Baker Center Has New Scholars, Undergraduate Programs Director

China’s one-child policy. Health-care reform. Truck weight limit regulations.

These are a few of the diverse topics being explored by this year’s class of Baker Scholars.

Baker CenterEach year, UT’s Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy solicits applications and selects a group of high-achieving juniors to be Baker Scholars. These students are given exclusive access to guest lecturers ranging from international ambassadors to Supreme Court justices. They help drive Baker Center programming and assist with conferences featuring top-ranked experts in the fields of political science, energy and environment, global security, historical/archival studies, and the media.

The Baker Center recently appointed William Park, a professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, as its first director of undergraduate programs.

“As we continue to improve and grow our student engagement programs such as the Baker Scholars, we felt that our students would be better served if they had a faculty member to help them find a mentor and to make sure they kept their research on track,” said Matt Murray, interim director of the Baker Center. “Some students only have about five months to complete a project, so time management and a refined project focus are critical to their success. Dr. Park was a mentor to two previous Baker Scholars, and he had been highly recommended by the students to fill this post.

“Dr. Park is also working on developing short courses on research methods and he hopes to collaborate with other campus departments with students who also need this help,” Murray said.

In his part-time role with the Baker Center, Park will coordinate the academic affairs of the Baker Scholars Program, the Baker Ambassadors, and the Baker Center Living and Learning Community. In addition to helping Baker Scholars in developing their project ideas and identifying faculty mentors, he will help them pursue opportunities to enrich their experience, such as workshops, internships, and study abroad.

Park’s research and teaching interests focus on natural resource and environmental policy. He has won teaching and advising awards at the university level and taught seminars in the Chancellor’s Honors program.

Here’s a look at the newest class of Baker Scholars and the public policy projects they’ve chosen. Scholars who successfully complete their projects earn a Baker Scholar medallion.

  • Lisa Dicker, a junior in political science from Tullahoma, Tennessee. Her project will look at China’s one-child policy.
  • Mackenzie Higgins, a senior in global studies and Spanish from Indianapolis. Her project focuses on educational reform.
  • Kristin Kennedy, a junior in history and political science from Knoxville, Tenn. Her project will be on the juvenile justice system.
  • Taylor Odle, a junior in the College Scholars Program, studying leadership and organizational development, from Springfield, Tennessee. His project will look at secondary school civic engagement programs.
  • Kelsey Parkman, a junior in political science from Knoxville. Her project focuses on early childhood development programs in the Third World.
  • Chase Pritchett, a junior in economics from Brentwood, Tennessee. His project is on teacher quality and student achievement.
  • Jeremy Williams, a senior in political science from Memphis. His project looks at healthcare reform.
  • Caleb Williford, a senior in logistics from Hixson, Tennessee. His project looks at weight limit regulations.

Applications are available online and new scholars are accepted each fall.

Click here to learn more about the Baker Center and the Baker Scholars program.

C O N T A C T :

Nissa Dahlin-Brown (865-974-8681, nissa@utk.edu)

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