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2016 Howard Baker Public Policy Challenge



Lucas Stewart Grand Prize Winner

$3,000 = Born Drug-Free in TN

Overall, I found the policy challenge to be a tremendous learning experience. I have written countless research papers during my time as an undergraduate student (and through internship experiences), but having to form an action plan, derive a budget and funding sources, think rigorously of potential impediments to policy implementation, and reach out to stakeholders and allies across a variety of disciplines allowed me to develop skills that, I believe, employers will place tremendous value on.  

Regarding the allocation of my winnings, I intend to continue pushing forward with my policy, and adapting if and when necessary. I will be reaching out shortly to Dr. Buchanan (Director, Knox County Health Department), as well as Ms. Henley and Ms. Hudson (also from KCHD) to assess if and how we can integrate my policy proposal’s drug-awareness and health-education campaign into their public health offerings to mitigate opioid abuse and neonatal abstinence syndrome here in East Tennessee (e.g., through the Knox Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Initiative, a/k/a KAPPI). I also intend to reach out to Ms. Burrows from the Governing Institute to discuss potentially running a piece related to my policy proposal through her institution.


$1,000 = Farm to UTK– Mary Waddill, Morgan Faulk, & Kristin Riggsbee

Farm to UTK Team - Morgan Faulk, Mary Waddill & Kristin Riggsbee - Nutrition Grad Students






$1,000 = VOLCOMark Christian, Kaitlyn McNabney, Guinevere Shaw, & Michael AshworthN Mark Christian, Kaitlyn McNabney, Guinevere Shaw & Michael Ashworth

 We would like to thank the Howard Baker Center for the opportunity to lead the development of a policy that will impact the lives of Knoxville’s most vulnerable population. We are continuing the development of VOLCON and are currently reaching out to our partners across the University of Tennessee and Knoxville educational community to make VOLCON a reality. We are excited for the future, and encourage anyone interested in volunteering at the Community Schools to follow us on Facebook and Twitter at VOLCON_utk and @VOLCON_utk respectively for the latest updates. – Mark Christian


2016 Finalists – Competition – April 24, 2016  1:30 pm Toyota Auditorium

Complete agenda available here:  2016 Finalists-Agenda

Free & Open to the public – join us and see you UT students are solving area issues!

Thanks to all the students, faculty and advisors for taking part in the third Howard Baker Public Policy Challenge. It was very hard to narrow down the field of so many great teams, but 11 finalists will present their policy briefs to a panel of judges in 15 minute increments.

JudgesJUDGES: Dr. Martha Buchanan, Director, Knox County Public Health

Judge Pamela Reeves, Eastern Tennessee District Federal Court

Dr. Bill Lyons, Deputy to the Mayor, Chief Policy Officer, City of Knoxville

Julia Burrows, Director, Governing Institute, California
Don Barger, Dir., Southeast Regional National Parks Conservation Assoc.

Competing TEAMS were drawn from courses in Economics (Dr. Don Bruce and Dr. Kimberly Sims), Nutrition (Dr. Marsha Spence), Political Science (Dr. Danielle Atkins), Social Work (Fr. Ragan Schriver), and Baker Center Learning Community (Diana Howell & Dr. Bill Park).  Approximately 30 teams in all competed over the semester addressing issues and connecting with stakeholders as they learned the process of public policy development.

Feed the Gardens


Feed the Gardens Feed the Kids Policy Brief Alexandra Alford, Marissa McElrone, Lauren Woods





Knoxville DisABILITIES Day Program – Alex Schnelle, Leah Pedro, Lindy Yang, Richard Pugh, Tyler Shrive







Zero Room for Zero Tolerance Final Policy Brief – David Fluharty, Nikole Metz, Tom Vanhoose




EmissionsVehicle Emissions Testing – Estonia Black, Marlee Jennings, Hunter Mall, Jennifer Slate, Corinne Smith, Wanyi Yang



Homelessness in the Heartland– Victoria Campbell, Christopher Chilton, William Hendon, Miranda Pedigo, William Stoker, Yeseul Sue

RFI in Hospitals


Implementation of RFID in Hospitals – John Robinson, Jack Starr, Jay Vass





IPolicy UT Student Health Center – Anthony Mulvey, Nathan Horner, Cole Campbell



Data Flex – Stefan Hatfield, Austin Arrowood




Our thanks to all involved and looking forward to next year!

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