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Baker Buzz

News and Events from the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy

Front of the Baker Center building

Martin Luther King Jr. Day


Honoring Martin Luther King Jr.

"Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation."

—Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

On March 28th, 1968, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. traveled to Memphis, Tennessee, to join Black sanitation workers on strike, as shown in the picture above. On April 3rd, he gave his famous final speech, "I've Been to the Mountaintop," part of which is cited above. King was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in downtown Memphis a day later. We honor the legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who risked his life to achieve the fulfillment of civil rights and racial justice. Here at the Center, we remember his work and continuously strive to uphold the ideals of freedom, justice, and equality for all Americans.  


Student Hot Chocolate Social

Join us in the Toyota Auditorium to learn about opportunities to get involved with the Center as a student. Dr. Jonathan Ring, Director of Student Programs, will be there to meet you and answer your questions.
Join us Wednesday, January 26th, at 5:00 pm in the Toyota Auditorium.  Hot chocolate will be provided!
E&E Sunset

Energy & Environment Forum, with Dr. John Schwartz

Dr. John Schwartz is the Director of the Tennessee Water Resources Research Center and a Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor in the Tickle College of Engineering at the University of Tennessee. This Energy & Environment Forum will focus on stressed natural systems.
Join us Thursday, February 3rd, from 1:00 to 2:30 pm in the Toyota Auditorium.
Global security

Global Security Lecture, with Lt. Col. Michael Stefanovic

Lt. Col. Michael Stefanovic of the U.S. Air Force, 19th Civil Engineer Squadron commander, will be presenting on national and international security as a part of the Global Security Lecture Series.
Join us Tuesday, February 8th, from 1:00 to 2:00 pm in the Toyota Auditorium.
TN Civic Summit

Tennessee Campus Civic Summit 2022

The Tennessee Campus Civic Summit is a nonpartisan event founded by the Center's Leadership & Governance Program that brings colleges and universities in the state together to learn from each other, as well as experts in the field, to develop and implement campus civic literacy programs. The goal of the Summit is to promote long-term civic engagement by improving voter education and participation efforts statewide. Faculty, administrators, students, and community partners are encouraged to attend.   
This year’s event will be held on February 25th & 26th, 2022. The Summit will be virtual with statewide student voting education sessions and planning workshops with local, state, and national experts. The keynote speaker is Aarian Forman, Co-Founder of the non-profit Xceleader and former SGA President at Tennessee State University.  
Join us Friday, February 25th, from 10:30 am to 4:30 pm. Click here to register. Registration is free.


Dr. Krista Wiegand

National Science Foundation Database on Rebel-Group Conflict and Resolution

Dr. Krista Wiegand, Director of the Center's Global Security Program, recently completed work on a three-year project for the National Science Foundation to develop a database on rebel-group grievances, intrastate conflict, and the ultimate resolution. This extensive project involved the work and training of multiple post-doctoral researchers, and graduate and undergraduate students. Dr. Wiegand and her co-PI, Dr. Eric Keels, a Global Security Fellow and faculty at Blue Horizons U.S. Air War College, are now planning to release the research through academic outlets and in a series of meetings and conferences in Washington, D.C., and internationally. If you are interested in learning more about this project and the release of the research, please email us at
E&E Research Headshots (Sims, Penchoff, Overly)

The Future of Energy and Transportation

Dr. Charles Sims, Director of the Center's Energy & Environment Program, participated in "A 21st Economy: The Future of Energy and Transportation" panel for the 2021-2022 Appalachian Leadership Institute's Economic Opportunities Session. The Appalachian Leadership Institute is funded by the USDA through the Appalachian Regional Commission and includes an annual cohort of 40 fellows drawn from private, public, and non-profit sectors. Sims presented his research funded by the Sloan Foundation and the Tennessee Valley Authority on the solar energy transition.
He was joined by Dr. Deborah Penchoff, another Energy & Environment Fellow, who presented on her research regarding the potential for extracting rare earth elements from coal ash, and by Mr. Jonathan Overly, the Executive Director of the East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition (ETCleanFuels), who discussed manufacturing shifts toward the increasing production of electric vehicles.
If you are interested in learning more about these projects and similar events, please email us at  

Teaching & Mentorship

Public Policy Minor

Public Policy Analytics Minor

The Public Policy Analytics Minor is offered to students pursuing majors in all colleges. The minor teaches advanced analytical tools and applications of data-driven research for public policy. It is beneficial for students majoring in all backgrounds, especially those preparing for graduate school or careers in public policy.
Click here for more information. 

Congressional Internship Program

Summer 2022 applications are open now through January 31st.
The CIP is a program for students to intern in a Tennessee Congressional office in Washington, D.C. Students selected to participate will be awarded funding to offset the costs of living for the internship duration. Summer internships are secured directly with Congressional offices and last 6–10 weeks. 
To be eligible for the CIP program, you must be a junior, senior, law school, or graduate student and have a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Seniors graduating this spring may also apply.

Click here for more information.


Baker Scholar Graduates

Congratulations to our Fall 2021 graduates, Anna Grady (Baker Scholar), Savannah Hall (Baker Scholar), and Kate Martella (Baker Scholar and Public Policy Analytics Minor)! We cannot wait to see what each of you accomplish.
Anna Grady Savannah Hall Kate Martella
Baker students at graduation

Get Involved with the Baker Center

The Center is a home for civic engagement for students in all disciplines and at all levels. Through programs, events and lectures, and helpful faculty and staff, the Center aims to engage the community on the topics of Global Security, Leadership & Governance, and Energy & Environment. Visit for more information.
Some ways to get involved with the Center:
Contact Us:
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Howard H. Baker Jr Center for Public Policy
1640 Cumberland Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37996
Phone: 865-974-0931
Big Orange. Big Ideas.
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