When Molly Bode ’09 began her 2009-10 Presidential Fellowship, she never expected to work in disaster relief. But after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit Haiti on January 12, 2010, Bode was immediately at the center of Dartmouth’s response. She coordinated the donation of airplanes, organized relief teams, and directed fundraising efforts. She slept on the floors of Parkhurst Hall anticipating late-night telephone calls as humanitarian efforts were enacted globally. Bode, who says, “I’m not an expert in [disaster relief], but when President Kim asked me to help find planes, I helped,” used her position as a fellow to brainstorm and initiate solutions for Dartmouth’s role in Haiti. This year, Bode continues her work with Haiti as a senior presidential fellow in global health and Dartmouth’s Haiti Relief coordinator.
President Jim Yong Kim (center) in his office, with 2010-11 Presidential Fellows, from left: James Nzukie, Tuck ’10; Jonathan Blevins ’10; Tiffany Pollack ’10; Derikka Mobley ’10; and William Schpero ’10. (Not pictured: Molly Bode ’09; Jennifer Murray ’09; and Jennifer Pollock, Thayer ’08). (Photo by Joseph Mehling ’69)
President Jim Yong Kim established the Presidential Fellows Program in 2009. The program hires recent Dartmouth graduates for one-year assignments in the College’s administration. “With the Presidential Fellowship, Dartmouth benefits from the insight and knowledge of recent graduates, while offering fantastic experiences in fields ranging from global health to public relations and sustainability,” says College President Kim. “This year’s cohort of Fellows is outstanding, and I look forward to working with them in the months ahead.”
In the program’s inaugural year, four fellows rotated between the offices of the President, Public Affairs, and the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. They collaborated with other offices to provide support. Vice President of Campus Planning and Facilities Linda Snyder says the Presidential Fellows were an integral part of her first year at Dartmouth. “The fellows did analysis, research, presentation development, and in countless ways made our organization more effective,” says Snyder. “Dartmouth is very fortunate to be able to capture the skills and talents of our recent graduates.”
The program has since grown to support eight fellows, who are appointed to positions in the Offices of Development, Finance, the President, the Provost, Dean of the Faculty, Public Affairs, and Sustainability. Nariah Broadus, fellowship program coordinator and special assistant to the president for initiatives and projects, says the non-rotating appointments allow fellows to better understand their department’s culture while spending greater time on important projects and developing professional skills throughout the year.
The 2009-10 Presidential Fellows, from left: Jesse Silberberg ’09; Alessandra Necamp ’09; Molly Bode ’09; and Daniel Lee, TDI ’09. (Photo by Nariah Broadus)
Former fellow Daniel Lee, TDI ’09, cites providing support for President Kim’s presentations to the Board of Trustees and attending trustee meetings as particularly rewarding. Lee’s exposure to these projects and attendance at Trustee meetings is an experience he credits as highly rewarding. “Attending these meetings was enlightening,” says Lee. “We had the opportunity to interact with individuals leading large, successful corporations such as Jeffrey Immelt ’78, CEO of GE, and John Donahoe ’82, CEO of eBay, and hear their thoughts on Dartmouth.” Lee is continuing at the College as program officer for the Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science.
Current fellows are also looking forward to challenging projects and valuable professional development. William Schpero ’10, who plans to attend medical school, is a fellow in the Office of the President. “I see this year as an opportunity to work on several health-related initiatives on campus while also gaining great experience in project management, research, and messaging,” says Schpero. He worked closely with President Kim as senior co-chair of the Student and Presidential Alcohol Harm Reduction Committee (SPAHRC) prior to starting his fellowship.
Jesse Silberberg ’09, a 2009-10 fellow who is now a consultant at Deloitte, exemplifies the commitment to Dartmouth shown by all fellows. “No matter what project you’re working on,” says Silberberg, being a fellow encourages you to “think about the bigger picture and how what you’re doing is helping Dartmouth as a whole.”
Derikka Mobley ’10, who is currently a fellow in the Development office, agrees. “I was drawn to the position because over my four years at Dartmouth I realized how important Development’s work is for each student’s Dartmouth experience,” Mobley says. “I also saw the position as an opportunity to support the College in a different manner, while learning and developing new skills.”
Tiffany Pollack ’10 is the Office of Public Affairs 2010-11 Presidential Fellow. A New York City native, Pollack majored in women’s and gender studies, minored in English, and was a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow. She is pursuing a career in marketing communications.