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

Rocky Senior Spotlight: Kali Montecalvo '13

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The main reason why I chose to attend Dartmouth was the sense of community that I felt here. From my first campus visit, to my admissions interviewer, to the alum that came to my house after I had been accepted to give me a Dartmouth t-shirt, everyone seemed so warm and inviting and genuinely seemed to care about one another. This was the type of community that I wanted to become a part of for the next four years and beyond.

Though Rocky was not a contributing factor in my decision to attend Dartmouth, I knew that I would be greatly involved with the center the moment that I attended the Rocky open house during Freshman orientation. I enrolled in the course Public Policy 5 my freshman winter and applied for the First Year Fellows Program (FYF) my freshman spring. I can honestly say that this was one of the most valuable and enjoyable experiences that I have had during my Dartmouth career. Having the opportunity to intern in DC straight out of my freshman year of college really instilled within me the desire to go into the public sector and provided me with the springboard off of which to launch the rest of my Dartmouth career. In addition, I participated in the Civics Skills Training program that summer before beginning my internship. This weeklong program in DC really prepared me for my first internship, teaching me pertinent workplace skills and giving me valuable advice about how to be successful in my internship that summer and beyond.

After my wonderful experience with the CST and FYF programs, I decided my Sophomore Fall to participate more fully in Rocky. First, I participated in the Management and Leadership Development Program (MLDP). This was an extremely useful program that helped me to gain different tools and hear advice on how to improve my leadership abilities. I enjoyed the program so much that I applied to work for Rocky as an MLDP student assistant, a position which I continued through my sophomore winter. In addition, another activity that I started my sophomore fall was the Policy Research Shop. Working for the PRS has been incredible. I learned how to conduct research, assemble my findings into a comprehensive document, and recommend and present a course of action to actual state legislatures. I was able to learn and apply my knowledge and research skills to reports that would actually influence Vermont and New Hampshire state policy.

My journey with Rocky continued my Sophomore summer, where I was employed as a communication assistant. I learned a lot about social media and marketing, which became really valuable to me both with my other activities on campus and for future internships. Then, during my junior fall I participated in the Dartmouth-Keble exchange program to study government at Oxford. I was able to become completely immersed in British culture, experiencing life and learning about government from a different perspective. As I have a vested interest in international relations, gaining this international perspective was an invaluable experience.

My junior winter I received Rocky internship funding to intern in Geneva, Switzerland with the US Department of State at the US Mission to the UN, which was an incredible experience and really solidified my interest in international relations. Without the support and funding from Rocky, I do not know if this experience would have been possible. When I returned to campus my junior spring, I became one of the discussion group leaders for First Year Forum, a group that I greatly enjoyed participating in during my own freshman year.

I continued to be involved with Rocky throughout my senior year, working for the PRS and continuing my position as one of the leaders of First Year Forum. In addition, I am graduating with a Public Policy minor.

Reflecting back on my past four years at Dartmouth, it is clear that Rocky had such a large and wonderful impact on nearly every aspect of my time at Dartmouth. Through the center, I have grown academically, personally, and professionally. It has made me a better leader, more informed, and a more well-rounded person.

Personally I have met so many incredible people that I would not have met otherwise – I have made so many lasting friendships with the students involved in Rocky programs and have found wonderful mentors and role models in the Rocky faculty. I enjoy being a part of this strong network of people, one that I know I will be a part of for the rest of my life.

Professionally, Rocky literally opened the door for me, both directly (for instance, by setting up my FYF internship with Conservation International) and indirectly by equipping me with experiences and skills that make me a more competitive applicant in perusing job opportunities and other internships. In addition, Rocky provided me with funding that actually enabled me to pursue amazing internship opportunities that are unpaid. Also, through programs such as CST and MLDP, I have learned a wide variety of useful skills, from networking to communication to global leadership, that have made me more successful in my activities at Dartmouth and in the workplace, both during my Dartmouth career and beyond.

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