Published 03/22/16

Avery Hill and Gary Sasse

Avery Hill '15, left, meets with Gary Sasse, Founding Director of the Hassenfeld Institute for Public Leadership and one of his Bryant mentors. Hill interned at the Institute, where he says  he "was able to see the background of how to interact with constituents and how to form public policy.”

Avery Hill '15: Heading to law school with eyes on JAG program and public service

Major: Economics - Public Policy track
Minor: Entrepreneurship
Hometown: Westminster, MD
Path: A career in public service

Avery Hill ’15 has long been clear about his lofty career aspirations: “I want to be the president of the United States.”

Through his Hassenfeld Institute internship, Hill "was able to see the background of how to interact with constituents and how to form public policy."

Before college, his goal often was met with ridicule. Entering Bryant, he recalls, “I expected reactions like ‘let’s be more realistic.’ Instead I have received nothing but positive support. I have met with faculty for advice in pursuing this goal and they have passed along relevant contacts. Bryant also gave me opportunities to speak to first-year students about this dream and I cannot even count how many students have already said they are excited to see my name on the presidential ballot.”

The University’s “requirement that all liberal arts majors must minor in business, was a huge benefit to me,” says Hill. “Many liberal arts majors go into government but don’t understand the business side of things, and that’s where I feel Bryant has given me a leg up.”

Internship opened doors to government officials

Hill interned at the Hassenfeld Institute for Public Leadership, where he was mentored by Founding Director Gary Sasse, who served for three decades as executive director of the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council, a nonprofit research and education organization that analyzes the state’s finances. Sasse also is a former director of the Rhode Island Department of Administration and the Department of Revenue, and led the Governor’s Tax Policy Group.

The Institute, supported by a generous grant from Alan G. Hassenfeld ’85H, a former Bryant trustee and chairman of the Executive Committee of Hasbro, Inc., the Rhode Island-based multibillion-dollar international toy company, through the Hassenfeld Family Initiatives, LLC, helps local public officials develop the tools and skills needed to make informed decisions so they can lead public sector and nonprofit organizations effectively.

Through his work with Sasse, Hill says, “I was able to see the background of how to interact with constituents and how to form public policy. The Institute staff allowed me to network with so many important people who will help me in the future such as presidential candidates and Rhode Island state government officials.”

On campus, Hill founded The Community Activism and Leadership Organization (CALO), a social enterprise venture that encourages community activism. The group works with Providence companies and schools to plan service related goals, encourage their skilled employees to serve in the community, and showcase what companies are doing to positively benefit the public.

Heading to law school, Marine Corps

Hill, who graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics with a concentration in public policy, will receive a Graduate Studies Certificate in Communication this spring. He has been accepted to law school at Liberty University where he will study constitutional law and religion this fall. He also has applied to intern between semesters at the Judge Advocate General Corps (JAG) program of the U.S. Marine Corps. That path takes him first to boot camp in Quantico, VA, this summer.

“After I get my law degree, I hope to serve as a lawyer for the Marine Corps for two years,” says Hill, “and then take the steps to work on a campaign or write policy for a congressman.”

“My main focus is service-based,” Hill says. “I hope to carry that through law school and continue that when I get more involved with government.”