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

19S

Senior Honors Thesis Grant Recipient: Alyssa Gao '20

The Rockefeller Center Senior Honors Thesis Grants program provides funding of up to $1,000 for undergraduate students writing a senior honors thesis in the social sciences.

Alyssa Gao, a member of the Class of 2020, is from Chicago, Illinois, pursuing a major in Environmental Studies and minors in Public Policy and Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies.

Gao was inspired to write a thesis during her internship at the Brookings Institution, where she conducted research on transparency, accountability, and participation efforts in the natural resource sector. Her thesis will examine the diversity policies and practices of leading environmental advocacy organizations in Washington, D.C.

Tola Akinwumi ’21 RGLP Reflection: Learning to Overcome Culture Shock

Each fall, winter, and spring, the Rockefeller Global Leadership Program (RGLP) brings together 25 student leaders to increase their understanding of global leadership and intercultural competency. Through weekly sessions with speakers and a culminating experience to either Boston, Montreal, or New York City, the students are able to learn about themselves and cross-cultural leadership. The Spring 2019 cohort spent a weekend in Montreal as part of their culminating experience.

Coming to Dartmouth and adjusting to the culture here has been an experience that not only pushed me out of my comfort zone, but forced me to be more cognizant of my environment and the different types of people around me. Back home I had the comfortability of always being around people who either looked like me or grew up in the same environment as me. It was easy to navigate social spaces because there were obvious and apparent commonalities with the people I came across.

Aiko Takata ’21 RGLP Reflection: Learning to Adapt and Accept Ambiguity

Each fall, winter, and spring, the Rockefeller Global Leadership Program (RGLP) brings together 25 student leaders to increase their understanding of global leadership and intercultural competency. Through weekly sessions with speakers and a culminating experience to either Boston, Montreal, or New York City, the students are able to learn about themselves and cross-cultural leadership. The Spring 2019 cohort spent a weekend in Montreal as part of their culminating experience.

Ever since I was little, I have liked my life to be organized. I like having a plan for each day and week and knowing what I am doing when. I have always struggled with making myself more flexible to fit other people into my life, so being more adaptable has been an ongoing goal. 

Alex Soong ’21 RGLP Reflection: The Importance of Going Out of Your Comfort Zone

Each fall, winter, and spring, the Rockefeller Global Leadership Program (RGLP) brings together 25 student leaders to increase their understanding of global leadership and intercultural competency. Through weekly sessions with speakers and a culminating experience to either Boston, Montreal, or New York City, the students are able to learn about themselves and cross-cultural leadership. The Spring 2019 cohort spent a weekend in Montreal as part of their culminating experience.

Teaching English to immigrant youth at the Baltimore City Esperanza Center was a significant intercultural experience that took me out of my comfort zone while reaffirming my passion for languages and cultures. As a Senior Classroom Assistant, I facilitated and modeled English-learning activities for seventeen students. Furthermore, I monitored and assisted students during classroom activities by checking grammar, pronunciation, and other things. I also led and supervised students during field trips and provided direction for the YouthWorker in the classroom. 

Thomas Paul ’21 RGLP Reflection: The Expansiveness of Culture

Each fall, winter, and spring, the Rockefeller Global Leadership Program (RGLP) brings together 25 student leaders to increase their understanding of global leadership and intercultural competency. Through weekly sessions with speakers and a culminating experience to either Boston, Montreal, or New York City, the students are able to learn about themselves and cross-cultural leadership. The Spring 2019 cohort spent a weekend in Montreal as part of their culminating experience.

My ultimate goal coming into RGLP was and is to experience some type of culture shock – some eye-opening experience by witnessing differences in how others live their lives in comparison to me. To know when to expect culture shock, we need to understand what defines our own culture and how other people’s cultures can differ from our own.  

India Nelson ’20 RGLP Reflection: Culture in The Broadest Sense

Each fall, winter, and spring, the Rockefeller Global Leadership Program (RGLP) brings together 25 student leaders to increase their understanding of global leadership and intercultural competency. Through weekly sessions with speakers and a culminating experience to either Boston, Montreal, or New York City, the students are able to learn about themselves and cross-cultural leadership. The Spring 2019 cohort spent a weekend in Montreal as part of their culminating experience.

Jessica McDermott ’21 RGLP Reflection: Becoming Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

Each fall, winter, and spring, the Rockefeller Global Leadership Program (RGLP) brings together 25 student leaders to increase their understanding of global leadership and intercultural competency. Through weekly sessions with speakers and a culminating experience to either Boston, Montreal, or New York City, the students are able to learn about themselves and cross-cultural leadership. The Spring 2019 cohort spent a weekend in Montreal as part of their culminating experience.

Lisa Je ’19 RGLP Reflection: Building a Platform for Dialogue

Each fall, winter, and spring, the Rockefeller Global Leadership Program (RGLP) brings together 25 student leaders to increase their understanding of global leadership and intercultural competency. Through weekly sessions with speakers and a culminating experience to either Boston, Montreal, or New York City, the students are able to learn about themselves and cross-cultural leadership. The Spring 2019 cohort spent a weekend in Montreal as part of their culminating experience.

Themistoklis Haris ’21 RGLP Reflection:Embracing Cultural Differences

Each fall, winter, and spring, the Rockefeller Global Leadership Program (RGLP) brings together 25 student leaders to increase their understanding of global leadership and intercultural competency. Through weekly sessions with speakers and a culminating experience to either Boston, Montreal, or New York City, the students are able to learn about themselves and cross-cultural leadership. The Spring 2019 cohort spent a weekend in Montreal as part of their culminating experience.

An awareness of cultural identity and ideology is relatively hard to develop or maintain unless someone forcefully places themselves in environments where cultural differences motivate thought and reflection on one’s personal biases, experiences, or privilege. I personally thought that the greatest take-away I have had from RGLP was cultivating this exact type of mindset: culture and identity is fluid and differences can only be embraced by being celebrated and vice-versa.

Catherine Good ’21 RGLP Reflection: More Than Just “Rolling with the Punches”

Each fall, winter, and spring, the Rockefeller Global Leadership Program (RGLP) brings together 25 student leaders to increase their understanding of global leadership and intercultural competency. Through weekly sessions with speakers and a culminating experience to either Boston, Montreal, or New York City, the students are able to learn about themselves and cross-cultural leadership. The Spring 2019 cohort spent a weekend in Montreal as part of their culminating experience.

Throughout my experience participating in RGLP, I have fine-tuned a wide array of skills, on both intrapersonal and interpersonal levels. I have found myself reflecting upon my own biases and privilege quite often, usually in terms of being a student at Dartmouth, which affords countless opportunities to grow and explore no matter a student’s background, interests, or path in life. I have also learned to communicate more effectively in group settings and have realized the importance of being comfortable with discomfort in order to learn. 

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