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


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.

Be Loud, Be Proud: Middle School Mentorship with Link Up

I learned so much from planning Sister-to-Sister 2016 and interacting with the counselors and middle school girls involved. First, I learned about the logistics involved with planning a conference of this size and the true meaning of “attention to detail.” The key to success is early preparation with consideration of the failures and successes of previous Sister-to-Sister conferences. Every year, we develop and pass on a manual for the conference that changes, as processes are made more efficient. We have already began preparation for next year through this manual with the consideration of input from different people involved with the conference such as Link Up executives, speakers, panelists, facilitators, counselors, and of course the middle school girls. All of this collaboration ensures the program was reviewed from a variety of perspectives for future improvement.

Leadership in Public Health

The Deputy Director of the Rockefeller Center, Sadhana Hall, sat down with a small group of students on Tuesday April 5, 2016 to share the lessons she has learned in her dynamic and multifaceted professional life. Starting off by asking students the definition of health as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), Sadhana explained how she got involved with public health as a career before joining the Rockefeller Center. The WHO definition of health since 1948 has been: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” [1]. Growing up in India, Sadhana had not contemplated a career in public health, which was not one of the three popular career choices – medicine (as in curative medicine), engineering, and computer science. However, it was Sadhana’s future husband Rick who inspired her to appreciate the value of preventative medicine, which addresses the full spectrum of health needs in accordance with the WHO definition of health. “My husband is adorable,” said Sadhana amiably as the students smiled back.

Counter-Radicalization Strategy Thesis Research

Traveling to the Stanford Research Conference was an extremely rewarding experience. The conference began on Friday April 15 with an opening ceremony and remarks from the organizers of the conference who spoke about the importance of research and developing communities of research as undergraduates. Throughout the course of the conference there were a series of professor plenaries with various Stanford professors who spoke about topics ranging from healthcare and labor economics to chemistry and physics. All of these sessions were valuable in exposing me to different types of research and stories of how these researching became interested in research. 

The Power of our Power

"...“Nkali.” It’s a noun that loosely translates to “to be greater than another.” Like our economic and political worlds, stories too are defined by the principle of nkali. How they are told, who tells them, when they’re told, how many stories are told, are really dependent on power." -Chimamanda Adichie

I am grateful that Dr. Uju Anya made us all watch Chimamanda Adichie’s Ted Talk on “The Danger of a Single Story” in which Chimamanda explained the theory of nkali. To parallel this message, Dr. Uju Anya’s discussion with the RGLP cohort centered around the power of language in portraying multiplicities. 

The Power of Self-Belief

I did not know what to expect going into this week’s session. I had overheard other RGLP participants saying Capoeira was like martial arts and acrobatics. We all met at the Rockefeller Center wearing our gym clothes at night rather than at the usual evening time not wearing athletic clothing. We made the trek to Alumni Gym as a group and met instructor Fabio “Fua” Nascimento there. The session started with us playing Brazilian instruments and singing songs in Portuguese. We learned about a concept called axé, which is like the social energy of a group as well as energy exuded by an individual. Fua commented on our axé throughout our session. After a couple of songs, we began dancing in very close contact.  We started with girls and boys paired and the boys leading. Then Fua explained how we would now switch roles with girls leading. He had me demonstrate with him this transition. This really put me out of my comfort zone since I am not too confident in my dancing abilities to begin with and then to have to lead the instructor in front of the entire group! However, I did survive leading him and everyone was supportive. 

Leadership in a Global Society

This week’s RGLP session proved a fitting follow-up to the individualized IDI feedback sessions of the prior week. Our facilitator, Gama Perucci, taught us about the three distinct phases of globalization that have spanned the past few centuries – one phase dominated by the nation-state, one by the multinational corporation, and the modern phase by the individual. This chronological framework neatly illustrates the evolution of global citizenship across time and where geographical boundaries have failed to define cultures and peoples. I especially appreciated the introduction of variables like religious agendas and capitalist endeavors into the exercise, which lent a uniquely human element to the fictional kingdoms and corporations that Perucci had us develop.


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