interested in a variety of fields from trading and technology to product design. The program gave me the time and space to intentionally reflect during my senior year, when it’s easy to be carried away with plans for the future. 

I am thankful for the extraordinary team at the Rockefeller Center for curating such an encouraging and challenging space to learn outside of the classroom. Specifically, working with Tatyana Gao as a program assistant has been a highlight of my Rocky experience. I am so very thankful for the important lessons learned from her about program improvement and persistence. I will miss Joanne Needham, her always-warm greetings and our spontaneous conversations in the staff hallway. And finally, I am grateful for Deputy Director Sadhana Hall—her kind and welcoming presence at each and every RLF session, and her genuine concern and encouragement for the personal and professional pathways of her students. 

Kaina Chen, Dartmouth Class of 2018, grew up in Austin, Texas. She graduates with a major in Government and minor in Chemistry. After graduation, she plans to work in the healthcare industry in the Boston area. 

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