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

Student Program Assistants

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.

Recognizing Rockefeller Center Student Program Assistant: Sarah Ogren ‘16

Sarah Ogren ’16 is the student program assistant for the Rockefeller Center's Student Mini-Grants, leading a biweekly committee of other student program assistants through discussions on student funding proposals to attend conferences and hold campus events. “I appreciate the opportunity to lead a committee that makes an impact on campus,” Sarah says.  “Mini-Grants supports campus events and allows students to attend conferences that help people learn more about their passions.”

Prior to her work with Student Mini-Grants, Sarah worked for the Rockefeller Center as the VoxMasters student program assistant for two years.  She says that she has served in a facilitator role for both jobs, even though they are very different programs.  “VoxMasters is about helping individuals become better at public speaking, whereas in Mini-Grants I lead the committee to decide on applications.” 

Recognizing Rockefeller Center Student Program Assistant: Mary Sieredzinski ‘17

Mary Sieredzinski ’17 is incredibly busy on campus, as she runs varsity track and field, works as a shift leader GreenCorps, serves as the vice president to campus affairs in her sorority, and is in the fellowship of Christian athletes. But for the fourth successive term, Mary has also made the time to be a student program assistant for the Management and Leadership Development Program (MLDP).  Mary first participated in the program in the winter of her sophomore year, and she enjoyed it so much she wanted to help the program function behind the scenes.

“I really like working with a large group of students,” Mary says. “There’s always a learning moment, like an ‘a ha!’ moment in every session, and I really enjoy watching people react to that.”  Mary says she first wanted to participate in MLDP to “sharpen my leadership skillset and learn more.” 

Recognizing Rockefeller Center Student Program Assistant: Sarah Waltcher ’16

A passion for dialogue led Sarah Waltcher ’16 to become part of the first class of D-LAB facilitators and to remain active in the program every year since. In three short years, Sarah has witnessed the program grow and develop both in size and training.

“Sarah represents a new generation of refined activism,” says Robin Frye, Program Officer at the Rockefeller Center and Sarah’s supervisor. “Her goal is to get everyone to a place of mutual understanding by thoughtfully challenging people to think deeper about issues.”

According to Sarah, first-year students often feel pressure to say they love everything about college. Reflective conversations provide support to students struggling with some aspect of the new experience of being on campus. D-LAB enables students to talk about issues with a variety of people from different backgrounds, and allows reflection without an end goal other than the conversation itself. Sarah finds it uplifting to see how this program enables students to talk about their values and Dartmouth. The program’s success has demonstrated that students want to talk about these things, but do not normally have a platform to do so. 

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