Visit the Rockefeller Center Web Site for information about our programs and upcoming events. Each Monday you can see what's happening..."This Week at The Rockefeller Center."

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Shoshana Silverstein '15 Earns Truman Scholarship

Phil Hanlon and Shoshana Silverstein
President Phil Hanlon ’77 congratulates Shoshana Silverstein ’15
on winning a 2014 Truman Scholarship. (Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)
On Apr. 17, Dartmouth Now announced Shoshana Silverstein '17 was chosen as a 2014 Harry S. Truman Scholar. Shoshana is one of 59 college students to be awarded the Truman Scholarship, which provides up to $30,000 to pursue graduate studies in public service fields as well as assistance with career counseling, internship placement, graduate school admissions and professional development.

President Phil Hanlon ’77 met with Shoshana to congratulate her, telling her how thrilling it is for a Dartmouth student to win the prestigious scholarship.

“I am incredibly honored,” Shoshana said in an interview with the Dartmouth Now. “When I was first doing the Truman application, I had the great opportunity to reflect and think about what I have done and what I want to do.”

A government major and public policy minor, Shoshana's goals include a four-year joint law degree and masters in public policy after Dartmouth.

Shoshana has been heavily involved at Rocky, participating in the Management and Leadership Development Program, the Rockefeller Global Leadership Program and the Policy Research Shop. She has also been a student co-leader for VoxMasters for most of the past two years. 

Last fall, she participated in Charlie Wheelan's class on Indian economic policy before traveling to India over winter break as part of the class, and has been named a 2014-2015 Presidential Fellow in the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress.

Her other campus involvements include working as a research assistant as a James O. Freedman Presidential Scholar, serving as an executive board member of J Street U and a Dickey Center War and Peace Fellow.
The 2014 Truman Scholars were selected from among 655 applications from 293 colleges and universities. Shoshana joins recent Dartmouth Truman Scholars Brandon DeBot ’14, Emma Smith ’13, and Christian Brandt ’12.

To read the entire Dartmouth Now article, click here.

RGLP Participants Self-Assess Using the Intercultural Developmental Inventory

Before week three of the Rockefeller Global Leadership Program, “Self Assessment with IDI,” began, participants took an online test, the Intercultural Developmental Inventory (IDI). This purposefully vague assignment (RGLP’s leaders intentionally did not provide much context), asked me to respond to many statements that evaluated my culture with respect to others.

Our Monday session of RGLP came as a relief as we welcomed Amy Newcomb, the Student Programs Officer for Dartmouth’s Dickey Center for International Understanding, and Vincent Mack, our program officer, to guide our understanding of the IDI. In a series of five steps, beginning with denial and ending with acceptance, the IDI tracks one’s intercultural competence. Newcomb explained and Mack outlined the stages, their strengths and weaknesses, and strategies for increasing one’s intercultural development at each point. Newcomb stressed that the stages do not end with acceptance. Rather, “visualize an arrow extending past the final stage,” she recommended, for intercultural development is never a complete process—one can always improve. The group then broke up into smaller teams to play an IDI board game. The game tested our knowledge of the five stages, and asked us to apply the IDI to various situations grounded in Dartmouth life.

I especially enjoyed getting to know my teammates. RGLP represents a fairly diverse cross section of the Dartmouth community, and it was interesting to hear people’s perspectives. At the end of the session, the bigger group came back together for a debriefing. After hearing about the stages in detail, I am excited to begin my own journey towards improving my IDI, both in RGLP and beyond. The skills and benefits that come from knowing how to treat cross-cultural experiences will prove valuable when I study abroad, when I enter the workplace, and generally, as part of a citizen of this increasingly globalized society.

--Amanda Harkavy ‘17, RGLP Spring 2014 Participant

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

"Embers of War: Vietnam Reconsidered" Fredrik Logevall Contextualizes the Vietnam War with Regards to Current Events

In his talk based on his new book “Embers of War: Vietnam Reconsidered," Professor of History and International Studies at Cornell University Fredrik Logevall brought the Vietnam War out of isolation and into the context of world events.

The conflict began long before U.S. involvement occurred. Vietnam had been part of one of the most lucrative French colonial territories, French Indochina, since the late 1800’s. However French control and influence waned as a result of the strain of WWII. France believed that to regain its Great Power status after the war, it had to reconquer its previous colonies, including Vietnam. Somehow the French failed to see that the freedom they had gained for themselves from the Nazis might be just as important to the people of its previous colonies. This led to the bloody First Indochina War, which began in 1946 and continued through 1954, despite increasing reluctance on the part of the French and growing encouragement from the U.S. Although the U.S. originally disapproved of the French war in Vietnam, rising concerns about Ho Chi Minh’s connection to Moscow prompted the U.S. to become more involved, eventually leading to French departure and U.S. engagement in Vietnam. 

What struck me was the similarities between the French and American wars in Vietnam. Both France and the U.S. underestimated the nationalism and determination of the Viet Minh, and failed to recognise that any victory in Vietnam would have to be political as well as military. In both cases the war was continued due at least in part to the re election concerns of French and American politicians. Finally, Professor Logevall made it clear that the wars in Vietnam could have been avoided, in part because of Ho Chi Minh’s admiration for the U.S., and his desire to gain recognition and legitimacy from the U.S. after WWII. ​

--Walker Sales, MLDP Spring 2014 Participant

MLDP: Writing in the Workplace with Professor Sara Chaney

As a college student, learning how to communicate professionally is extremely useful, whether I want to establish a good relationship with a professor or excel at an internship. This week, Professor Sara Biggs Chaney of the Institute for Writing and Rhetoric challenged us to consider how we come across when we communicate in a professional setting. Professor Chaney emphasized approaching this issue from a rhetorical perspective, which particularly focuses on the audience, and the rest of the session showed us how important it is to keep your audience in mind as you write.

We started with a game called “The Medium Is Right!” where we were given a scenario in which we would have to communicate with someone at work. We then determined whether we would use e-mail, a phone call or face-to-face interaction in order to do so. I found this particularly helpful because I know that when I want to express something to a boss or someone I’m trying to persuade in a certain direction, I want to handle the matter as politely and professionally as possible. The ultimate consensus was that the medium of communication can vary based on factors like your relationship with the person you’re contacting and the urgency or controversy of the issue. 

“I thought [Professor Chaney’s] focus on audience was really useful,” Meg Parson ’16 said, adding that she appreciated this activity since she wasn’t sure what medium she would have used in each situation.

After playing this game, we were all ready to apply our own critical thinking skills to analyze how a case of communication could go wrong. Professor Chaney introduced us to what she called the “The E-mail Train Wreck,” where “Jennifer” was the president of an organization at Rutgers who wanted to work with an important figure in her field of interest. Unfortunately, “Jennifer” sent an e-mail to this person with no response, so we broke down different parts of her communications with this person to figure out where she could have improved. The important takeaway from this activity was that audience should always shape communication, and the phrasing of what you are trying to achieve through an interaction with someone is very significant.

The final piece of the session took this emphasis on the audience further as we split up into smaller groups to come up with audience profiles for two different cases. According to Professor Chaney, the profile of an audience should contain educational and professional background - knowledge of, authority over and investment in the given topic, and likely reading practices and expectations of your audience. My group was very engaged in our task as we worked on creating an audience profile for our case, which involved writing a blog post for the real non-profit organization Falling Whistles. Falling Whistles works to promote peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and we attempted to narrow down who would be interested in reading their blog and how to cater to that audience.

Professor Chaney’s prizes of Easter-themed candy throughout the session kept us drawn in, but it was truly her strong advice for us as students wanting to know how to communicate professionally that made the session a successful one. She acknowledged the challenges regarding attempting to teach this subject in a classroom and the fact that it is difficult to apply one set of rules to situations in the many different workplaces each of us will enter in our lives. However, the significance of audience awareness is close to being universally true. What I truly valued about this session was that this advice can be taken beyond the workplace and applied with any sort of interaction in the real world. I want the way I express myself to others to come across well, and if I need to communicate with my superiors at a job or internship, I know I have the tools to do so. 

--Katie Hake '16, MLDP Spring 2014 Participant