The Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy Celebrates its 10 Year Anniversary
Over the past ten years the Baker Center has cultivated a community of students and faculty who honor the legacy of Senator Howard Baker. The Baker Center houses the Modern Political Archives, Chancellor’s Honors Program, and the Masters of Public Policy and Administration. Through public lectures and programs within the three focus areas of Energy and Environment, Global Security, and Leadership and Governance, the Center encourages students and community members to to engage in the political system and to serve our local, state, national, and global communities.
To celebrate our 10 successful years, we asked our students to reflect on their time at the Baker Center and the impact the Center and faculty have had on their college careers.
Bailee Beshires, a senior Baker Ambassador, said that being involved with the Baker Center has been the most impactful experience in her three years of college. “What drew me to this program was the emphasis on nonpartisanship and civility, but the reason I stayed involved here is because of the remarkable staff that have become my mentors and biggest support system. Through the Baker Ambassador program, I’ve been able to meet and build relationships with some of the most inspiring people, including Cissy Baker, who truly mimic the character of Senator Baker.”
Recent graduate and Fulbright Scholar, Avanti Rangnekar, had this to say about her experience as a Baker Scholar: “I could never have achieved what I have without the community and support that I received from the Baker Center staff and Baker Scholars. It’s a support system that I will forever be grateful for and that I will certainly be visiting whenever I come back to visit Rocky Top!”
Jay Hearn, a senior Baker Ambassador, says his time at the Baker Center has left a positive impact on his time at the University of Tennessee. “From being a member of the Baker Center LLC as a freshman to being a Baker Ambassador to being the head of Roosevelt @ UTK, a public policy think tank on campus, none of this could’ve happened without the wonderful staff and resources available through the Baker Center. If you at all care about civility, public service, policy, and government, the Baker Center will be a home for you on campus. It’s been mine for three years and I’m truly grateful to be part of the legacy of Howard Baker.”
Lawand Yaseen, a sophomore Baker Ambassador, said, “As a first-year Baker Ambassador, I had the opportunity to learn, serve, and connect with both students and faculty who exemplify the attributes of the man that the Center honors, Senator Howard Baker. Even while being an Engineering major, assisting in events and panels has ignited a passion for educating both the student body and the local community about pertinent national and international policy.”
Katherine Harwell, a participant in the Baker Center’s inaugural Washington Program says, “The program was such a unique experience. From the Supreme Court to the EPA, we really got an inside peek at all that Washington has to offer. Spending time in D.C. with my peers was incredibly formative and gave me a needed sense of direction for the rest of my undergraduate and graduate studies. I’m so thankful the Baker Center gave me this opportunity.”
Senior Baker Ambassador, Greta Roberts, said her involvement at the Baker Center has benefited her in numerous ways. “Upon entering college, I possessed little direction as to what path I wanted my academic career to take; however all of this changed once I became involved with the Baker Center. Being involved with the Center since my freshman year has provided me with countless opportunities to grow in my academic and professional life. I’m so grateful for all of the knowledge I have acquired and the people I have had the pleasure to meet through the Baker Center.”
Ricky Goyette, a recent graduate of the Minor in Public Policy Analytics, a Baker Ambassador, and current research assistant at the Baker Center says that his time with the Baker Center was the most impactful during his time at UT. “Serving with the Baker Ambassadors allowed me to meet so many other students who were interested in policy and service, and it seriously helped me in my professional development. Minoring in Public Policy Analytics allowed me to solidify and expand my research abilities further than I thought I would be able to. I can say with certainty that I am the student and professional I am today because of my time with the Baker Center.”