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

Recap

DLAB Leadership From Within: Part I

The 2017 Dartmouth Leadership Attitudes and Behaviors (D-LAB) program kicked off on January 16. D-LAB is a six-week long program co-sponsored by the Rockefeller Center and the Collis Center for Student Involvement for first-year students to allow them a space to reflect on individual values. David Pack and Robin Frye, of the Collis and Rockefeller Centers respectively, welcomed participants to the program, and spoke about how D-LAB provides a space for reflection on leadership and values for students at the beginning of their Dartmouth experience.

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.

PBPL 85 Visits Dnipro, Ukraine

This past Monday, Professor Shaiko and the Political and Legal Team (Andrew Weckstein, Michelle Li, Kevin Zhang) took a trip to Dnipro, an Eastern city only 100 miles west of the conflict in the Donbas. Although Dnipro is home to nearly 2 million people, the downtown area seemed more like a sprawling town than one of the largest cities in Ukraine. The cold weather, grimy streets, and eerie music on the bus gave Dnipro a somber and Soviet feel.

Our first interview was with a representative from “StopFake,” an organization aiming to identify and refute false information presented in the media. This interview provided an interesting perspective on the “Hybrid War” between Russia and Ukraine and the impact of Kremlin propaganda on the Ukrainian public.

Our next interview was at Dopomoga Dnipra, a local NGO organization that provides social services and supports for those displaced by the conflict in the Donbas. Located in a formerly abandoned building, the run-down infrastructure housed some of the most enthusiastic and passionate civil activists that we have met this trip.

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.

PBPL 85 Visits the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, Ukraine

Grey skies; grey buildings. Churches standout: painted lemon yellow and tangerine orange, splashed with gold and pink. They’re bizarre tropical phantasies in land of Soviet phantoms. It’s welcome contrast for travel-weary eyes. Brutalist and bright, these architectural paradoxes blur past our van as we wind our way towards the Embassy.

Winter has arrived in Kiev. Snowflakes drift easily on a dry breeze. A security guard taps ash from a cigarette. He fixates on the windows of our van. I nod hello; he glares back greetings. His green camouflage uniform looks out of place in the grey-and-white checkerboard of Eastern Europe in December.

We get out. Inside the Embassy more security guards size up the group. No electronics, no water, no nonsense. They mean it. Of the fourteen of us, twelve are suspect: goods confiscated and bodies re-scanned. Burgeoning democracy though it may be, in Ukraine, you respect authority.

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