In the Rocky & Me series, Seniors reflect on their experiences during their time at Dartmouth.
The Rockefeller Center is the reason I came to Dartmouth College. During the 2012 election, I realized that the esoteric policy world in Washington affects me directly, and I wanted my college experience to prepare me to make a meaningful impact in that space. When I visited Dartmouth for the first time during Dimensions, I was choosing between Dartmouth and one other university, and while the open houses and barbeques that I attended were fun, they did not speak to my intellectual interests. On a whim, and at the urging of my mother, I attended the Rockefeller Center’s Open House, where I met Professor Ron Shaiko and learned about the public policy programs. I committed to Dartmouth immediately afterward in one of the best decisions of my life. Here's why I'm so grateful to Rocky for helping me make that fateful choice:
In my opinion, the Policy Research Shop (PRS) is the best program at Dartmouth. It combines hands-on experiential learning with deep engagement of real policy issues, allowing students to testify directly to state legislators--an opportunity I likely will not have again until I accrue years of relevant experience. I presented three times in Concord, managing two project teams, providing me not only interpersonal and professional skills that have benefited me in the workplace but also the confidence and knowledge that my work will be taken seriously—even as an undergraduate. Making an immediate impact on policymaking in New Hampshire through the PRS is one of the highlights of my Dartmouth experience, and I am thrilled that our reports were taken so seriously.
Rocky has pushed me both inside and outside the classroom. Participating in First-Year Fellows has opened up my network and exposed me to the inner workings of our government via my internship with Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster '78 (D-NH). Combined with the public policy classes I took upon returning to campus, First-Year Fellows prepared me to leap into the Executive Office of the President during my junior fall. This was an unpaid internship position, and Rocky provided me a grant to help defray the costs of living and working in D.C. These programs exposed me to Washington and enabled me to contribute directly to the policymaking process. Returning to campus, I became more productive, more engaged inside the classroom and in the Dartmouth community, and more willing to push myself to my academic limits.
As I depart Dartmouth, I reflect on my Rocky experiences as one of the hallmarks of my time at the College. In addition to achieving my high school goal of gaining the skills necessary to make a meaningful impact in policy, I actually contributed directly to the policy arena. I encourage other Dartmouth students to embrace their potential to affect real change in the classroom, on campus, and outside Hanover during their four years at the College. Know too that the support network of other students, faculty, and mentors at Rocky will assist at every step of the way.
Written by Sam Libby, Dartmouth Class of 2017, who graduated with a major in Economics and minor in Public Policy.