Letter From the Dean, October 2020

Dear Families,

It has been an unseasonably warm and beautiful fall foliage season in Hanover. I hope that no matter where you are, or what season you're in, you are able to enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds all of us.  

I'm going to use this space today to feature excerpts from three different student accounts of virtual leave term internships, how they found them, and what they learned. As your students continue to navigate whether and when to be enrolled, how they might prepare for leave terms or summer opportunities, and how to navigate the changes in the working world as a result of the pandemic, the reflections from these students are inspiring. 

From a '21 who found two remote summer internships through the Center for Professional Development's DartBoard postings and LinkedIn, one of which has extended into the fall:

I essentially helped the CEO with everything in preparation for the launch of his company in November. I spoke with the CEO directly every day about what I completed, and what I would continue, or begin, working on moving forward. Some responsibilities included: crafting a digital marketing strategy, conducting market and Venture Capital fund research, coordinating supply chain operations, sourcing fulfillment center options, and reviewing the company's financial model and financial forecasts......

.....I've had many different tasks during my time at this position. Some things I've accomplished so far are: managing projects, conducting accounting, and carrying out payroll operations. I also constantly work to develop solutions that improve the company's operations. Recently, I helped to create an entirely new client proposal template and monthly report template, both of which we use now.

Top two skills learned: Problem-solving and time management.

From a '22 who found her opportunity through the Dickey Center:

As an intern for the Democracy Task Force at Freedom House, I gained the experience of working for an interdisciplinary committee of experts promoting and developing democracy both in the US and globally. I spent ten weeks interacting with people who had worked on the hill, lawyers directly interacting with the UN, Sustainable Development Goal specialists, advocacy specialists, and many others. The people I've had a chance to meet, even remotely, have taught me that so much work is going into bettering the global stage. Many are working towards free and fair elections, democratic technological regulation, human rights, and independent freedoms. My day to day activities varied depending on the week, but ranged from discussing nuanced reports about democracy literature with senior experts to attending Rights Conferences and think tank events that pushed the limits of how I interacted with what "democracy" meant for me....

....This internship increased my confidence that I could chase a field of work that interested me even if I had no academic experience in it. As I read reports from the Aspen Digital Institute or the Institute for Security and Technology, I was lost at times, but in other moments, I realized I wanted to be at the forefront of conversations regarding security, human rights, and the digital future. For a long time, I stayed away from CS and Math at Dartmouth because they felt so far from the humanities, but this internship made me realize that those are fields I want to be a part of, even if I may have some irrational academic fears to get over. As much as I love the humanities, this internship helped me recognize that our future will be digitally interconnected and governed and I should prepare for that reality as best as possible.

Advice for students: Definitely focus on communication in the remote world. Communication, check ins, honesty, and transparency were some of the most important components of my success during this internship.

From a '23 who found her opportunity through research for a Public Policy course:

This summer I was a Policy and Research Intern on the Child Welfare Team at the Children's Defense Fund, a non-profit child advocacy organization headquartered in Washington DC. The organization works on a whole host of issues; their unique approach of looking at children holistically means they have many policy priorities including: child poverty, child health, early education, gun violence, immigration, youth justice, and child welfare. I worked on the child welfare team which advocates for an improved child welfare system, including the foster care, kinship care, and congregate care systems. My internship responsibilities fell into three categories: the effects of COVID-19 on the child welfare system, racial disparities in the child welfare system, and my own self-guided research project...

....While doing [course] research on child welfare reform I found the CDF website and their internship opportunities. I remember being so blown away by their work and the fact they had paid internship opportunities in an area I am truly passionate about. I quickly crafted a cover letter describing my passion and interest in child advocacy, emailed .... the Center for Professional Development to polish my resume, and submitted my sections of the group project as the writing supplement. Fast forward two weeks, and I had interviewed with them, where they were completely blown away with not only my personal experience in the child welfare system, but the fact that I had already composed an official looking policy proposal as a first year....

My advice to others is to always be on the lookout for opportunities. I found an internship at an organization where I could see myself working post Dartmouth because I explored their website while conducting research for a class project. I had already filled out the application for First Year Fellows and decided which of their internships I wanted to do if selected, then I completely re-arranged my summer plans when this opportunity that better suited me presented itself.

Opportunities abound in unforeseen places. Whether your student is finishing their first term or their tenth, please continue to encourage them to explore the many academic events, institutional programs, remote offerings, and campus services that are available to them. In this time of social and physical distance it requires more of an entrepreneurial spirit than might normally be the case. I encourage you to continue to talk with your student about their plans and aspirations throughout the rest of the term and the coming interim break, while, at the same time, allowing them to take the time to rest and recuperate from the demands of this changing world in which we find ourselves. 

All my best,

Kathryn Lively
Dean of the College
Professor of Sociology