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

Student Program Assistants

Witnessing and Practicing Leadership

Students who work for the Rockefeller Center meet twice a term for group learning sessions that focus on a wide variety of workplace topics, such as performance management, goal setting, feedback, and organizational culture. For the first spring term session, Rockefeller Center Staff Vincent Mack and Lynn Spencer, along with Ben Bradley, of the Dartmouth Bystander Initiative, co-facilitated a session on taking initiative in the workplace, especially in the face of inappropriate behavior.

Student participants had the opportunity to think about the role bystanders play in a professional environment when they notice forms of sexual harassment and how they can take initiative in situations when harassment occurs. Activities provided time for small groups to brainstorm solutions and discuss their merits. Participants then role-played various situations of harassment and discussed observations and reactions.

Recognizing Rockefeller Center Student Program Assistant: Ashley Dotson ‘18

Ashley Dotson ’18 first became involved with the Rockefeller Center by participating in the Global Leadership Development Program (RGLP) her sophomore winter and then participating in the Management and Leadership Development Program (MLDP) the following spring. She found her experience with RGLP to be “interesting and rewarding.” Thus, she continued staying involved with the Rockefeller Center and now works as a Student Program Assistant for MLDP.

Ashley remembers a conversation she had with Sadhana Hall, Deputy Director of the Rockefeller Center, her sophomore fall about the importance of leadership and the different ways she can become more involved with Rocky. According to Ashley, she was drawn to MLDP because “it is a unique program at the Rockefeller Center that reaches out to a variety of students. MLDP influences all of campus, especially within student organizations because many student leaders choose to participate in MLDP.” Ashley also enjoys how her position allows her to meet people from different areas of Dartmouth’s community, which shows the vast impact the program has on campus.

Recognizing Rockefeller Center Student Program Assistant: Asha Wills ‘17

Asha initially became involved with the Rockefeller Center her sophomore year by participating in the Management and Leadership Development Program (MLDP) and in the Create Your Path program. These programs caused her to think about how she could align her academic and career interests with her personal goals. Asha next enrolled in the Rockefeller Global Leadership Program (RGLP) because of her mentor, who served as a student program assistant for RGLP at the same. Asha reflects that being a participant in RGLP was an “incredible experience where I met people I otherwise wouldn't have met.”

In her junior year, Asha completed an exchange program in Copenhagen, Denmark and volunteered in Peru through Dartmouth’s Center for Service, where she was constantly thinking about the principles she learned in RGLP. She kept in contact with Vincent Mack, the program officer for RGLP, and when she returned to campus, she joined the Rockefeller Center student staff as a student program assistant for RGLP.

Recognizing Rockefeller Center Student Program Assistant: Arati Gangadharan ’18

Arati Gangadharan ’18 first became involved with the Rockefeller Center through her participation in the Rockefeller Global Leadership Program (RGLP) and the Management and Leadership Development Program (MLDP) during her sophomore winter and fall.

“RGLP was one of the most phenomenal parts of my Dartmouth experience,” said Arati. “I am interested in global health initiatives and the program gave me a way to grow in terms of my global mindedness. “

Following her completion of RLGP, Arati began working for the Rockefeller Center as a Student Program Assistant for MLDP during her sophomore spring. She hoped to enhance her interpersonal skills and become more approachable in initial encounters through her interactions with MLDP participants. She cites her work as a student assistant, such as when she has to speak and motivate program participants, as playing a key role in her ability to speak more effectively to large audiences. 

She describes her supervisor and MLDP Program Officer Robin Frye as a helpful and understanding person who gives her student coordinators “room to grow and improve in a secure space.”

Recognizing Rockefeller Center Student Program Assistant: Jimmy Fair '18

Jimmy Fair ’18 considers the Rockefeller Center to be his “second home” at Dartmouth. Jimmy first became involved with the Rockefeller Center by taking PBPL 5: Introduction to Public Policy with Professor Ron Shaiko during his freshman winter. His involvement continued during his first year with participation the Dartmouth Leadership Attitudes and Behaviors Program (D-LAB), the Rockefeller Peer Mentoring Program (RPMP), and selection into the First-Year Fellows program.

During his sophomore year he participated in the Management and Leadership Development Program (MLDP), and also began working for the Rockefeller Center as a Student Program Assistant for the Rockefeller Global Leadership Program (RGLP).

As a program assistant, Jimmy’s main responsibilities were to send out vital communications with participants and head up the reflection and evaluation process. He spent the majority of his work time each week analyzing questionnaires and other forms of feedback in order to customize the program to student needs and attain the preset leadership objectives for the term.

Recognizing Rockefeller Center Student Program Assistant: Will Buell ’17

Will Buell ’17 first became involved with the Rockefeller Center after his experiences abroad inspired him to participate in the Rockefeller Global Leadership Program (RGLP).

“I had just come back from Barcelona in the spring, where I had some really interesting conversations and thoughts, and I was worried I would forget about them when I came back,” said Will. “RGLP stood out to me as a way to continue some of the learning that I got to experience in Europe.”

After completing the program his sophomore spring, Will knew he’d like to become more involved with the Center and RGLP, specifically. Throughout the program and through a mutual friend, Will had the opportunity to get to know Vincent Mack, Program Officer at the Rockefeller Center, and was happy to step up when he heard Vincent needed a Student Program Assistant for RGLP.

Recognizing Rockefeller Center Student Program Assistant: Niki Bakhru '17

Niki Bakhru ’17 started working for the Rockefeller Center during her sophomore summer as a student program assistant for communications and student outreach. Her first set of responsibilities primarily focused on writing student profiles for the Center’s website, but over the terms she has taken on many additional writing assignments.   

Last summer, Niki piloted a series of interviews with participants from the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, or YALI. Each summer Dartmouth hosts twenty-five or so of these young promising leaders from Sub Saharan Africa. The Rockefeller Center covers the leadership component of the program’s curriculum, and Niki was able to interview several of them about what this experience meant to them.

“Niki’s a natural when it comes to interviewing people and capturing the essence of their story and how it pertains to the Rockefeller Center’s mission,” says Elizabeth Celtrick, assistant director at the Center and Niki’s supervisor. “She writes beautifully and has been a tremendous asset in helping Rocky tell our story.”

Recognizing Rockefeller Center Student Program Assistant: Abhilasha Gokulan ’18

Abhilasha Gokulan ’18 has been interested in and involved with the Rockefeller Center since before she even matriculated at Dartmouth.

“The first time I ever entered the Rockefeller Center was during Dimensions my senior year of high school,” said Abhi. “Being able to see all of the cool programs at Rocky was actually one of the reasons I chose Dartmouth.”

After coming to Dartmouth from Little Rock, Arkansas, Abhi took a public policy course at the Center her freshman fall and participated in DLAB her freshman winter. Inspired by both encounters, Abhi decided to apply to be a First-Year Fellow and was selected to participate in the program.

The following fall she signed up for the Management and Leadership Development Program (MLDP). She took on the role of a program ambassador, which turned into a Student Program Assistant position the following term.  

Recognizing Rockefeller Center Student Program Assistant: Latrell Williams ‘16

Latrell Williams ’16 has been a co-facilitator of the Student Discussion Group VoxMasters now for two terms. However, he’s been participating in the group since his freshman year. “This is a nice job for something I like to go to anyways,” says Latrell. His favorite part of the job is helping people with their public speaking skills. “Recently we’ve had a lot of graduate students in the STEM field interested in improving their public speaking. In just a few months, they’ve improved a lot,” Latrell says. “It’s nice to see that VoxMasters has an impact.” 

“I can always count on Latrell to do exactly what he says he’ll do,” says supervisor Vincent Mack. “Latrell takes his responsibilities seriously, and never has to be corrected twice, or repeatedly asks to complete a task. I appreciate working with Latrell for his dependability, willingness to learn in his role, and integrity demonstrated in doing what he says.”

Recognizing Rockefeller Center Student Program Assistant: Jing Li ’16

Jing Li ’16 has worked at the Rockefeller Center since her sophomore spring as a Student Program Assistant for Student Workshops.  Her first experience with Rocky was as a participant in the Management and Leadership Development Program, which she liked so much that she wanted to get involved with Rocky at a deeper level.  She consequently applied for this position and was hired.

As Jing explains it, the Student Workshops program “invites guest speakers who come in and run a workshop that’s leadership-oriented or career-oriented,” catered to students who wish to develop their professional capacities.  Her favorite workshop is the Etiquette Dinner, which happens every fall and spring. Robert Shutt, a consultant with RA Solutions, leads the group through the art of business dining over a three course meal catered by the Hanover Inn. “Shine while you dine,” says Shutt. Manners matter and courtesy counts and never forget that the meal is not the most important part of the encounter.

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