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

Senior Profile: Hunter Kappel '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 Courtney Cania

"Through participating in Rockefeller Leadership Fellows, I have learned and practiced management and leadership skills such as negotiation, delegation, decision-making, giving and receiving feedback in a constructive way… Aside from skills, I have also learned the importance of knowing your mission and making the people around you the best they can be in whatever they are doing." --Hunter Kappel '14

I chose Dartmouth for engineering and rowing. I did not discover Rocky programs until after coming to Dartmouth. Let me share with you my story of how I began my participation in Rocky programs: During my junior winter, I took an acting class here at Dartmouth. It was the first acting class that I had ever taken in my life, and it pushed me out of my comfort zone. But something unusual happened. All of the students in the class became very close—we grew to trust each other. We shared personal stories that many of us have not told other people outside of our families before. By chance, several of my classmates were part of the Rockefeller Leadership Fellows Program, and they encouraged me to apply for the program. And this is where Rocky for me began.

Through participating in Rockefeller Leadership Fellows, I have learned and practiced management and leadership skills such as negotiation, delegation, decision-making, giving and receiving feedback in a constructive way, how to manage up, and how to be an energy giver. Aside from skills, I have also learned the importance of knowing your mission and making the people around you the best they can be in whatever they are doing. RLF sparked my interest in social entrepreneurship.

I am also participating in Rocky’s Management and Leadership Development Program, which gives another setting outside of RLF to practice skills that I have learned in RLF. I have specifically been working on building trust with other participants. I have completed Create Your Path, which allowed me to reflect and pinpoint my mission statement. I also participate in Rocky VoxMasters, which is a great venue for me to work on my public speaking skills.

My engagement with Rocky has helped me to prepare for life after Dartmouth in the following ways: personally, I have a clearer vision as to what some of my more immediate goals are for the next few years. Professionally, I am ready and fully equipped for the first 120 days after graduation and beyond. Rocky has taught me that the world is not about me, but those around me.

Hunter Kappel '14 is a mechanical engineering major with experience in product development. He rowed for two years on the Varsity Lightweight Crew Team. Kappel has been actively engaged with the Chinese Language House since sophomore year. He was awarded the Bradford Research Fund his sophomore year to conduct archeological research of a Neolithic Village in China and the Richter Memorial Fund to conduct research on Antibody IgG Subclassing in the Ackerman Protein Engineering Lab at Thayer School of Engineering. During his senior year at Dartmouth, Kappel became engaged with the Rockefeller Center. He was a Rockefeller Leadership Fellow, which sparked his interest in social entrepreneurship. After participating in an IDEO workshop five weeks before graduation, he realized that his interest in social entrepreneurship ties into engineering product design. Kappel will begin graduate school at Thayer School of Engineering in the fall of 2015. After Thayer, he sees himself immediately pursuing both a JD and a MBA. Thirty years from now, Kappel sees himself changing the world by affecting positive change in many people’s lives.

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