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Hannah, Elise, and Reagan sitting next to each other in the Dickey Center at GIS Hoco Alumni event

Everybody had distinct experiences with the Great Issues Scholar program with the Dickey Center for International Understanding, but there are some overlaps in experience expressed in these interviews. 

The cover photo for this blog post, from left to right, features Hannah Cole McGee, Reagan Quinn, and Elise Tong. 

Elise Tong:

Favorite Events and General Experience: In the fall the war and peace simulation was great because it was basically like Model United Nations (MUN) and it really hinged upon the 'diplomats' (roles played by the student participants) being able to resolve issues while crossing things off of their agendas, and there were different missions based on assigned roles while other people did not know what your roles were. With the global health focus in the winter term I also took the course (international studies and geography crosslist) during that term, it was an insightful course. Making it to GIS events with my schedule was challenging that term. My favorite event of the term was a movie called 'Bending the Arc', which provided a view of the humanistic side of global health via the stories of people impacted by global health organizations and who runs them. There are people behind the numbers in global health. I also liked the pandemic board game simulation. For the spring term, with the focus on the Arctic and environment, I came into it knowing I am not a super sustainability-focused person. I went to a lot of cool events this term: the underground heating and energy systems tour, the greenhouse, and the ice core lab. I enjoyed the spring simulation more than the pandemic board game from winter term, it was like MUN with planning and interpersonal relations.

How is this affecting your Dartmouth experience? I just applied to become a global health fellow for next year, and I also applied for an internship in Lima, Peru this summer, both programs are with the Dickey Center. I am hoping to do a global health or international studies minor, which was inspired by GIS.

Hannah Cole McGee:

Favorite Events: I liked the pandemic board game, it was fun and emphasized the global aspect, I did it with friends and someone I had not met before and got to know them too. Margot Wallström was inspiring, she is a strong female leader and down to earth while being intelligent and thoughtful. Another female leader I enjoyed with the former president of Kosovo. In the spring, I liked the ice core lab visit.

How is this affecting your Dartmouth experience? I really enjoyed the experiences, resources, and guest speakers who came with lots of perspectives. I am planning to get an international studies minor, this spring term I took linguistic anthropology and I am hoping to get into the cold regions class in the fall which is international studies crosslisted with environmental science. With the Dickey Center I am applying for: an assistant position to the GIS program, war and peace fellows, and Arctic innovation fellows.

Takeaways: The community was great, shared interests in the LLC brought people together and the floor had great experiences. People brought lots of different perspectives which is important for a robust government and international relations experience. Dividing up the term topics helped with this and brought much more to the experience. One of the only things I would like to see change is having less events on weekdays, sometimes it was hard to attend with Tuesday and Thursday courses.

Reagan and Hannah Apple Picking with GIS in the fall term at a local farm
Reagan and Hannah Apple Picking with GIS

Reagan Quinn:

I was not able to interview Reagan, but she did have a different experience from the others represented in this post. She mostly attended events in the fall and some of the events at the beginning and ends of the terms, but was not able to make it to many events throughout the program. It was challenging for her to attend events because many conflicted with her class or work schedule. Overall she enjoyed what she was able to experience.

Alex Lewton:

Favorite Events and General Experience: My favorite event in the fall term was the all day simulation with GIS and the war and peace fellows, and the creators of the simulation were also there. I also like any event with food and sparkling water. In the winter term I liked the lunch with the former president of Kosovo and the 'Bending the Arc' movie which had some ties into Dartmouth. In the spring term I liked the ice core lab experience. No event was a waste of time, all of them were interesting.

How is this affecting your Dartmouth experience? I am planning to stay connected with Dickey Center, I am applying to be a GIS advisor and program assistant. Looking back, I took my Gov 5 class in the winter because of fall term GIS exposure, and I hope to take more international relations classes. I am open to these programs being as big of a part of my Dartmouth experience as it can be.

Takeaways: Micro takeaway is that a lot of cool people visit with a range of career paths, such as journalists, scientists, diplomats, scholars, etc. The macro takeaway is that the program is a microcosm of what's good and bad with clubs at Dartmouth; students and professors are passionate, dedicated and smart. The visiting talks are well thought out. There's a lot of funding, the free food is great, and there are so many opportunities to do cool things. The challenge is the schedule and stress of the terms, so it is hard to stick to something for a full year (even when D-plan is not a factor), which makes it hard to have continuity.

Picture of Alex Lewton, a GIS LLC member
Alex Lewton '27

Albert Niu

Favorite Events: I was most interested in the fall events. I really enjoyed the two simulations I attended (fall and winter), especially the fall war and peace simulation, which had students split into groups to represent countries. We wrote policies, and it was a strategy game with community components. My group recreated the Russia-Japan war and 'used' nuclear power. Another event that stood out was the spring visit from Jean Charest, my friend Luke Montalbano told me a lot about it beforehand. Charest talked about conservative environmentalism and how he was part of keeping Quebec from leaving Canada in the 1990s, among other things. 

How is this affecting your Dartmouth experience? I came into GIS focusing on government and international relations, so really liked the fall. As I continue in my studies I will probably go back to the Dickey Center to try to get research funding. I am open to exploring courses in the international studies minor.

Takeaways: Overall I really liked the program, and that it is focused on first-years. Living together really helped, it provided a unique living space since there are people from a variety of backgrounds and interests. It was good for transitioning to college. I had a clear sense of direction during simulations. It is a well established program since it has run for quite a few years now. There is skewed attendance from people's interests depending on the term. I think engaging with topics that people do not have prior experience with to boost engagement and expose yourself to new ideas is worthwhile.

Picture of Albert Niu at GIS Homecoming alumni event
Albert Niu at GIS Homecoming Alumni event (Eli Burakian '00)

If you are interested in learning more about the program I recently made a post about my overall takeaways from my GIS experience that has a list of all of the events I attended.

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