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

Rocky and Me: Sarah Han '17 Senior Reflection

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Sarah Han '17 is an Economics major and Public Policy minor. 

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As a Rockefeller Center First-Year Fellow, Sarah interned at the Office of Senator Gillibrand.

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Sarah is a member of the Class of 2017 Rockefeller Leadershp Fellows.

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Sarah was co-president of Link Up, a Dartmouth female mentoring organization that works to create a strong female community at Dartmouth and with the local community.

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Part of the Public Policy 85: Global Policy Leadership course as a senior, Sarah and fellow policy minors shared their experiences of traveling to the Ukraine at the spring Rockefeller Center Board of Visitors' meeting.

Article Type 

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

After taking AP Macroeconomics in high school, I arrived at Dartmouth fairly sure that I wanted to study Economics. I attended an Economics open house in the Rockefeller Center, and quite literally fell into the Public Policy minor at Dartmouth and found myself a home at the Rockefeller Center. The Rockefeller Center has constantly supported my academic, extracurricular, and personal pursuits – from the Public Policy minor, to Rockefeller Leadership Fellows, to Rockefeller Mini-grants for Link Up. Through the Rockefeller Center, I have gained a space to reflect upon my various experiences and think critically about how I want to grow as a leader.

My first involvement with the Rockefeller Center was during my freshman winter, with Professor Ron Shaiko’s Public Policy 5: Introduction to Public Policy. I greatly enjoyed the emphasis Professor Shaiko put on real-world policy examples, and decided to apply to the First-Year Fellows (FYF) program. I was thrilled to be accepted as part of the FYF program, and I benefited from the Rockefeller Center’s full integration of “experiential learning” as part of Civic Skills Training and the FYF program. During the program, I interned at the Office of Senator Gillibrand, and gained a variety of professional skills working in a fast-paced environment.

This experience confirmed my interest in being a Public Policy minor, so upon returning to Dartmouth I continued taking Public Policy classes. These classes included doing work with the Class of 1964 Policy Research Shop during my sophomore year, and traveling to Ukraine with Public Policy 85: Global Policy Leadership as a senior. My experiences with the Policy Research Shop and in Ukraine confirmed my interests in consulting; for both experiences, I had a client that I needed to turn in a deliverable for. These practice-consulting exercises have allowed me to experience what it would be like to have to solve a business problem for a client, and after graduation, I will be pursuing a career in consulting in Boston.

My leadership experiences over the past four years taught me various skills in achieving goals and overcoming obstacles; however, largely in part to the D-Plan, I did not have the opportunity to reflect on how these experiences have shaped me as a leader. Thus, I thought I could gain a chance to reflect on these experiences through the Rockefeller Leadership Fellows program. I decided to apply, and am thankful to have been accepted as a member of the Class of 2017 Rockefeller Leadership Fellows. RLF’s continuity throughout my senior year provided the forum to improve my analytical skills to critically review my weaknesses as a leader and to further develop my problem-solving skills. I am particularly interested in cultivating the skill of managing up and down within an organization. RLF provided the space to work on that skill. Moreover, as someone who learns through action, I benefited greatly from RLF’s structure of learning from different speakers, then implementing these leadership skills in my extracurricular activities.

My leadership capacities developed as a result of my participation in RLF; I invested a lot of my time at Dartmouth to Link Up, a female mentoring organization that I became co-president of during my sophomore year. Through Link Up, a female mentoring organization, I have worked to create a strong female community at Dartmouth. Additionally, I have expanded this female community to the Upper Valley with our annual Sister to Sister conference. We invite local middle school girls to a full day conference to discuss different issues adolescent girls face with all costs covered by Link Up. Last year, it was a personal goal for me to increase the number of attendees; in order to do so, I brainstormed different fundraising strategies so that we were able to invite an additional middle school. Fundraising for Sister to Sister comes from the Rockefeller Center Mini-Grants, and applying for funding is an opportunity for Link Up and myself to reflect on how we use the funds and what our goals for the conference are.

After graduation, I am planning on working at a consulting firm in Boston. The mentorship I received from Sadhana Hall guided my post-graduation plans. Sadhana taught me the importance of “showing up” and honoring my commitments. These lessons shaped my work ethic and helped others to see my dedication to the task at hand. These professional skills have turned into strengths I could point to during the job search process.

As I leave Dartmouth, I feel confident that the Rockefeller Center has prepared me for what lies ahead – both professionally and personally. Through my involvement in various Rockefeller Center programs, I have gained a set of leadership skills that I will carry with me beyond Dartmouth. I have realized that self-doubt as a leader is something I often struggle with; I have gained tools to help me internalize my self-worth as a leader and to frame the doubt as motivation to inspire my work as a leader.

Written by Sarah Han, Dartmouth Class of 2017.

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