The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Recognizing Rockefeller Center Student Program Assistant: Will Buell ’17

16S Student Program Assistant

Will Buell '17 is an Economics Major modified with Human Centered Design with a minor in Geography and a Student Program Assistant for the Rockefeller Global Leadership Program.


Will with fellow Student Program Assistant, Asha Wills, and Program Officer, Vincent Mack during the RGLP culminating experience in Montreal.

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Will Buell ’17 first became involved with the Rockefeller Center after his experiences abroad inspired him to participate in the Rockefeller Global Leadership Program (RGLP).

“I had just come back from Barcelona in the spring, where I had some really interesting conversations and thoughts, and I was worried I would forget about them when I came back,” said Will. “RGLP stood out to me as a way to continue some of the learning that I got to experience in Europe.”

After completing the program his sophomore spring, Will knew he’d like to become more involved with the Center and RGLP, specifically. Throughout the program and through a mutual friend, Will had the opportunity to get to know Vincent Mack, Program Officer at the Rockefeller Center, and was happy to step up when he heard Vincent needed a Student Program Assistant for RGLP.

As Student Program Assistant, Will’s responsibilities included coordinating catering each week, guiding thoughtful conversations, introducing speakers, administering surveys, and discussing participants’ experiences. Will also played a prominent role in organizing the culminating experience at the end of RGLP: a complex, yet thought provoking retreat to Montreal. Over the course of a weekend, as part of the RGLP Leadership Team, Will helped facilitate several learning sessions, ranging from unique dining experiences to various research and observational activities that prompt students to interact in and with Quebecois culture.

“RGLP is an intense program for students and another part of my role is helping students through this specific intensive culture immersion,” said Will.

Throughout his term as a Student Program Assistant, Will has had to respond to several unexpected situations, such as last-minute speaker cancellations. In one instance, Will and a fellow program assistant completely devised their own session with the guidance of Vincent. They decided to distribute 15 to 20 stereotypes, such as gender and socioeconomic status, and then randomly paired participants to make judgments of each other based solely on these categories. Without speaking to one another, participants were asked to make several assumptions – for instance, how much money they think one another’s parents made or what each of their GPA’s were. By crafting an uncomfortable situation, Will hoped to spur a conversation about the influence of these interactions in everyday life and campus culture.

“Our purpose was to guide them in finding meaning in the exercise and question themselves,” said Will. “It was one example of a moment where I found taking charge of my job really rewarding.”

Will was also particularly grateful for the opportunity he had to build a relationship with Vincent.

“I think I’ve gotten the most out of my relationship with Vincent – he does a really good job of trying to connect with all of his students,” said Will. “He’s been a huge mentor to me both inside and outside of Rocky. I think building incredible friendships and gaining mentors on campus is one of my favorite parts of my job, because they are the ones who push me to be the best student I can in whatever context that may be.”

Will Buell is an Economics Major modified with Human Centered Design with a minor in Geography. Outside of his involvement with the Rockefeller Center, he has worked for the Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network, played on the Dartmouth Club Basketball Team, and served as Philanthropy Chair for his fraternity. Will has also dedicated his time to building an application he hopes will influence Dartmouth by creating a platform where students can have a voice, and he has recently completed a Tucker fellowship in Argentina, where he worked with NGO’s that used microcredit to help a variety of social causes.

- Written by Nikita Bakhru '17, Student Program Assistant for Communication and Student Outreach


The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences