Rockefeller Center Senior Profile: Joshua Schiefelbein '14

This past spring, The Rockefeller Center encouraged its outgoing seniors to reflect on their experiences at Dartmouth as part of a series called Rocky and Me.

"Rocky has played a large role in my development as a student, as a professional and as a person…Rocky has practically been my home away from home." --Joshua Schiefelbein '14




Photo by Thanh V. Nguyen

When it came time to decide the college I would attend, it was between Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. and Dartmouth. I knew I wanted to be involved in politics and political research, but I had to weigh the opportunities provided by each school. Georgetown offered proximity to the U.S. Capital and White House, making it an ideal location for professional and journalistic experience. Dartmouth, on the other hand, offered the opportunity to participate in the 2010 Midterms and New Hampshire Presidential Primary.

After hours of weighing my options, I chose Dartmouth because of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of participating in the primary. The Rockefeller Center made my choice much easier with its extensive opportunities, such as the First-Year Fellows program and the Policy Research Shop (PRS). In the end, I didn’t participate in First-Year Fellows. I didn’t even finish the application. Instead, I chose to spend my freshman summer in Hanover to help Rocky with organizing the Republican Presidential Primary Debate that occurred in October 2011.

I enjoyed working on the debate, even if it meant waking up early, going to bed late, and spending most of my time in Rocky. Most of my tasks involved mobilizing and coordinating student volunteers, but I also helped with the organization of the Student Watch Party. I still remember the chaos that occurred the day of the debate as I ran around campus ensuring students were on station and knew their responsibilities. By the night’s end, I was exhausted, but in a good way. The debate remains my most formative experience at Dartmouth as I was challenged day-in and day-out to accomplish set lists of tasks meant to ensure smooth operations.

Once the debate finished, I began working for Rocky on a sporadic basis, taking on special projects for Deputy Director Sadhana Hall when my coursework and other extracurricular activities allowed me to do so. I completed the Management and Leadership Development Program (MLDP) in Winter 2012. In some ways, I never stopped taking MLDP as I accepted a student assistant position, working with Thanh V. Nguyen on MLDP for another eight academic terms. Working on MLDP taught me the importance of reflection in a work setting in order to reassess a program’s methods of accomplishing its objectives.

In addition to my duties for MLDP, I’ve assumed other roles depending on Rocky’s needs. During my junior winter and spring, I was the chair for the Rockefeller Mini-Grants Committee, which met bi-weekly to discuss and award small grants to students and student organizations for conference fees and events. I have also worked on Communications my senior winter and spring, publishing content daily on Rocky’s blog, advertising events via Twitter (@rockefellerctr) and Facebook, and assisting in the creation of Rocky’s quarterly newsletter.

Participating in the Rockefeller Global Leadership Program and the Policy Research Shop rounded out the rest of my senior year. It was incredibly rewarding to be able to present my group’s

POLST report (PDF)

with the PRS in front of the New Hampshire House of Representatives Committee on Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs. Although I wish I had participated sooner in the PRS, the time I spent working in it was enriching.

I know I essentially provided a list of the various Rocky programs I participated in with little explanation of their importance, but The Rockefeller Center has played a large role in my development as a student, as a professional, and as a person. The easiest, most discernable change is my presence in a room. Three years ago, I had a halting, rambling style of speaking that lacked confidence. I always cringed whenever I listened to a recording of myself, because I could tell I was having problems speaking. Now, when I’m speaking to a room of my peers, I’m more confident in myself and intentional in how I speak. That being said, I’ve also learned how to incorporate my own personality in the way I speak, and without the Center, I would not have had the opportunity to personalize my delivery.

Rocky has practically been my home away from home, and is the one place on campus I frequent that isn’t my house or a dining hall. The relationships I hold with the Center staff are more like friendships, and I'll miss them as I depart.

Joshua Schiefelbein '14 graduated this past spring from Dartmouth with a major in Russian Area Studies. He was born at Fort Jackson, SC, where his father was stationed with the U.S. Army. He has also lived in Kitzingen, Germany, Fort Hood, TX and Silver Spring, MD before moving to Spanaway, WA where he graduated from Bethel High School in the top ten of his class. While at Dartmouth, he has served in several leadership positions such as Social Chair and President of Phi Tau Co-educational Fraternity, campus coordinator for the Edgerton Episcopal Center and President of the College Libertarians. He has worked as a Student Program Assistant at the Rockefeller Center since his freshman summer, and participated in the Management and Leadership Development Program and Rockefeller Global Leadership Program. When not working or taking classes, he wrote for the sports and the news sections of The Dartmouth and was a staff writer and social media coordinator for the sports news organization Grandstand University. Last summer, he participated in a study-abroad program in St. Petersburg, Russia with the Russian Department. He is shortly moving to Pavlovsk, Russia, where he will work as an English language teaching assistant at Gorchakov Memorial School. 

[Editor's note: As the previous student assistant maintaining this blog, Joshua has a special place in the heart of this editor. He was a tremendous mentor, having guided me both through this position as well as through his direction at the 2011 Presidential Primary Debate at Dartmouth. He is wished well on the next phase of his career.]