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


Policy Research Shop Testimony: March 8, 2016

PRS Students Testify Before the VT House Committee on Fish, Wildlife, and Water Resources on the Value of Lake Champlain

On Tuesday, March 8, 2016, Policy Research Shop students Julie Decerega ’18, Oscar Guerra ’18, and David Tramonte ’18 testified before the Vermont House Committee on Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources, chaired by Rep. David Deen.  The students’ policy brief, “The Value of Lake Champlain: An Economic and Environmental Analysis,” (PRS Brief 1516-01), assessed the value of Lake Champlain by analyzing water quality, property values, tourism, and other measures. 

Trustee Mort Kondracke '60 discusses Jack Kemp

With the presidential election coming up rapidly, politics has once again risen to the forefront of our thoughts. Especially as primaries and caucuses for party nominations go on, the media and the public alike are debating likely nominees and general election scenarios. One reason for this even more intense than usual scrutiny, perhaps, is the great divergence in the ideologies of the candidates running this time. From Bernie Sanders to Donald Trump, the candidates run the whole gamut of political ideologies, and it seems that they are focusing on differentiating themselves from the other party more than ever. This extreme polarization of the candidates and the general populace supporting them is concerning to many.

On March 2, 2016, the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center welcomed Dartmouth alum Morton Kondracke ’60 to discuss Jack Kemp and how his ideology may help turn the country away from such extremism. His remarks in particular focused on specific policies Jack Kemp suggested, and how those may help America revive growth, family prosperity and national morale.

Leadership and the Paradox of Plenty

This week's session was led by Professor Andrew Samwick, who currently serves as both the Director of the Rockefeller Center and the Sandra and Arthur Irving Professor of Economics at Dartmouth College. Outside of Dartmouth, he currently serves as a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and in 2003 and 2004, he was the chief economist on the staff of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers. Professor Samwick graduated summa cum laude in economics from Harvard College and received his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Professor Samwick's session centered on an economics concept, the "natural resource curse." The term refers to the "paradox of plenty," in which countries with more natural resources do not necessarily experience greater economic growth. Professor Samwick applied the concept to leadership, prompting the Rockefeller Leadership Fellows to question the vast disparity of resources in the world and how countries operate in environments of scarcity - and then, most importantly, how one might avoid the natural resource curse when in a leadership role.

Recognizing Rockefeller Center Student Program Assistant: Mary Sieredzinski ‘17

Mary Sieredzinski ’17 is incredibly busy on campus, as she runs varsity track and field, works as a shift leader GreenCorps, serves as the vice president to campus affairs in her sorority, and is in the fellowship of Christian athletes. But for the fourth successive term, Mary has also made the time to be a student program assistant for the Management and Leadership Development Program (MLDP).  Mary first participated in the program in the winter of her sophomore year, and she enjoyed it so much she wanted to help the program function behind the scenes.

“I really like working with a large group of students,” Mary says. “There’s always a learning moment, like an ‘a ha!’ moment in every session, and I really enjoy watching people react to that.”  Mary says she first wanted to participate in MLDP to “sharpen my leadership skillset and learn more.” 

The Future of Privacy, Free Speech, and the Curse of Bigness

With the passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia earlier this month, a seat in the Supreme Court has opened up. The vacancy of his seat removes a critical voice in the contentious decisions that face the Justices of the Supreme Court. Thus, a monumental debate over who should and will succeed Justice Scalia ensues. Connecting current events to the timeless values of the Supreme Court, the Rockefeller Center hosted a lecture by Jeffrey Rosen on the 100th anniversary of the Supreme Court confirmation of Justice Louis D. Brandeis.

Why Do State Supreme Courts Matter to You?

Today the U.S. Supreme Court is undeniably one of the most important actors in our political landscape. Especially with major landmark cases last year dealing with issues from healthcare to LGBT rights, the Supreme Court has increasingly received a lot of attention from the public for both good and bad. Comparatively, however, state supreme courts often go unrecognized for the most part. Despite this relative lack of public attention, however, state supreme courts often play just as integral a role in their respective states as the U.S. Supreme Court does for the country.

On Wednesday, February 24, 2016 the Rockefeller Center hosted four Dartmouth alumni, the Hon. James Basset ’78, Hon. Robert Cordy ’71, Hon. Beth Robinson ’86 and Susan “Sue” Finegan ’85 to discuss the role that state supreme courts and supreme court justices play. Specifically, they discussed issues such as the difference between state and federal courts, how the role state supreme court justices play has evolved over time, and paths to becoming a state supreme court justice.

Policy Research Shop Testimony: February 18, 2016

PRS Students Testify on the Possible Creation of a Habitual Drug Dealer Registry in the NH House Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety

On Thursday, February 18, 2016, Ray Lu ’18, Jay Raju ’18, and Rachel Scholz-Bright ’18, students from The Class of 1964 Policy Research Shop of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center at Dartmouth College, traveled to Concord to present their research findings to the New Hampshire House of Representatives Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety, chaired by Rep. John Tholl.  The students presented their policy brief, “Establishing a Drug Dealer Registry in New Hampshire,” while testifying on HB1603, sponsored by Rep. James Belanger.  The bill would establish a habitual drug dealer registry in New Hampshire.  The students presented to the committee and responded to questions from the committee members. 

Recognizing Rockefeller Center Student Program Assistant: Sarah Waltcher ’16

A passion for dialogue led Sarah Waltcher ’16 to become part of the first class of D-LAB facilitators and to remain active in the program every year since. In three short years, Sarah has witnessed the program grow and develop both in size and training.

“Sarah represents a new generation of refined activism,” says Robin Frye, Program Officer at the Rockefeller Center and Sarah’s supervisor. “Her goal is to get everyone to a place of mutual understanding by thoughtfully challenging people to think deeper about issues.”

According to Sarah, first-year students often feel pressure to say they love everything about college. Reflective conversations provide support to students struggling with some aspect of the new experience of being on campus. D-LAB enables students to talk about issues with a variety of people from different backgrounds, and allows reflection without an end goal other than the conversation itself. Sarah finds it uplifting to see how this program enables students to talk about their values and Dartmouth. The program’s success has demonstrated that students want to talk about these things, but do not normally have a platform to do so. 

Writing and Workplace Etiquette with Jennifer Sargent

In most cases, everyone has to start as an intern or in an entry level position, no matter the industry, and communication will be necessary. On Feb 23, 2016 Professor Jennifer Sargent, Visiting Associate Professor of Writing at Dartmouth College, returned to MLDP to share her knowledge about writing in the workplace and on the importance of work etiquette.

Sargent explained how leadership qualities can carry over to writing tasks and etiquette, as new employees will not have official leadership or managerial roles and will have to set themselves apart in other ways. By showing up, being pro-active in your communication, and by asking for feedback are all signs of initiation, a leadership quality.

She gave the participants a full breakdown of the do’s and don’ts of writing in the workplace to effectively execute those actions. "You want your words to be clear, convey excellent content, and to reflect upon you as a young professional with leadership potential," emphasized Sargent. She spent the most time going over message content, knowing your audience, using appropriate tone, and avoiding intergenerational words, slang, and idioms.

Leadership in Practice

The sixth session of D-LAB, "Leadership in Practice," provided participants the opportunity to find ways at Dartmouth to apply their values and leadership qualities at different organizations on campus. Representatives from multiple campus organizations were invited to join participants during the program's final session. The session was different from previous sessions in that participants did not join their usual groups and instead were asked to select four or five organizations or centers they found most interesting from a list that had been provided the previous week.


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