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

Senior Profile: Madeline Sims '12

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"As I look to next year and beyond, I know that my Rocky experiences – along with classroom learning, research positions, and other extracurricular activities – have provided me with a solid foundation upon which to excel both personally and professionally."

When I applied to colleges four years ago, Dartmouth was one of the largest schools I looked at. Despite its frigid winters – which I had hoped to escape by heading west for four years – Dartmouth appealed to me because of its boundless academic opportunities, loyal alumni network, and sense of community both within and outside the classroom. When I came to visit the summer before my senior year, I fell in love with everything about the campus from the majestic Baker Tower to the students playing Frisbee on the Green to the  smiling professors I ran into in the coffee shop in town. After receiving an acceptance letter the following spring, I returned to campus for one more visit. I was lucky enough to have other great choices and I figured it would be sensible to take another look at several campuses. After my second drive up to Hanover, though, I told my parents to cancel the rest of our visits – I knew that I had found my true home.

In thinking about the individuals that have had a significant impact on my time at Dartmouth, the faculty and staff associated with the Rockefeller Center immediately come to mind. After attending a Rocky Open House during my freshman year, I was intrigued by the opportunity to travel to Washington DC the following summer to take part in the Civic Skills Training program. The curriculum for the week-long training session focuses on topics ranging from public speaking to resource mobilization to goal setting and professionalism. The opportunity to gain feedback on our strengths and weaknesses from fellow students, Rockefeller Center faculty, and outside policy experts proved truly invaluable. When I returned to New York City at the end of the week, I felt well-prepared to begin my summer internship at the New York Council for the Humanities, a non-profit that serves as the sole statewide proponent of public access to the humanities. I found Civic Skills Training so meaningful that when I was asked as a sophomore to travel back to DC to serve as a program assistant, I quickly agreed.During my sophomore year I also participated in Rocky’s Management & Leadership Development Program. The program covered leadership theory, public speaking, persuasive writing, problem-solving, decision-making, and analytical thinking. Common themes of global leadership, cultural competence, and public policy united the sessions. The opportunity to partake in the ten-week program directly benefitted me in my various leadership roles across campus. When I became Managing Editor of the College’s daily newspaper The Dartmouth, for instance, I was well-prepared to manage a staff of almost 50 students and ensure that others met deadlines on a daily basis.   The summer following my junior year, I received funding fromRocky to work as a policy research assistant at the Center for an Urban Future, a nonpartisan think tank dedicated to improving the long-term health of New York City by targeting problems facing low-income and working-class neighborhoods. As an intern, I conducted extensive research and interviews with government and labor representatives as well as synthesized existing data in order to analyze job opportunities for individuals with low educational attainment. The experience I gained through participation in various Rocky programs provided me with the confidence and skills needed to work alongside professional policy experts. As I look to next year and beyond, I know that my Rocky experiences – along with classroom learning, research positions, and other extracurricular activities – have provided me with a solid foundation upon which to excel both personally and professionally. Wherever life takes me, I will always be grateful for the opportunities I enjoyed over the past four years both within and beyond the four walls of the classroom.Madeline Sims is from Rye Brook, New York and attended Blind Brook High School. While at Dartmouth, Madeline majored in Comparative Literature and minored in Public Policy. During her senior year, she wrote an honors thesis on the political theory of the medieval proto-feminist thinker Christine de Pizan. She received the Neal Oxenhandler Prize, which is awarded to a senior major who has done outstanding work in Comparative Literature. On campus, Madeline served as Managing Editor of The Dartmouth, co-president of Fusion Dance Ensemble, a James O. Freedman Presidential Scholar Research Assistant, and a member of Sigma Delta Sorority. Madeline spent her junior Fall interning at Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York City. This experience helped convince her to pursue a career in law and she will return to New York this fall to attend Columbia Law School, where she received a Butler Fellowship. Madeline also received The Fred C. Scribner, Jr. 1930 Fellowship from Dartmouth’s Office of Scholarship Advising to assist with law school expenses next year. She hopes to use her law degree to effect positive change by working to protect the rights of underrepresented groups and individuals who too often lack a voice in policy matters that directly impact their lives and communities.

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