Dartmouth undergraduates are learning firsthand what's needed to make decisions in state government. In a course called Introduction to Public Policy Research, they take on real-world issues to inform representatives of state government. The course, taught by Ron Shaiko, research associate professor of government and associate director of curricular programs at the Rockefeller Center, is in the Policy Research Shop (PRS), an initiative of the center. The PRS is a nonpartisan operation staffed by undergraduate students who provide quality, objective research to the New Hampshire and Vermont state legislatures.
"I think the students appreciate working on current, timely issues, and they feel that their reports contribute to the legislative process," says Shaiko.
On Friday, Dec. 1, Kahlie Dufresne '09, Maia Fedyszyn '07, and Peter Chau '08—who had all taken Shaiko's course this past fall—testified in Concord, N.H., before the New Hampshire House of Representatives Voluntary Retirement Savings Working Group, chaired by Rep. Laurie Harding (D). The students will continue to work on the project during the winter term in the PRS and will return to Concord in January to present their final report.
On Tuesday, Dec. 5, three students from Shaiko's course testified in Montpelier, Vt., before the Vermont Next Generation Commission, which was formed by the state legislature to investigate ways of keeping young Vermonters in the state following graduation from high school. Sean Garren '07, Jarrett Cato '07, and Elise Braunstchweig '08, produced a preliminary report for the commission on potential career education programs for elementary and middle schools students in Vermont. The students will continue to work on their project this winter and will return to Montpelier to present their final report.
By SUSAN KNAPP
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Last Updated: 12/17/08