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Baker Buzz

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

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Fall 2021 Semester In Review

Baker Center Hosts His Excellency, Koji Tomita Japanese Ambassador

In November, we had the honor of hosting His Excellency Koji Tomita, Japanese Ambassador to the United States, for the annual Baker Memorial Lecture hosted in partnership with the Consul General of Japan in Nashville. Japan's diplomatic and strategic relationship with the United States was the focus of Ambassador Tomita's remarks.
Tomita said Senator Baker "helped the Japanese government create public consensus by engaging the opinion leaders in patient conversation about Japan's goals." Also in attendance, were Consul General Kayoko Fukushima, Chancellor Donde Plowman, Senator Lamar Alexander, Mayor Glenn Jacobs, several state legislators, and other special guests.
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vols vote

Baker Center Partners with Secretary of State 

To celebrate September's National Voter Registration Month, the Center collaborated with the Tennessee Secretary of StateStudent Government Association, the Knox County Election Commission, and the Vols Vote initiative to co-host a Voter Registration Tailgate. Student volunteers and volunteers from the League of Women Voters joined representatives from the Secretary of State's office and the election commission before the Tennessee vs. Tennessee Tech home football game to register new voters and answer questions about voting and voter registration. The tailgate drew a crowd in Vol Village before the game, promoting a culture of voting and reminding fans that all Vols Vote! Check out more about the event here.
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Center Welcomes Ambassador Mark Green

The Center was pleased to welcome Ambassador Mark Green in October. Green currently serves as the President, Director, and CEO of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and is a former administrator of USAID. Ambassador Green met with Baker Ambassadors and scholars for an informative lunch, as well as later that evening spoke as the guest of honor of our Ashe Lecture Series. 

Baker Center Hosts Live Podcast Recording

On November 4th, the Baker Center hosted its first LIVE podcast recording with popular legal podcast Advisory Opinions with David French & Sarah Isgur.
French and Isgur discussed Supreme Court oral arguments in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen, challenging a New York law that places strict limits on carrying guns outside the home.

French and Isgur also shared their thoughts on the recent Texas abortion law before the court and took audience questions. Listen to the full podcast here.
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Event Recordings 

10 Year Anniversary Display

Miss an event? Watch the Recording! 

Catch up on the events you've missed at any time by clicking the links below. 
  • Implications of Slowing Economic Growth for Climate Change and Society with Dr. Matthew Burgess view here.
  • Race, Gender, and Political Representation with Dr. Kirsten Widner view here.
  • U.S Nuclear Weapons and International Law with Alicia Sanders-Zakre, watch here.
  • Charge Up Appalachia - Strategies to Improve Electric Vehicles Along Tennessee's ADHS Corridors with Dr. Tim Ezzell, watch here.
  • Faith in Politics with author and former TN Legislator Roy Herron view here.
  • Ashe Lecture with former Amb. Mark Green, view here

2022 Events Preview 

John Schwartz Picture

Energy & Environment Forum, with Dr. John Schwartz

Dr. John Schwartz, director of Tennessee Water Resources Research Center and a civil and environmental engineering professor. This Energy & Environment Forum will focus on stressed natural systemsThe public lecture will be on February 3, 2022. Additional information will be announced in 2022.
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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. The lecture will be free and open to the public on Feb. 8, 2022. Additional information will be announced in 2022. 
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Energy & Environment Forum, with Dr. Becky Trout-Fryxell

In April, Dr. Becky Trout-Fryxell, medical and veterinary entomology professor, will present at the Center. Trout-Fryxell will focus on integrating applied and molecular entomology. This Energy & Environment Forum will be public and on April 28, 2022. Additional information will be announced in 2022.


Climate Research Funded by the Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center

 Energy & Environment Fellow Dr. Paul Armsworth was awarded a new project by the Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Center. Armsworth and the team will use modeling approaches to simulate how future climate change will impact species. The project will focus on terrestrial and freshwater species identified by state wildlife agencies in the southeastern United States. This project is expected to run until July 2023.
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Global Security & Y-12 National Security Complex 

Global Security Director Dr. Krista Wiegand and GS fellows Dr. Brandon Prins, Dr. Matt Buehler, and Dr. Timothy Roberson presented, Tracking China and Russia's Nuclear Diplomacy Activities in Africa and the Political and Economic Consequences of Threats to Nuclear Facilitiesat the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge. These were projects funded through a Y-12 grant awarded last year. 
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Editor and Baker Center Fellow

Energy & Environment Fellow Dr. Deborah Penchoff recently served as editor for the newly published book “Rare Earth Elements and Actinides: Progress in Computational Science Applications,” published by the American Chemical Society. In addition to serving as editor, Dr. Penchoff is also a co-author on three chapters. Read more here
japan flag

McClung Museum Returns a Japanese Good Luck Flag

Jointly, McClung Museum and the Obon Society were able to return a Good Luck flag to the descendants of its original owner, a fallen World War II soldier, Mr. Yushiro Narita. Read the full story here.
japan flag

Abridged Knox County Community Health Assessment

The Center has been selected to lead a team of researchers from the University to support an abridged community health assessment for Knox County. The team includes Dr. Katie Cahill, Dr. Bill Lyons, and Dr. Matthew Murray from the Center, Dr. Kathleen Brown from Public Health, Dr. Carole Myers from Nursing, Dr. Matthew Harris from the Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research, Mr. Timothy Kuhn from the Tennessee State Data Center, and Ms. Markie Cook from the Center for Applied Research & Evaluation in the Social Work Office of Research and Public Service. Learn more about the health assessment here


silver campus

Baker Center Contributes to Highest School Voter Turnout 

Thanks to the efforts of VolsVote, UT Libraries, and SGA, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville has earned a Silver Seal from the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge for student voter participation efforts in the 2020 Election! With a voting rate of 66%, UT students in 2020 reached the national average voting rate for college students for the first time since data collection began. We are excited for a future where ALL VOLS VOTE! Check out the full report here.

New Baker Scholar Cohort 

The Baker Scholars program consistently attracts the University of Tennessee’s most academically gifted, politically curious students by offering a unique and meaningful opportunity for engagement in the field of public policy. 

The newest Baker Scholars cohort is the largest so far, with a total of seventeen academically qualified and curious scholars. Please join us in congratulating the following: 
Alexandria Anderson, Meredith Bailey, Bret Berry, Megha Chitturi, Soriya Cooper, Landyn Ford, Betsy Germann, Emily Gwydir, Aidan Homan, Jacob Hood, Abigail Lawrence, Lucille Marret, Nolan Ragland, Alex Roberts, Gavin Simone, and Zoe Ward 
silver campus

Electric Vehicles by 2050? 

This past month, Energy & Environment Fellow, Dr. David Greene, presented at the Tickle College of Engineering. His electric vehicle talk was based on research done by the Baker Center for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the California Energy Commission. He addressed the certainties and uncertainties of electric vehicles and the importance of changing infrastructure to transition to zero-emission electric vehicles.
Baker Ambassadors 2018

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
Howard H. Baker Jr Center for Public Policy
1640 Cumberland Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37996
Phone: 865-974-0931
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