Baker Institute interns awarded Fulbright scholarships
This month, 2010 Rice graduate Amanda Hu will travel to Botswana to conduct an anthropological survey of orphans and other at-risk youths. In the fall, her former Rice classmate, Michael Feldman, will research security and trade issues at the Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kuala Lumpur. And in March 2011, former Rice Student Association president Patrick McAnaney will go to Brazil to study successful waste-picker organizations with an eye toward advancing grassroots movements in that country.
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Hu, Feldman and McAnaney, all former Baker Institute interns, are among the eight scholars from Rice University who received Fulbright grants for the 2010-2011 academic year. The highly selective program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, offers students and scholars the opportunity to study and conduct research abroad to help find solutions to shared international concerns.
While each scholar is drawn to a different field, all agree their experiences as interns helped shape their goals. "What I saw and experienced first-hand as an intern in a developing country solidified my desire to help others," said Hu. A two-year intern for the Energy Forum Lesotho Sustainability Assessment Project, Hu helped rebuild an abandoned school in Lesotho, where almost 50 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. As a Fulbright scholar, she will continue her work with disadvantaged youths; she hopes the survey information she collects in Botswana will help policymakers tailor programs that help the next generation achieve its goals.
McAnaney and Feldman will also use their Fulbright awards to build on issues they researched as summer interns. "My goal is hopefully to figure out best management techniques that will help waste-picker and other cooperatives to expand throughout Brazil," said McAnaney, who evaluated the effectiveness of recycling initiatives in Latin America as an intern at the Inter-American Foundation in Washington, D.C.
McAnaney worked in the nation's capital as a participant in the institute's Jesse Jones Leadership Center Summer in D.C. Policy Research Internship Program — as did Feldman, who in summer 2008 researched Asian security issues at the Hudson Institute. He will continue similar security and trade studies as a Fulbright scholar in Malaysia. "I could not have anticipated the extent to which the Baker Institute has contributed to my education and shaped my future goals," Feldman said.
As a resource for students interested in public policy, the Baker Institute is "one of the best Rice has to offer in terms of the connections they have to get internships and access to the fellows and their areas of expertise," McAnaney said.
"As much as possible, talk with individual fellows," he added. "They’re invaluable resources and they enjoy mentoring students."
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The James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy is a nonpartisan public policy think tank located on the campus of Rice University in Houston, Texas. The institute's distinguished fellows and scholars research and collaborate with experts from academia, government, the media, business and private organizations on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy.