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Baker Institute interns win prestigious scholarships and fellowships
For Rice University students, the path to the world of public policy often leads through the Baker Institute. In the 2011-2012 academic year, seven institute interns won prestigious grants, including scholarships from the Fulbright, Marshall and Truman foundations.
"I am delighted that the achievements of these outstanding Rice students have been recognized by prestigious scholarships and fellowships," said Baker Institute founding director Edward P. Djerejian. "They reflect not only the academic excellence of our students, but also the educational value of the internships and guidance provided by Baker Institute research fellows."
Two of the four Rice students who won the Fulbright Scholarships were former Baker Institute interns. The Fulbright program is sponsored by the U.S. State Department and allows seniors, recent graduates and graduate students to study, teach and conduct research in a foreign country.
The Marshall Scholarship, founded by an act of Parliament in 1953 to commemorate the humane ideals of the Marshall Plan, allows distinguished American students to pursue two years of graduate study at any institution in the United Kingdom. Scholars are selected on the basis of academic merit, leadership and ambassadorial potential.
Payton Odom '09 was a 2007 participant in the institute's Jesse Jones Leadership Center Summer in D.C. Policy Research Internship Program in Washington, spending his summer working at the Inter-American Foundation. He graduated from Rice with a degree in economics. Currently a research analyst at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Odom will study and work in Mexico through the Fulbright Binational Business Grant, specifically designed for students interested in combining coursework in international business or law with an internship at a Mexico-based company conducting international or legal business.
Francesca Schley '12, a history major, was an administrative intern in the Development and Graphics Departments of the Baker Institute. Beginning in March 2013, she will spend 10 months teaching English at a teacher's college in Brazil. Schley's interests in policy and Latin America were inspired by the Latin America Initiative-sponsored events that she attended, particularly the Vecinos Lecture Series.
The Harry S. Truman Scholarship recognizes college juniors with exceptional leadership potential who are committed to careers in public service and provides them with financial support for graduate study, leadership training and fellowship with like-minded students.
Kareem Ayoub '12, pictured above (back row, second from left), was a spring 2012 participant in the Public Diplomacy and Global Policymaking Program, a student-led program that links Rice undergraduates with their counterparts in the Middle East to discuss issues relevant to both sides, including public diplomacy, interfaith dialogues, social lives and media. A bioengineering major, he has also conducted independent research on science diplomacy and the role of civic scientists, with guidance from Baker Institute science and technology fellows Neal F. Lane and Kirstin R.W. Matthews. Ayoub will use his scholarship to complete a master's degree in neuroscience at Oxford University. Additionally, through the National Institutes of Health Oxford-Cambridge Scholars Program, he will to earn a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering at Oxford before returning to the states to complete an M.D. program at Washington University in St. Louis.
The Thomas J. Watson Fellowship awards grants to 40 graduating seniors from around the country for 12 months of world travel and experiential learning to study a topic of their choice.
Benjamin Chou '13, pictured above (front row, far left), is majoring in political science, Asian studies and policy studies. He worked at the White House Council on Environmental Quality as a summer 2011 participant in the D.C. internship program. He also studied China and energy policy with Baker Institute fellow Steven W. Lewis through the Century Scholars Program, a two-year student-faculty research mentorship program at Rice. Chou hopes to use the scholarship to pursue a master's in public policy, and is committed to improving the global environment and furthering U.S.-Sino relations on climate change.
Rahul Rekhi '13, pictured above (back row, second from left), was a summer 2011 participant in the institute's D.C. internship program, where he conducted research at the National Science Foundation. After graduating from Rice with degrees in bioengineering and economics, he plans to use the scholarship to pursue a Ph.D. in bioengineering and a master's in public policy so he can work at the nexus of science, health and policy as both a biomedical researcher and a national policymaker. "One of the truly unique draws of the Baker Institute is not just that it has distinguished statesmen and scholars, but that they are extremely accessible to undergraduates," Rekhi said. "That has helped me a lot as a student, and I’m sure it will help many students to come."
The Roy and Hazel Zeff Memorial Fellowship is a grant given to one Rice student each year that allows him or her to travel the world and study firsthand a research topic of his or her choosing.
Rachael Petersen '12, pictured above (second row, third from left), an anthropology and policy studies major, is one of two Rice students awarded the Watson Fellowship. She was a summer 2010 participant in the D.C. internship program, working at the Environmental Defense Fund. She plans to use the fellowship to study how indigenous communities in Canada, Ecuador, Brazil, Malaysia and Australia are harnessing digital tools to assert their cultural identity and sovereignty around the world.
Steven W. Lewis, the institute's C.V. Starr Transnational China Fellow and adviser for the summer internship program in D.C., said that students who invest the time in the scholarship application process gain more than monetary resources and support. "By applying to outside scholarships, students learn a lot more about how to present a narrative to other people to persuade them to help with their research or job," he said.
Dylan McNally '12 is an intern for Erika de la Garza, program director of the institute's Latin America Initiative. He will use the Zeff Fellowship to gain a comparative and broad view of the education of children of migrants in different parts of the world, including Costa Rica, Spain, South Africa, Jordan and Singapore. McNally, a Hispanic studies and political science major, intends to focus on two key aspects of the migration phenomenon: the movement of people from the periphery to the core on an international level, and the segregation of these migrant communities within the host country. Working with de la Garza "made me realize that there's a lot more out there that I don't know about and that school won't necessarily provide me with," McNally said. Helping with the Americas Project Colloquium, which brought together scholars from across the Western Hemisphere, also expanded his multinational perspective on immigration, he added.
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Baker and Hines join board of advisers
James A. Baker IV and Gerald D. Hines are the newest members of the Baker Institute Board of Advisers. They join a distinguished group of 28 members whose mission is to expand the research and public policy goals of the Baker Institute.
Baker is partner at Baker Botts L.L.P. and heads its Washington, D.C., office; he also serves on the firm's executive committee. Hines is the founder and chairman of privately held real estate firm Hines, headquartered in Houston, Texas, and London, U.K.
As members, Baker and Hines will provide a valuable external perspective and act as a sounding board for institute leadership and policy fellows, as well as increase the Baker Institute's visibility with their support of its nonpartisan policy research and recommendations.
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For a complete list of upcoming events, visit our events page.
The Geopolitics of Gas Discoveries in Israel. His Excellency Uzi Landau, minister of energy and water resources for the State of Israel, discusses the significance of the Tamar and Leviathan natural gas discoveries in the current regional context. May 2 at 6:00 pm
International Space Medicine Summit 2012. Physicians and biomedical scientists gather to discuss space medicine research at this annual conference organized by the Baker Institute and Baylor College of Medicine. May 18 at 8:30 am
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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.