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


First-Year Fellow Mentor: Lauren Kennedy '02

The First-Year Fellows program is a unique opportunity for first-year students to engage meaningfully in public policy early in their Dartmouth careers. Each year, around 20 students are selected and placed in fellowships with Dartmouth alumni in Washington, D.C., who are willing to take on a significant mentoring role.

"Through the Rockefeller Center's First-Year Fellows program, I have had the privilege of mentoring Dartmouth students who are excited about public policy and eager to become engaged in the work that occurs in our nation's capital. Fellows arrive exceptionally well-prepared to contribute from day one. They are quick learners who ask smart questions, offer sharp insights, and consistently demonstrate a level of professionalism that exceeds expectations. These qualities make it easy for me to agree to mentor Fellows year after year and to gladly serve as a resource for them both during and after the Fellowship." --Lauren Kennedy '02, U.S. Department of Education

First-Year Fellow Mentor: Michael Breen '02

The First-Year Fellows program is a unique opportunity for first-year students to engage meaningfully in public policy early in their Dartmouth careers. Each year, around 20 students are selected and placed in fellowships with Dartmouth alumni in Washington, D.C., who are willing to take on a significant mentoring role.
“I loved my time at Dartmouth, and remain grateful to the College for giving me a terrific foundation for a career in national security and public service. This program is the perfect win-win: my organization gets some great talent, and the Fellows get a worthwhile and challenging experience early on in their careers. I'm grateful for the opportunity to help support the next generation of service-driven students at Big Green.” -Michael Breen '02

Sonia Faruqi ’07 speaks about food and farm public policy

On Thursday, April 14, 2016, Sonia Faruqi ’07 presented a talk entitled, “An Investigator’s Perspective on Food and Animal Public Policy,” and considered the issue from a state, federal and international perspective. Given the globalized nature of the food-production network, animal cruelty is a widespread and pressing issue. Sonia Faruqi ’07 left her job as an investment banker on Wall Street to uncover the patterns of animal cruelty that still exist today. Her book, Project Animal Farm, traces her journey investigating animal farms around the world, toward the aim of benefiting animals, human health and the environment.

Project Animal Farm is the only book of its kind, has been long-listed for the Chatauqua Prize, and is also being translated for international release. The Dartmouth Alumni Magazine called the book “a critical and educational examination of the food system…”

Further, Sonia is a frequent TV and radio guest and her work has been covered in dozens of media publications, including Salon, Vice, Forbes, The Toronto Star, and The Boston Globe. The Toronto Star described her as “iron-willed, obsessively organized, and brave.”

The Rockefeller Center Board of Visitors' Spring Meeting

The Rockefeller Center Board of Visitors (BoV) convened this month for their biannual meeting. The BoV is comprised of Dartmouth College alumni who serve as advisors to the Director of the Center. Drawing from a wide range of backgrounds, the members represent academia, business, non-profit organizations, and the law.

The Board uses its time while back on campus to gain further insight on current events, such as the new house system, and to meet with faculty and staff members who collaborate on a daily basis with the Center.

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.

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.

What Should the Fed be Doing Now?

In December 2015 the Federal Reserve raised the interest rate from 0.00% to 0.25%, marking the first rate-hike in seven years. Due to negative responses from the market after the rate-hike and a perceived slowing of the economy at the end of 2015, the Fed’s Committee elected to keep rates steady at their January meeting. The next meeting where rates could potentially be raised again will take place in March. Seemingly small rate-hikes send major waves through the U.S. and international economies; thus, the Fed’s statements are analyzed extensively. While the Fed is seeking to scale back years of stimulus with 0.00% rates, Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank (ECB) has given indicators that the ECB will adjust monetary policy to deliver an increased stimulus.

Student Lunch with Jake Tapper '91

Dartmouth students gathered at the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center on Friday, February 5, 2016 for lunch with Jake Tapper ’91. Today, Jake Tapper is an anchor and Chief Washington Correspondent at CNN, hosts The Lead, and moderated the CNN Republican Debate on Dec 16, 2015. As a student, he was a cartoonist for The Dartmouth and graduated Phi Beta Kappa.

When asked to reflect upon his time at Dartmouth compared to now, he acknowledged the conservative nature of Dartmouth while he attended, and is glad to see the direction of inclusivity the College has taken. Mr. Tapper commented on the attention he received from his undergraduate professors, and loves that the strong emphasis on students has remained constant. At Dartmouth, he made lifelong friends and was able to pursue many of his interests because of the small class size.

He had friendly advice for Dartmouth students, saying “don’t sweat it if you don’t know what you want to do right now.” Mr. Tapper’s own journey to journalism was one fraught with divergence, but he reminded students to keep searching until they find an occupation they love.

Dream Teams versus Scream Teams

On January 26, 2016 Dartmouth ’99 Kate Hilton, Director at ReThink Health, facilitated a MLDP session on the conditions that enable ordinary teams or even “scream teams” to become “dream teams.”

According to Hilton, “dream teams” are teams where 1) everyone knows each other and their respective roles, 2) there is a collective shared purpose, and 3) there is an enabling structure which allows the team to function efficiently. The strongest teams have the strongest ties and these bonds can only be formed when all three of these components exist.

While the first two components were pretty easy to grasp, the third one of "having an enabling structure reinforced by team norms," was harder for some in the group to appreciate as vital to team success. Students said creating norms in a group dynamic was often awkward and unnecessary. However, Hilton noted how important having norms is, especially postgraduate in the workplace.  "Effective management is holding your team accountable to its goals, which can sometimes be the difference between keeping and loosing your job," said Hilton.

Law Careers: Four Alumni Share Their Paths to Law

On January 24, 2016, the Rockefeller Center, Dartmouth Lwyers Association, and the Center for Professional Development co-sponsored “The Paths to Law Alumni Panel,” which featured Brian Martin ’06, Lavinia Weizel ’04, Janos Martin ’05, and Lindsay Zahradka ’07.

During the session, each lawyer had interesting answers to a variety of common questions from undergrads interested in law school.

Biggest common misconceptions or misunderstandings of a lawyer’s job:

The biggest misconception the panelists touched upon was the inaccurate portrayal of the day-to-day lives of lawyers. Lawyers’ lives are not Law & Order or How to Get Away With Murder.

In fact, Weizel noted that most of the time spent at work was research and reading. Since law is hierarchical, one may simply be researching for months before they ever have their first appearance in court. Even certain types of lawyers rarely go to the courtroom even after years of experience. Zahradka noted that in her field, Bankruptcy law, she almost always worked out deals over the phone.

Advice for getting in to law school:


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