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


Dartmouth-Oxford Exchange Student: Eric Chen '17

Each academic term at Dartmouth College, four undergraduate students participate in the Dartmouth Oxford-Exchange program, attending the University of Oxford’s Keble College. Through this experience, students become fully immersed in the Oxford community while taking pre-approved courses and living amongst Oxford students. A Computer Science modified with Economics major, Eric Chen ’17 had the opportunity to partake in this program in the spring of 2016.

Eric initially decided to apply to this exchange program because of his interest in both studying abroad and in the history and culture of the University of Oxford. Oxford is comprised of a central university and 36 independent colleges that operate under the British tutorial system. Eric was attracted to this different teaching style, where classes meet infrequently and students spend more one-on-one time with the professors.

Rockefeller Leadership Fellow: Regan Plekenpol ’17

This series introduces the 2016-2017 Rockefeller Leadership Fellows. Each fellow reflects on why he or she wanted to be a part of the program and what aspects of leadership most interests them.

RLF is an ideal platform for critical and creative thinking, idea sharing, relationship building, and self-reflection. It is an incubator for shared ideas and a means to collaborate with the strongest leaders at Dartmouth.  While I have been fortunate to find outlets to practice title-based leadership, I also look for subtle opportunities to serve as a role model—from welcoming incoming freshman on “H-Croo” to peer mentoring through my acapella group and programs targeting at-risk youth in the Upper Valley. I strive to be a leader on a personal level as a friend, big sister, wellness advocate, and humanitarian.

Class of 2019 First-Year Fellow: Olivia Bewley

Olivia Bewley ’19 comes from Moorestown, New Jersey, where she graduated from Moorestown High School. At Dartmouth, Olivia is pursuing a double major in Government and Anthropology and is a member of the Parliamentary Debate team and the Club Swim Team.

As a First-Year Fellow, Olivia was placed at the U.S. Department of Education in the Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE), under the mentorship of Lauren Kennedy ’02.

OPE’s mission is to provide access to college to students traditionally unable to complete postsecondary education. During her internship, Olivia was responsible for conducting in-depth research on these new operating protocols and determining the specific actions that needed to be taken in order to maintain compliance. This work culminated in a briefing on these standards, which consisted of a presentation and resulted in the creation of talking points, handouts, and an employee handbook with the legal definitions and working protocol for these standards.

Class of 2019 First-Year Fellow: Kiana Amirkiaee

Kiana Amirkiaee ’19 lives in Woodstock, Vermont and graduated from Woodstock Union High School as the salutatorian of the class of 2015. She is currently pursuing a major in Government and a minor in Public Policy.

During her First-Year Fellow summer, Kia worked as an Engagement Fellow at the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC), where she was exposed to a range of tasks including: working on the social media platform, attending events on the Hill on issues of importance to the National Women’s Business Council, conducting research on state business policies for a summer project, creating an excel contact database for the 2016 annual report, and handling logistics for the August public meeting.

While at the NWBC, she wrote two blog posts for their website and made 50 weekly posts to Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. “My writing matured over the summer. I became more comfortable writing articles and writing more direct and strategically. After submitting a writing sample from this summer to a financial magazine based out of Chicago,” shares Kia, “I was offered a part-time job writing economic blog articles during the school year.

Class of 2019 First-Year Fellow: Lexi Curnin

Lexi Curnin ’19 is from Rye, New York and graduated from Rye Country Day School with the Founder’s Award Cum Laude for Community Service.

At Dartmouth, Lexi plans to major in Government and is currently a staff editor for Dartmouth’s undergraduate journal of foreign affairs, World Outlook.

This past summer, Lexi interned at the Project on Government Oversight as a Rockefeller Center First-Year Fellow under the mentorship of Danni Downing ’99. While at POGO, she gained insight into several aspects of oversight work, including whistleblower protections, federal contracting policies, and government transparency.

“The most significant thing I learned during my fellowship is the importance of forming strong relationships with those around you. Making friends with my fellow interns in the POGO office and earning the respect of the POGO staff was extremely rewarding,” recalls Lexi. “It meant that I looked forward to going to work to engage and exchange ideas with others in the office. This spirit of collaboration and community only exists if you are willing to invest the time and energy into creating new relationships.”

Class of 2019 First-Year Fellow: Steven Chun

Steven Chun grew up in Chicago and graduated from Hinsdale Central High School. At Dartmouth, Steven is pursuing majors in Computer Science and Economics.

During his First-Year Fellowship, Steven interned at the Truman National Security Project under the mentorship of Michael Breen. As Steven puts it, "There are few experiences like being in D.C., but being a part of the Truman organization and being in D.C. exceeded every expectation I had."

For the first time in his experience, government was not a framework or theory or even an institution--it was a human enterprise, with human flaws and human brilliance.

Post-graduation, Steven wants to work at the intersection of technology and public interest. "Once you are a part of the issues, it's hard to extract yourself. And I don't intend to."

Dartmouth-Oxford Exchange Student: Joby Bernstein '17

The Dartmouth-Oxford Exchange Program allows up to four Dartmouth undergraduate students to attend Oxford University’s Keble College each term. These students become fully integrated within the Oxford community, living on campus, participating in co-curricular and social activities, and taking pre-approved courses. Joby Bernstein ’17, an Economics major and Public Policy minor, was one of four Dartmouth students to participate in this program last spring.

Having an interest in economics and government, Joby found this exchange program to be a perfect opportunity to combine his academic passions with his desire to study abroad. According to Joby, "the Keble exchange is unlike any other Dartmouth program, since Oxford is an academic culture shock for an American student.” By leaving the Dartmouth bubble and immersing himself in Oxford, Joby experienced a new college culture, living in a different country and in an environment without Dartmouth’s traditions.

Rockefeller Leadership Fellow: Taylor Ng ’17

This series introduces the 2016-2017 Rockefeller Leadership Fellows. Each fellow reflects on why he or she wanted to be a part of the program and what aspects of leadership most interests them.

I strongly believe that leadership is an active process rather than just a title. I am always interested in learning more about how individuals can lead in an effective manner from untitled leadership positions without driving a wedge between themselves and those in titled leadership positions. Although I have held several leadership positions at Dartmouth, I have had few opportunities prior to RLF to critically reflect on what leadership means to me, on the effectiveness of my leadership style, and on how differing methods of leadership can prove equally effective in diverse team environments.

Rockefeller Leadership Fellow: Meghana Mishra ’17

This series introduces the 2016-2017 Rockefeller Leadership Fellows. Each fellow reflects on why he or she wanted to be a part of the program and what aspects of leadership most interests them.

The Rockefeller Leadership Fellows Program represents an excellent way for Dartmouth students to improve their leadership skills for positions within the Dartmouth community and beyond. After participating in many Rockefeller Center leadership programs over the past three years, I hope to further hone my leadership abilities through this incredible opportunity to learn from leadership experts and engage in discussions with a talented group of like-minded peers.

The aspect of leadership that most interests me is team dynamics and the many different factors that influence team success. Understanding team engagement, creating effective channels of communication and interaction, and navigating conflicting individual motivations to achieve a group goal are three issues that I face on a daily basis on campus and will face in my future career.

Rockefeller Leadership Fellow: Kalie Mariscano ’17

This series introduces the 2016-2017 Rockefeller Leadership Fellows. Each fellow reflects on why he or she wanted to be a part of the program and what aspects of leadership most interests them.

The Rockefeller Leadership Fellows program is further developing my leadership skills and I’m learning from the experiences of the other students participating in the program, as well as the faculty and staff leading it. As an aspiring lawyer with a passion for human rights and social justice, I am committed to becoming an effective, understanding, and humble leader. Having many students of diverse identities, skill sets, belief systems, and campus involvements, RLF is an ideal environment to meet and collaborate with students with different leadership roles and styles.


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