My decision to attend Dartmouth was motivated by two primary reasons: Dartmouth’s strong sense of community and its sterling academic reputation. Dartmouth provides the ideal fusion of a small liberal arts college and a large research university. I was excited by the potential to engage in scholarly research directly with professors on the cutting edge of their fields. Those same professors – not graduate TAs – also share their expertise in the courses they teach. I was also impressed by the variety of co-curricular and extracurricular opportunities available at Dartmouth, including those offered through the Rockefeller Center.
My introduction to Rocky came at the open house during freshman orientation week. There, I engaged with the students whose shoes I would eventually fill. I was struck both by their professionalism and by their enthusiasm for the programs Rocky offered. Among the programs that interested me were the First Year Forum and Politalk, weekly conversations regarding politics and current events. When I was able, I attended these programs and found that they enriched my academic experience. The discussions were often intense but always respectful, and I found that my peers brought interesting and novel perspectives.
The Rockefeller Center First-Year Fellows program was my first significant experience with the Rocky. In order to enroll in the program, I completed Public Policy 5, an introductory course in public policy that covered several aspects of policymaking, from the intricacies of the legislative process to the role of civil society. One of twenty freshmen on the program, I lived in northern Virginia and commuted to work at a lobbying firm in Washington, D.C. Not only did I get an “insider’s view” of how legislation progresses (often slowly!), I met 19 other students who shared my interests and aspirations. This was one of the greatest gifts from Rocky – it provided a hub where I could network with both fellow students and alumni and connect over our common interest in public policy.
I was also able to interact with a number of public figures through my participation in Rocky, including Reps. Charles Bass and Paul Hodes, Sens. Kelly Ayotte and John Hoeven, former Solicitor General Gregory Garre, former OMB Director Peter Orszag, and others. Meeting and conversing with these figures offered yet another glimpse into a career in public life. Hearing directly from public officials in this way was an invaluable component of learning about leadership in the public sector. I also participated heavily in the College Republicans at Dartmouth and in New Hampshire, involvement largely facilitated by Rocky. This participation gave me the chance to translate my values into actions, and to interrogate my own beliefs and preconceptions.
My participation in MLDP, the Management & Leadership Development Program, was another cornerstone of my Rocky involvement. MLDP gave me the opportunity to learn weekly from mentors and develop skills such as project management and delivering public presentations. I was able to put those skills to use with a Rocky grant, which allowed me to spend a summer working with trustee Morton Kondracke ’60 and the Jack Kemp Foundation. There, I compiled a comprehensive timeline of Kemp’s legislative and political activities during the Ford and Reagan administrations. The skills I had acquired from Rocky programming like Civic Skills and MLDP helped me complete the project successfully. In sum, my experience at Dartmouth and at the Rockefeller Center in particular helped me realize my own potential for leadership and enriched my understanding of the public sector. Rocky provided me with several tools to enhance my leadership capability on campus and beyond.
Michael Randall is from Dallas, Texas and attended Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas. He double majored in Cell Biology and Government. On campus, Michael was a Presidential Scholar and completed a senior honors thesis on a cell-signaling pathway in fruit flies; he also served as treasurer of Psi Upsilon fraternity, as a co-director of the Nathan Smith (pre-medical) Society, and as a co-director of the Dartmouth Global Leadership Program. Michael had two internships through the Rockefeller Center, working with the lobbying firm Policy Directons, Inc. and with the Jack Kemp Foundation, both in Washington, D.C. After graduation, he will be working full-time as an associate consultant at Trinity Partners, a healthcare consulting firm in Waltham, MA. He plans to eventually enroll in medical school.