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

Mini-Grants

Food for Thought Dinner: Should We Abolish Marriage?

At The Thought Project’s “Food for Thought Dinner” with Professor Sonu Bedi, students were challenged to critically examine the existing political and social norms surrounding marriage in the US and to question what role the State should play in sanctioning relationships. Professor Bedi raised the question, why should the State reward one particular, romantic form of relationship, as exists in marriage, and not recognize a non-romantic, loving relationship between siblings with the same benefits?

This discussion topic was thought-provoking and controversial; during the open discussion portion of the evening, several students expressed differing points of view on the topic of marriage, some supporting and some disputing Professor Bedi’s argument that the legal sanctioning of romantic relationships over different types of relationships should be abolished. The energy in the room was electric as students engaged deeply with each other, with Professor Bedi, and with these big questions.

The Thought Project: The Value of A Liberal Arts Education

A few weeks ago, The Thought Project was joined by Professor Gaposchkin for a dinner discussion on the importance of a liberal arts education. As was rightly noted, most of us in the room already were already convinced of its critical role. Nevertheless, it was a welcome opportunity to pause and reflect on bigger questions that normally escape us during busy terms. At the dinner’s conclusion, I was left with perhaps more questions than I had at its beginning, but still felt as if I had progressed just by welcoming these new questions for contemplation.

The Thought Project: The Value of A Liberal Arts Education

A few weeks ago, The Thought Project was joined by Professor Gaposchkin for a dinner discussion on the importance of a liberal arts education. As was rightly noted, most of us in the room already were already convinced of its critical role. Nevertheless, it was a welcome opportunity to pause and reflect on bigger questions that normally escape us during busy terms. At the dinner’s conclusion, I was left with perhaps more questions than I had at its beginning, but still felt as if I had progressed just by welcoming these new questions for contemplation.

Andrew Heo '19: A Place Far From Home

There is no doubt that this opportunity was one of the brightest highlights of my first year at Dartmouth. It was a symbol of the powerful combination of teamwork and conviction for the cause of international peace, as well as a journey that opened my mind to the world of international aid and development.

Over the past few months, I have realized my privilege and power as a student at Dartmouth, an Ivy League institution. My membership gave me ready access to a huge network of the most talented youth of the world and organizations existing to help us realize our potentials.

I believed that as students, we shared an inherent connection with youths around the world. I wanted to have a chance to speak to the students of Syria myself and to educate the students of the U.S. with a different side of the story than what the often derogatory fast news on social media made of the situation. So I submitted my project proposal to the Ivy League Council, and, upon acceptance, was a given a team to work with for the newsletter’s completion.

Ho-Chun Herbert Chang '18 attends the NIME international conference in Australia

My excitement to attend NIME 2016 (New Interfaces for Musical Expression), at least for 36 hours prior, was in constant turmoil against turbulence, tight transfers half way across the world, and the significant work attached. Hosted this year between July 10 to 14 in Brisbane Australia, NIME is an annual five-day international conference that brings together researchers, musicians, composers and interested students to discuss new technologies and their musical implementations.

Raphael Hviding '18 Attends the “Active Galactic Nucleus: What’s in a name?” Conference

The “Active Galactic Nucleus: What’s in a name?” Conference was an extremely valuable experience. Being immersed in frontier science for an entire week served as just as much of a challenge as regular class, with the added excitement that much of what I was learning had never been known before. This was only enhanced by the fact that I could then go on to have one on one interactions with many of these brilliant minds to delve deeper into their experience in the field. The amount to which they would express their knowledge and enthusiasm for AGN is a testament to their vast experience in astronomy. From them I learned about theories and extragalactic ideas I had never even heard about, much less understood. I watched them tear down these very same theories in discussions with dozens of scientists, an immense collaboration in an effort to bore down to the physical truth present at the center of the galaxies in our universe. It was, with no understatement, watching science happen. It felt like watching Thompson, Rutherford, and Bohr argue about their models of the atom, except without the hindsight of history there was no way to know who is more right than the others.

Margaret Lane '17 attends the European Southern Observatory Conference

Earlier this summer I attended and presented a poster at an astronomy conference. The conference was hosted at the European Southern Observatory headquarters in Garching, Germany from June 26th to July 1st. This was my first experience participating in a scientific conference; I’m grateful for the opportunity and feel that I can apply what I learned to my work and to my plans for the future. In particular, I appreciated the chance to deepen my understanding of the broad picture of AGN research across different, more specific areas of study. I was also was impressed by the spirit of collaboration evident throughout the conference and the openness to asking difficult and often unanswered questions.

Annelise Brinck-Johnsen '17 attends International Emily Dickinson Society Conference

While attending the International Emily Dickinson Society Conference in Paris, I learned many things. I presented a paper on “Queer Time in Dickinson’s Poetry,” and it turned out that the panel I was on—“Intimations of Time”—was chaired by Martha Nell Smith, a scholar whose work on Dickinson’s Queer Erotics was the foundation for my own take on Dickinson’s poetry. Though this was incredibly daunting, it was also the best possible place for me to present my ideas, and having Professor Smith chairing the question and answer session after our panel made it that much more interesting. Though standing up and presenting a paper in front of scholars who had studied Dickinson for longer than I had been alive was scary, it was nothing compared to the question and answer session. While I had been working on my paper for months, and knew every single word by heart, there was no way to prepare for the questions that would be posed.

Asian and Asian American Faculty Share Experiences with Students

A Rockefeller Mini-Grant provided the opportunity for a faculty dinner discussion in celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. The dinner provided an opportunity for Asian and Asian American faculty to share their experiences with students. We held the event after sad news came to the Pan-Asian community about one of our dearly loved professors. However, the events before the discussion only made it more personal for the students. As such, it was one of the most intellectual and emotional events I have attended at Dartmouth.

Karen Wen '16 attends Hominis 2016 in Havana, Cuba

The opportunity to attend the Hominis 2016 conference in Havana, Cuba, was honestly the best way I could have possibly ended my Dartmouth career. The conference, which focused on La Psicología potenciando el bienestar humano (psychology enhancing human welfare), sat at the confluence of several of my interests that have accumulated over the past four years: my interest in global public health, my academic coursework as a psychology major, my magnetism toward Latin America, and my desire to immerse myself in new cultures. I learned an enormous amount not only from attending the conference but also by physically being in Cuba at this time of enormous flux for the country. To say that the experience was a good one risks making an understatement—it was phenomenal.

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