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

Rocky and Me: Niamé Daffé '18 Senior Reflection

Niamé Daffé, Class of 2018 (Photo by Faith Rotich)

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

As an international student, I found myself on campus that first year during the six-week winter interim break and decided to look for a job. That’s how I discovered Rocky and met Elizabeth Celtrick, the Senior Assistant Director, who hired me as a Student Program Assistant for Special Projects. My experience at Rocky during that break was so positive, I ended up working for the Center for the next four years, during which I have had the opportunity to be involved with Rocky in many different roles and capacities. As a Biology and Sociology double major, it never occurred to me that Rocky would be a place where I could learn, grow, and be so involved. A common misconception is that you must be interested in public policy, government or economics to find a place at Rocky or to make use of all its wonderful resources. This is far from true, so I’m glad I got involved early on and stayed involved all four years. 

My freshman winter, I participated in Dartmouth Leadership Attitudes and Behaviors (D-LAB), which is a program geared towards first-year students. Through the program I was able to reflect on the time I had already spent at Dartmouth and became more intentional about how I wanted to spend the rest of my time here. I also had an opportunity to connect with upper-class mentors and met many first-year students as well. As a student program assistant, I also had a chance to write website articles about my experience with the program as I was participating in it, which helped me reflect on the experience even more. Overall, D-LAB was a great experience, so when I had an opportunity to be a facilitator for the program my sophomore year, I didn’t hesitate to do it. It was similarly a great experience. 

The many programs I have participated in at Rocky have greatly improved my leadership skills, my various jobs as student assistant for special projects, communications, and database management. They have also provided me skills in communication, data management and professionalism which I have used and leveraged when looking for internships and jobs. After graduation, I will be doing a fellowship at the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) where I will be building on the many skills I have learnt at Rocky. 

Because of my involvement at the Center, Rocky has become a home for me over the past four years. The staff at Rocky have really added to my experience at Dartmouth and in many ways have become mentors and friends. As an international student who only gets to go home once every year, I have been so grateful for the role that the staff at Rocky have played in making sure that I’m doing well and enjoying my experience at Dartmouth. Rocky staff members have invited me to their homes. They have attended my dance performances. They have been invested in my academic and personal journey here at Dartmouth. As I get ready to start my postgraduate life, I have no doubt that the skills I have learnt and the people I have met at Rocky will stay with me. 

Zeinabou “Niamé” Daffé, Class of 2018, is an international student from Mali and Swaziland. She graduates this spring as a Biology and Sociology double major.

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