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

Senior Profile: Adrian Ferrari '14

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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. 


Photo by Thanh V. Nguyen

“During my junior winter, I had the privilege of working at the White House in the Office of Public Engagement....I may not have even applied for the position without Rocky, as it was only after sitting down with Sadhana [Deputy Director of the Rockefeller Center] that she convinced me I stood a chance of getting accepted. Sadhana probably saw something that I didn’t have the perspective to see yet: that my time at Rocky was truly a blessing of resources and mentorship that made me a strong applicant.”  --Adrian Ferrari '14

There isn’t just one reason why I decided on Dartmouth over other schools. Where to spend some of the most formative years of your life is big decision for a high school student to make. I remember feeling like I was making it with so little information. I remembered all of the one-liners about Dartmouth’s outstanding faculty and tight knit community, but in retrospect I think I gave disproportional weight to one anecdote I heard from an upperclassman. He told me one of the best introductory writing professors taught a great first year seminar on the Supreme Court. I had just read and loved The Nine over the summer and imagined that seminar as the perfect academic atmosphere for me. Four years later, Professor Kalish is still one of the best professors I’ve ever had.

I might not have known about the Rockefeller Center when I was applying to Dartmouth, but it didn’t take me long to find it. It was actually Professor Kalish who lead me to the Rockefeller Center. She has historically had a high proportion of her students get involved with Rocky programming, and I was no exception. She recommended it as a place I could take my emerging interest in law and the Constitution and gain some hands-on experience. I took her advice and applied for the First-Year Fellows Program, eventually getting placed at the D.C. Superior Court with Judge John Mott ’81. With the preparation I gained in Civic Skills Training the week before, I was ready to tackle my internship and ended up learning more than I could have imagined.

When I arrived back at Dartmouth in the Fall, my involvement with Rocky only increased. I took more public policy courses with Professor Shaiko, eventually completing the Public Policy Minor. I conducted research for the Policy Research Shop and compiled reports that analyzed different aspects of New Hampshire’s bureaucracy. I enjoyed the experience so much that I expanded my research into an independent study about state fusion centers. That same year, I participated in Rocky’s Management and Leadership Development Program (MLDP) where the Deputy Director of the Center, Sadhana Hall, taught me the dual importance of both “doing things right” and “doing the right thing.”

During my junior winter, I had the privilege of working at the White House in the Office of Public Engagement. I received funding for the unpaid internship as a Class of 1964 Named Intern, and I wouldn’t have been able to afford the expensive city without it. Actually, I may not have even applied for the position without Rocky, as it was only after sitting down with Sadhana that she convinced me I stood a chance of getting accepted. Sadhana probably saw something that I didn’t have the perspective to see yet: that my time at Rocky was truly a blessing of resources and mentorship that made me a strong applicant.

After being elected Student Body President my junior spring, I knew the time commitment would probably keep me away from Rocky during my senior year. It was a difficult decision not to apply for Rockefeller Leadership Fellows Program, which is a great follow-up program after MLDP. The time away, however, gave me a chance to apply everything I had learned at Rocky on my own terms. I think about the rest of my post-Dartmouth life in much the same way.

Adrian Ferrari is from Los Altos, California and attended Sacred Heart Preparatory. In high school, he was varsity captain of the cross country and distance track teams in addition to graduating with a light blue ribbon, his school’s highest award for overall achievement. Outside of school, Adrian was politically active, canvassing for local politicians and the No on 8 Campaign. At Dartmouth, Adrian is pursuing a major in Government with a minor in Public Policy. During his freshman summer, he interned for Judge John Mott ’81 as a First-Year Fellow. More recently, Adrian interned at the White House in the Office of Public Engagement and served as Student Body President during his senior year. After graduation, Adrian looks forward to returning the Silicon Valley to organize the tech community to help pass comprehensive immigration reform through Congress.

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