William Wilkinson

Graduate Student Fellow


William “Will” Wilkinson is Diné, Cherokee, and a citizen of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation. He earned his A.A. in Communication Studies and his B.S. in Business Administration from Haskell Indian Nations University (Haskell) and is pursuing his M.S. in Public Policy & Management as a Tribal Affairs Fellow at the Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University. 

During his tenure at Haskell, Will dedicated himself to student government leadership, working with university administrators, city leaders, and members of Congress on policy development, project implementation, and garnering federal support for the university. His service and leadership efforts culminated in him receiving the Dr. Arthur Taylor Student Commitment to Service Award from NASPA’s Indigenous Peoples Knowledge Community, and eventually being named Haskell’s Student of the Year in his final year.

Will’s professional experiences include legislative internships with U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren and Bryan Newland, the Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs. These roles provided him with a comprehensive understanding of national policy-making processes. Concurrently, his position as the National Secretary for the Immigration & Refugee Caucus of the College Democrats of America expanded his viewpoint on international policy matters. Utilizing this foundational knowledge, he moved onto key roles such as field organizer for the victorious mayoral campaign of Eric Adams in New York City and as a political consultant for leaders of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation.

Notably, Will was the youngest among the 80 participants admitted to Harvard Business School’s Tribal Leaders Program. In this dynamic setting, he collaborated with tribal leaders from the United States and Canada, focusing on developing innovative solutions for real-world challenges, all with the aim of learning how to enhance the communities they serve and represent. Currently, he continues to leverage his experience and skills in his position as a graduate student fellow at the Center for Native American Youth.