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


2015 First-Year Fellow: Vivian Jiang '18

My mentor and employer, Gabriela Garcia '01, is the director of the Center for Perinatal Advocacy whose primary purpose is to improve maternal and infant health in the District of Columbia. Significant disparities exist among certain communities regarding infant mortality rates and birth outcomes, and the Center aims to eliminate these disparities. By managing various best practice programs that seek to reduce preterm births and SIDS deaths, advocate breastfeeding among mothers, and car seat safety for infants, the Center promotes the strategies that will effectively combat the health issues facing mothers and their infants in the District’s most vulnerable, disadvantaged communities. 

2015 First-Year Fellow: Sydney Walter '18

Sydney Walter '18 in front of The Charles Group, LLC office on her last week of work.

The Charles Group, LLC is a private consulting firm located near Capitol Hill in Washington, that focuses primarily on national defense, security, and law enforcement lobbying for a range of clients across the country. Full-time employees at the Group specialize in different policy areas and liaison between clients and legislators, working to accomplish an agenda that aligns with the client’s direction or mission. The office is constantly abuzz with visits and phone calls from people ranging from high-ups at aerospace companies to congressional staffers working on a pertinent piece of legislation. The Group is an intersection between government and the private market, and working here requires a deep knowledge of both congressional workings and the clients’ technology and ideology. 

2015 First-Year Fellow: Spencer Lambdin '18

The National Disability Institute (NDI) is dedicated to building a better economic future for people with disabilities and their families. It envisions an environment where people across the spectrum of disability have the same opportunities to achieve financial stability and independence as people without disabilities.

Spencer Lambdin '18 presenting his work on the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) National Resource Center.

As a First-Year Fellow at the NDI, I learned a ton about the policy process in general. The NDI is very active in both federal and state policy development and implementation. My internship exposed me to a broad portion of the policy process through conversations with Congressional staffers, discussions at the Treasury Department, meetings with other disability non-profits and state disability organizations, even calls with White House media correspondents. My awareness of all these components of the policy process will undoubtedly connect with my future academic and professional pursuits.

2015 First-Year Fellow: Savannah Moss '18

DC Prep, where I worked as a First-Year Fellow this summer, is a network of charter schools committed to closing the educational divide in Washington DC. DC Prep achieves this goal by lengthening the school day, implementing standards-based instruction, employing targeted intervention, and assessing continuously. These tools have proven successful, as DC Prep has received the highest test scores for a public charter school in the DC area.

Savannah Moss '18 at DC Prep.

The most rewarding part of my fellowship was meeting the DC Prep team. Everyone working at the school was dedicated to the DC Prep mission. Their passion for education made me excited to come to work every morning and made me look forward to a career in education policy.

2015 First-Year Fellow: Riley Collins '18

The Truman Project, where I worked this summer, is a network of foreign policy professionals and veterans seeking to promote progressive national security policy based on shared values. Rather than using a traditional think-tank model, Truman uses a grassroots approach to influence policy. Truman relies primarily on its members – rather than staff – to come up with policy proposals. It facilitates implementation of these proposals by providing its members wit professional development, an off the record platform for networking, message guidance, and a host of other resources. Truman’s role in progressive national security policy has been constantly evolving since its inception. This year, they compiled their first unified list of shared values, known as the Truman Framework. Truman is well positioned to influence the 2016 election.

2015 First-Year Fellow: Ray Lu '18

The National Council of Nonprofits, where I worked this summer, is an umbrella organization that connects and supports state associations of nonprofits. The Council of Nonprofits produces resources for these state associations to build capacity and help the nonprofits they support do the same. Nonprofits employ nearly 10 percent of the private workforce yet face many problems that for-profits do not. The National Council of Nonprofits aims to create an environment for nonprofits to succeed and thrive.

2015 First-Year Fellow: Rachel Scholz-Bright '18

I worked as a First-Year Fellow at the National Science Foundation (NSF), an independent federal agency that supports and funds scientific research and education. Its mission is to ensure the United States remains at the cutting edge of scientific innovation. The Office of Legislative and Public Affairs (OLPA) focuses on communicating information about the NSF’s programs, activities and research to congress, the press, and the public.

2015 First-Year Fellow: Rachel Favors '18

This summer, I worked as a First-Year Fellow at the Office of Nuclear Energy. Its primary mission is to advance nuclear power as a resource capable of making major contributions in meeting American energy needs. The Office of International Nuclear Energy Policy and Cooperation works with international partners ranging from advanced fuel cycle countries such as France, Russia and Japan, to those nations considering the development of nuclear energy for the first time on civil nuclear cooperation. It coordinates the international engagement on behalf of the Office of Nuclear Energy’s technical programs.

Mini-Grants Recap: Special Interest Group on GRAPHics and Interactive Techniques (SIGGRAPH) Conference

Attending SIGGRAPH was definitely a highlight of my summer. As a computer science and digital arts major, it was quite an experience to be able to attend the largest conference in computer graphics. My mind was blown with the possibilities in emerging technologies from talking baby simulators to 3D scans of teeth with a single camera pen.

Catherine Most '16 outside the LA Convention Center on the first day of SIGGRAPH.

Furthermore, the everyday conversation during the conference on how the most recent Disney and Pixar movies were created was delightful. Who knew there were so many different roles within every step of the process from ideation to lighting within a film? The experience of interacting with the other visitors and learning about their diverse backgrounds that brought them to SIGGRAPH was reassuring to hear as I am still figuring out my future.

2015 First-Year Fellow: Madison DeRose '18

The Office of Policy and Analysis (OP&A), where I worked as a First-Year Fellow this summer, is an organization within the Smithsonian Institution that conducts studies across and within the different sects of the Smithsonian, including the 19 museums and the National Zoo. OP&A evaluates museum programs, exhibits, and visitor experience. OP&A performs these studies through both qualitative and quantitative methods and then proceeds to analyze results. Formal reports of these results often include suggested improvements for the program or exhibit.


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