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

Senior Profile: Dengyang (Max) Liu '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. 

"Reflecting back on my past four years at Dartmouth, there is no doubt that Rocky was indeed a beacon of light for me. Coming from a very different cultural background, I have to say it was not an easy experience transitioning from my high school environment to a college setting as Dartmouth. Yet the Rocky family welcomed me with open arms and prepared me to excel personally and professionally in my life beyond Dartmouth." -- Dengyang (Max) Liu '14

Coming from a public high school with 3,000 students in Guangzhou, China - a city home over 10 million people and never had any snow – to be honest, the idea of living in Hanover, New Hampshire was a little more than foreign to me. So unlike many of my American peers, who have either visited or talk to an alumni from Dartmouth before freshman fall, my Dartmouth journey started as an adventure into an exciting unchartered water.

Since middle school, I have long had an interest in public policy and leadership through my active involvement with Model United Nations and student government. So when I first received Rocky’s introductory package back home the summer before Dartmouth, as I carefully read through all the opportunities offered by the Center, I thought to myself, “This is exactly the kind of programs I’d love to be in at college!” And little did I know, Rocky would become a beacon of light for me at Dartmouth as I encountered and overcame many challenges at Dartmouth.

After participating PoliTALK, First-Year Forum and various Rocky lectures, I decided to take it further by participating in the Management and Leadership Development Program (MLDP) during my sophomore year. Through my weekly engagement with MLDP, I honed my management skills by learning about PowerPoint slideshow design, organizing small group workshops etc. We also touched on topics related to cross-cultural communication, workplace writing and many other useful topics. In the end, I graduated from the program with distinction.

My experience with MLDP led me to apply to work for Rocky as a Student Assistant my junior year. And I was really lucky to be selected to work alongside Vincent Mack, Rocky’s Program Officer, in designing a new globally-focused program being offered at the Rockefeller Center, which eventually came to be known as the Rockefeller Global Leadership Program (RGLP). By working for Rocky, I had a chance to experience Rocky programs from a behind-the-stage perspective: how the whole staff team works, how we balance different students’ interests in our decision-making process, how we tailor our programming capacity to fit the needs, and more.

In addition to developing RGLP, I also participated in an experimental 8-week social venture incubator called “uAcademy for Conscious Change at Dartmouth” taught by Tuck school Alumnae, Gretchen Wallace and supported by the Rockefeller Center, the Dickey Center, and Global Grassroots. This program culminated in a joint international consulting project with the Tuck School’s Paganucci Fellowship in Monrovia, Liberia in Western Africa during my junior winter. While in Liberia, a team of six Dartmouth students interviewed leaders of NGOs and social entrepreneurs and learned from their experiences. We also helped local student organizations in Monrovia improve their approaches to leadership based on what we learned during the program back at Dartmouth.

Reflecting back on my past four years at Dartmouth, there is no doubt that Rocky was indeed a beacon of light for me. Coming from a very different cultural background, I have to say it was not an easy experience transitioning from my high school environment to a college setting as Dartmouth. Yet the Rocky family welcomed me with open arms and prepared me to excel personally and professionally in my life beyond Dartmouth.

I came to Dartmouth wanting to become a leader, and by the time I leave Hanover, I am already a leader. And all this could not have happened without the Rocky center.

Max (Dengyang) Liu ’14 is a senior at Dartmouth College, double majoring in Government and East Asian Studies. Originally from Guangzhou, China, Max has lived and studied in Ohio, US and Toulouse, France as an exchange student. At Dartmouth, Max has served as the leader of the Dartmouth Model UN Travel Team and the Vice President of the Dartmouth International Student Association. He also worked as the Director-General of the Fudan University International Model UN Conference in Shanghai. Currently, Max is planning to spend a year in China starting up his own social enterprise targeted at providing Model UN consulting for Chinese high schools across China after graduation. He hopes to pursue a Master’s degree either Public Policy or Business in France in the future.

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