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

Senior Profile: Anne Ressler '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 Rodrigo Ramirez Photography

"The [Policy Research Shop] project represented one of the things I most appreciate about Dartmouth and about Rocky specifically: emphasis on interdisciplinary learning as well as creative applications of coursework from multiple classes." --Anne Ressler '14

Although it took me several years to figure out what career path I would pursue, the flexibility of the Policy Minor and the unique opportunities provided by the Policy Research Shop allowed me to pursue my evolving interests while gaining the real-world experience that helped me to land my dream summer job.

I arrived at Dartmouth with the intent to major in engineering and no idea what I actually wanted to do with my life. Although I enjoyed my engineering classes, nothing really resonated with me until my sophomore spring, when I took the course that is now ENGS 18: System Dynamics in Policy Analysis and Design. I was fascinated by the overlap between engineering and policy, and by the end of the term, I had submitted a minor card for the Public Policy minor.

During my off-term in my junior winter, I interned with the State Department in the Economic Section of the US Embassy in Berlin. There, I combined my engineering background with my policy studies to analyze issues related to energy and environmental policy. During my time at the State Department, I came to understand that the field of energy policy is complex and dynamic. It is affected by technological innovation, cultural attitudes, economic forces, and political leadership, and there have been major shifts in energy policy even in the past few years. I resolved to take as many classes as I could in energy policy to prepare for a career in the energy policy field. Upon my return to Dartmouth, I was excited to learn that Rocky offers an environmental track for the Public Policy minor, so I switched my minor to accommodate my new interest.

In my senior year, I took PBPL 45: Introduction to Policy Research and worked on a project analyzing the effects of burying some of the high-voltage transmission lines used in the Northern Pass Project. After the course ended, I continued to work on the paper in the Policy Research Shop, and I look forward to testifying about the paper for the NH House of Representatives’ Environment and Agriculture Committee. In the course of the project, I was able to apply both the technical engineering knowledge I’d learned at the Thayer School and the policy research skills I’d learned at Rocky. The project represented one of the things I most appreciate about Dartmouth and about Rocky specifically: emphasis on interdisciplinary learning as well as creative applications of coursework from multiple classes.

Although I will be staying at Dartmouth next year to complete my B.E. degree, this summer I will be working at the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI), a federally-funded research and development center that analyzes scientific policy for government organizations. During my interviews for the position, my future bosses were especially intrigued by my explanation of my work with the PRS. I’m looking forward to more fully understanding the process of analyzing policy and seeing the larger applications of the work I’ve begun with Rocky. And best of all, remaining on campus next year means that I’ll be able to continue to take advantage of the many programs Rocky offers. In particular, I plan to attend as many public lectures as possible!

Anne Ressler '14 Th '15 is an Engineering Sciences major with minors in Public Policy and German. Next year, she will continue her studies at Thayer to receive a B.E. in Mechanical Engineering. She has an intense interest in energy policy and hopes to work in the energy industry for a few years after graduation before eventually earning a Master’s degree in Public Policy or Public Administration. On campus, Anne is a member of the Dartmouth College Glee Club and serves as both the Social Chair and the organist for the Aquinas House Catholic Student Center.

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