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


Notes from the Field: Annie Phifer '20

Annie Phifer '20 interned with the American Enterprise Institute for the Summer 2017 term. The following is an excerpt from her internship report.

During the summer of 2017, I had the exciting opportunity to intern in the editorials and publications department at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington, DC. AEI is a public policy think tank dedicated to free enterprise, open debate, intellectual freedom, and the defense of human dignity. AEI’s scholars produce an outpouring of research on a wide variety of subjects; the editorial department’s job is to maintain AEI’s credibility by ensuring this work meets the highest editorial standards before public release. As an intern in this department, I edited and proofread online publications, reports, event materials, biographies, summaries, blog posts, and other projects. I also meticulously fact checked event materials and researched scholars, experts, and speakers for AEI reports. Most notably, I catalogued over 1300 works by AEI’s scholars to create an internal master publication database that could be accessed online.

Ugandan Dance Troupe Tabu Flo Brings the Dartmouth Community Together

When we hatched the idea of bringing Ugandan dance troupe Tabu Flo to Dartmouth to debut a dance-theater piece weaving themes of power, representation, and voice, we did not anticipate how much their presence would impact our campus. Their twelve days here were marked by testimony after testimony—from students, faculty, community members, and many others—about their ability to inspire critical reflection on our world through the art of dance. This was encapsulated in their performance of “The Speech”, which painted an evocative picture of state-run systems that afford some people the ability to speak and withhold that opportunity from others. In the piece, Tabu Flo combined passionate expression with nuanced symbolism, using costume and choreography (without uttering a word) to highlight how different institutional actors participate in this exercise of power.

Security Vulnerabilities in Modern Voting

Thanks to the Rockefeller Center, I had the opportunity to attend the DEFCON security conference this past July. Started in 1992, DEFCON now draws roughly 20,000 attendees each year. Notable speakers this year include Gary Kasparov, Elie Bursztein, and Matt Suiche. In addition to the main stage talks, DEFCON also features smaller venues within the conference center – known as ‘villages’ – dedicated to specific topics, such as hardware, networking, social engineering, and biohacking.

The newest village at DEFCON was the Voting Machine village. The objective of the village was simple: to alert the American public about security vulnerabilities in modern voting machines. Instead of focusing on what may or may not have happened during the 2016 election, we made it our mission to understand today’s voting technology and help ensure that future elections cannot be hacked.

Research Opportunities with the International Space Station

I recently enjoyed the privilege of attending the International Space Station Research and Development Conference (ISSRDC) with support from the Rockefeller Center, and I can barely comprehend how many resources and opportunities this experience has provided me. From conversing with scientists about their bleeding-edge research to listening to CEOs and politicians share their visions for the future, the sheer amount of knowledge available at this conference was simply unbelievable. Not only do I now possess a much stronger understanding of current orbital research and technology, I am also enabled with the tools and connections to potentially bring Dartmouth research to the International Space Station.

Notes from the Field: Elizabeth Akau '18

Elizabeth Akau ’18 interned at the office of U.S. Senator Brian Schatz for the Summer 2017 term. The following is an excerpt from her internship report.

I interned at the office of U.S. Senator Brian Schatz which is comprised of the staff that supports the work of Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) in crafting legislation, making informed decisions, and representing his Hawaii constituents in the Senate. As a Schatz intern, my primary responsibilities included managing incoming correspondence from constituents; working under a policy advisor attending briefings, writing memos, and researching relevant policies and programs; providing tours of the capitol and congressional office buildings to constituents; and completing basic administrative tasks to keep the office organized.

Notes from the Field: Jenna Shin ’18

Jenna Shin ’18 interned at the United States Department of State, Office of Foreign Missions Houston Regional Office for the Summer 2017 term. The following is an excerpt from her internship report.

During the summer of 2017, I interned at The United States Department of State - Office of Foreign Missions Houston Regional Office. The U.S. Department of State Office of Foreign Missions (OFM) serves the interests of the American public, the American diplomatic community abroad, and the foreign diplomatic community residing in the U.S. ensuring that all diplomatic benefits, privileges, and immunities would be properly exercised in accordance with federal laws and international agreements.

As an advocate for reciprocal agreements, OFM presses for fair treatment of U.S. personnel abroad, while assuring that foreign diplomats based in the United States receive the same treatment that each respective government provides in return.

Notes from the Field: Elena Bird '18

Elena Bird ’18 interned with Representative Ann Kuster for the Summer of 2017 term. The following is an excerpt from her internship report.

During the Summer of 2017, I interned for Representative Ann Kuster in her Washington D.C. office. Representative Kuster has taken on many difficult issues affecting the state; she sits on the House Agriculture and Veteran’s Affairs Committees and is a founding member of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force and the Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence.

Notes from the Field: Else Drooff ’18

Else Drooff ’18 interned at Voice of America (VOA)/Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) for the Summer 2017 term. The following is an excerpt from her internship report.

The Broadcasting Board of Governors is an independent federal agency whose mission is to inform, engage, and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy. VOA is one of five U.S. civilian broadcast networks that fall under the purview of the BBG.

Turning Your Passion Into Your Living with a Liberal Arts Degree

On Friday, August 4th, the Rockefeller Center hosted a one-day conference entitled “How to Make Your Passion Your Living with a Liberal Arts Degree.” The purpose of the conference was to help students learn how to translate their interests into careers that have meaning and impact.

Puja Devi ’19 values a liberal arts degree “because it encourages me to both delve into my interests as well as explore fields I might not favor as much.” Even though she is a government major, she has taken classes in sociology and women’s and gender studies, studied abroad in India, and is currently searching for research projects in geography.

The conference featured remarks from Rebecca Biron, Dean of the College, about the versatility of a liberal arts degree as well as six young alumni.

Rey Allie ’11 studied Government and Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. He has developed insights to help Uber expand into new markets across the world, expanded the scope and reach of Google’s Intelligence and Investigations team, and currently advises senior leaders on strategic initiatives and opportunities at OfferUp.

Perkins Bass Distinguished Visitor Lew Feldstein Talks About Social Capital

Lewis Feldstein, the Rockefeller Center 2016-2017 Perkins Bass Distinguished Visitor, delivered the Perkins Bass 1934 Lecture on Tuesday, August 1 entitled “Viewing the World Through a Social Capital Lens: Who You Know Matters, Community Building Counts.”


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