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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

2015 First-Year Fellow: Rachel Scholz-Bright '18

I worked as a First-Year Fellow at the National Science Foundation (NSF), an independent federal agency that supports and funds scientific research and education. Its mission is to ensure the United States remains at the cutting edge of scientific innovation. The Office of Legislative and Public Affairs (OLPA) focuses on communicating information about the NSF’s programs, activities and research to congress, the press, and the public.

Rachel Scholz-Bright '18 behind a podium in the National Science Board Conference room.
The most rewarding part of my fellowship was interacting with NSF-funded principal investigators. I had the chance to interview some amazing people, scientists on the cutting edge of their field. Hearing about their work allowed me to combine two of my passions, science and policy, by learning about their research and how the NSF was able to support them. One of the most interesting interviews I conducted was with a researcher who was studying memory. His project was determining how memories are formed during sleep, with a focus on improving recall. Through NSF funding, he was able to discover new techniques to boost memory that could be applied to patients with Alzheimer's or other people with memory disorders. Being able to hear first hand the real impacts of NSF funding showed me how important the agency is and allowed me to understand the importance of continued support for scientific research.

-Written by Rachel Scholz-Bright '18

This series introduces the 2015 First-Year Fellows. Each fellow reflects on his or her experience in Washington DC as a First-Year Fellow working with a mentor in public policy. 

New Public Policy Minor Course Winter Term (16W)

Professor Charlie Wheelan will be teaching Education 20: Educational Issues in Contemporary Society (10A) this coming winter term (16W). This course can count towards the public policy minor and will be of particular interest to those students studying the interplay of education and public policy.

This course gives students a critical introduction to the public institution they know best – the American school. As Professor Wheelan points out, “[Students] have already spent at least twelve years ‘studying’ schools from the inside, though [they] have probably only considered a small piece of the broader education system.”

Professor Charlie Wheelan will be teaching Education 20: Educational Issues in Contemporary Society in the winter.

Public schools are one of the most important public policy levers for shaping society. In this course, students will examine the history and structure of public education in America. They will also study myriad topics related to creating “better schools”: recruiting and training teachers; charter schools and related institutional innovations; testing and accountability; school funding; racial and economic segregation.

Overall, the course will explore how public education can contribute to a more informed, prosperous, and fair society.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

2015 First-Year Fellow: Rachel Favors '18

This summer, I worked as a First-Year Fellow at the Office of Nuclear Energy. Its primary mission is to advance nuclear power as a resource capable of making major contributions in meeting American energy needs. The Office of International Nuclear Energy Policy and Cooperation works with international partners ranging from advanced fuel cycle countries such as France, Russia and Japan, to those nations considering the development of nuclear energy for the first time on civil nuclear cooperation. It coordinates the international engagement on behalf of the Office of Nuclear Energy’s technical programs.

Rachel Favors '18 and Sarah Lennon '90, her mentor. Sarah Lennon '90 is the Director of the Office of Bilateral Cooperation.
One of my favorite parts of the fellowship experience was attending the weekly Team USA meetings at the White House Conference Center. Team USA is an inter-agency meeting with the Department of Commerce, National Security Council, National Nuclear Security Administration, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Department of State, and Department of Energy, that focuses on supporting US civil nuclear energy interests abroad and discussing issues that affect American interests. The meetings were a great opportunity to see how the international political environment can affect the civil nuclear energy sector.

-Written by Rachel Favors '18

This series introduces the 2015 First-Year Fellows. Each fellow reflects on his or her experience in Washington DC as a First-Year Fellow working with a mentor in public policy. 

MLDP Recap: “Using Your Strengths for Effective Professional Communication" with Professor Jennifer Sargent

Professor Jennifer Sargent led MLDP’s second session, entitled “Using Your Strengths for Effective Professional Communication.” Before beginning the MLDP program, all participants were asked to complete the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test, which indicates various preferences related to how people perceive the world and make decisions. Professor Sargent helped MLDP participants interpret their MBTI results and understand their strengths, and also led a discussion about how leaders can most effectively interact with those with different preferences.

Professor Jennifer Sargent interprets MBTI results with MLDP participants. Photo by Weijia Tang '18.
She began the session with a simple activity in which several groups, organized by similar MBTI types, planned a hypothetical vacation over the course of 10 minutes. Each group ended up focusing on different aspects of their vacations, and Professor Sargent used these distinct concentrations to highlight how people with different personalities may work in different ways. She then launched into a more in-depth discussion of each of the four preferences pairs defined by MBTI, explaining what each personality type does well, and where each personality type can struggle.

MLDP participants split into groups according to their MBTI results to participate in a vacation-planning activity. Photo by Weijia Tang '18.
Participants were surprised to find how accurate their MBTI results were, and agreed with Professor Sargent that learning how to interact with and unite colleagues with different preferences is very important in leading any group. Justin Chan ’16 echoed this sentiment, stating, "I really appreciated how the session addressed personalities in group dynamics. You often forget about different personality traits in a work setting." Another participant added, “I enjoyed the second session for the personal engagement of the MBTI types. It was a relatable and applicable lesson.”

-Written by Jasper Bingham '17, Fall 2015 MLDP Participant

This ongoing series explores sessions of the Management and Leadership Development Program (MLDP) through participant narratives. MLDP is a one-term program designed to develop citizen leaders among sophomores, juniors, and seniors at Dartmouth College. Led by expert guest speakers each week, sessions employ experiential teaching techniques to engage students through hands-on learning of core management and leadership skills.

Steve Norton Visits PBPL 45 Class

On October 1, 2015, Steve Norton of the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies (NHCPPS), spoke with students in Professor Ron Shaiko's PBPL 45: Introduction to Public Policy Research class. Norton discussed the mission of NHCPPS as well as the Center's most recent 2015 publication, "What Is New Hampshire? An Overview of Issues Shaping the Granite State’s Future." 

Steve Norton of NHCPPS spoke with students on October 1st, 2015.
Student groups in the class are analyzing the data presented in this report as well as in similar reports published by the Center since 2011 and are formulating research reports for specific public policy clients in New Hampshire. Norton provided students with a broad substantive overview of the New Hampshire public policy agenda in Concord; he also fielded methodological questions regarding data collection and data quality when analyzing state-level policy issues.

Prior to joining NHCPPS as Executive Director in 2005, Steve Norton was Medicaid Director for the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. He also worked at the Urban Institute in Washington, DC throughout the decade of the 1990s.