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

Mini-Grants

Research Prospects at Earth Science Conference

Attending the AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco was an extremely valuable experience for me. I was given the opportunity to present the Earth Sciences research that I had been conducting as a Sophomore Scholar; I was presenting evidence of the impact of a 2011 Chilean volcanic eruption on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide. The meeting was the largest gathering of earth and planetary scientists in the world, with over 25,000 scientists present. It was marvellous to see the wide variety of scientific research being conducted, and also witnessing the importance of fine details within the fields. I presented in the first poster session of the conference, alongside other ice scientists, and it was valuable to hear feedback on my research and to discuss the work with more experienced scientists.

The Power to Make Change

The driving theme of the Ivy Leadership Summit (ILS) was Impetus, and the events and speakers were meticulously planned to reflect that. The experience has truly convinced me that as students, we have the power to make a change now. Speakers such as Heather Anderson, Senior VP of Programs at Global Health Corps, emphasized that this conference was a catalyst. We did not have to wait to gain experience if we had an idea. We should find some resources and work to implement our visions now. I loved meeting peers who had the same passions that I did for the work needing to be done in the field of Global Health. ILS was an incredible opportunity to expose myself to the different opportunities in Global Health. It took a broad interest of mine and gave me the chance to meet leaders in the field. I now have more direction in what I want to explore career wise. I especially loved two key speakers and the advice they shared.

Henry Blodget:

Education Reform at Ivy Council Conference

The main purpose for this conference at Yale of the Ivy Council was impetus: the initiative one needs to do something magnificent. While at the conference, there was a heterogeneous mix of influential keynote speakers from various careers who spoke with us passionately about determination and drive in their respective fields. Then, I had the chance to obtain a more specialized experience at the conference by choosing a certain career sector to contemplate; I chose the education section. There were many opportunities in breakout sessions to converse with leaders in this sector. From what they have said about their beliefs and opinions on education in general, there seems to be a common thread amongst their thoughts: the education system has been quite static in their progress for decades. As well-established schools become more prosperous, others in the inner-cities and abroad become more financially and academically detached. I saw this first hand, as I interned at a charter school in Bronx, NY during my winter break in freshman year: Kids were not attending classes, teachers felt indifferent, and the school’s ratings steadily declined.

Making a Difference at Ivy Summit

The Ivy Summit was a valuable experience because it provided the opportunity for empowered students from Ivy League institutions along with Stanford and MIT to meet and share their ideas for change and partner together. The conference instilled the message in each attendee that we can make a difference today and that the world needs us to put an effort into changing the systems that aren’t working. The panels and sessions I attended varied from advice on how to bring my ideas to fruition, how to make policy useful by thinking of who it is impacting and taking my irrelevant experiences out of the equation, the responsibility of being resilient that is accepted in positions of leadership, to how to fail forwards. The speakers I had the pleasure of listening to and interacting with included the CEO of Business Insider, the CEO of Teach for America, and the Ambassador for initiatives of Asian American and Pacific Islanders, but also fellow undergraduate students who had ideas ranging from how to educate women in Afghanistan who cannot leave their houses to attend school to how to bring a greater variety of language courses to their own institution.

Strengthening the Dartmouth Outing Club

I had two major takeaways from this conference. First was a deeper appreciation for the resources, excitement, and student engagement that the Dartmouth Outing Club has. The second takeaway was key ideas on how the DOC can take tangible steps forwards to engaging more cultures on campus in the outdoors.

The first takeaway came over the course of the conference. I attended a total of 12 or so workshops. During these, I slowly came to appreciate how privileged the DOC is. Having administrative support, and student enthusiasm, as well as the long and rich history of the DOC has allowed us to excel past most other programs in terms of our abilities to organizing and implement orientation programs for freshman, introduce novice’s to the outdoors, and create campus buy-in to the values of an outdoor experience. This newfound perspective helped me reflect more on the relationship that the DOC has with Dartmouth. I think often students crave more; More resources for trips, more facilities and gear, but don’t stop and appreciate what we already have.

Awareness of Poultry Worker Justice Campaign

At the Boston OxFam conference we learned about the mission and values of OxFam as an organization, upcoming changes, and two main campaigns of this year. Additionally, we discussed how to start and sustain OxFam’s presence on campus and participated in team building exercises.

Oxfam is undergoing changes to become a single, global organization of interdependent affiliates instead of continuing as separate national representatives of OxFam. Boston is headquarters of OxFam America, but now because of the changes, it will just be known as OxFam.

Research Engagement at Annual Conference

This November, I traveled to San Diego to attend the Society for Neuroscience’s Annual Meeting. I am majoring in neuroscience at Dartmouth, and I was given the opportunity to attend the conference as part of my neuroscience seminar class. I, along with 15 of my classmates and my professor, joined more than 30,000 others interested in cutting edge neuroscience researcher for five-days packed with lectures, symposiums, mini-symposiums, and posters. Throughout the term, my peers and I discussed in class many of the prominent topics that were being presented at the conference. While at the conference, I engaged with the researchers who wrote the papers we had discussed in class.

Campaigns to End Global Poverty through Oxfam

Oxfam was a hazy blur to me when I first joined the club. While I had learned about it to some degree in my Geography classes, when I helped form the club the conceptualization of what the organization itself did (and what we, as the Dartmouth College chapter were doing as part of it) were both shaky to me. This conference–held in Oxfam America’s main headquarters in Boston, with other area university chapters: Northeastern University, Boston University, and Tufts University–illuminated what this organization’s enormous role was and what our role as a college chapter was in the larger scheme of things as well.

Neuroscience Conference Guides Career Path

 Upon entering the San Diego Conference Center on the first day of the Annual Neuroscience Meeting, I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of posters set up around the room, labeled from A all the way to ZZZ. I did not have a set itinerary for the first day, so I spent most of my time determining the layout and organization of the convention center and planning how I would spent the next few days at the conference. As I roamed around the building, I sought out the topics that most interested me, as I tried to pick a topic for my final research paper for my senior neuroscience seminar. I ended up choosing Traumatic Brain Injury and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy as my topic. I was partially influenced by this decision based on the knowledge I have about Thayer School of Engineering developing MVP (Mobile Virtual Player) to combat football-related concussions.

Oxfam Training Raises Awareness of STRIDE Act

At the Oxfam Clubs Training, I learned about the importance of the work that Oxfam does and how I can play a role in advancing the goals of the organization. I heard presentations about the main campaigns that Oxfam is focusing on right now: the poultry workers’ rights campaign and campaign to enact the STRIDE Act. The poultry workers’ rights campaign is an effort to promote change among big poultry companies, like Purdue and Tyson, which will grant more rights in the workplace for employees of those companies. I learned the main issues that the campaign seeks to address, such as the lack of bathroom breaks on the factory floor and the lack of medical attention for workers who lose the use of their hands. I also learned strategies for spreading awareness of these issues on campus, like leading activities on campus that help people understand and empathize with the struggles that poultry workers go through on a daily basis.

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