December 2, 2014 UT Architecture Freshmen Finalists in Public Policy Challenge

Two freshman architecture students competed in the first ever Howard Baker Public Policy Challenge, as members of interdisciplinary teams. Their respective teams were one of five teams selected to advance to the Final Howard Baker Challenge in February 2015.  Over 80 students participated in this non-credit competition open to all students at UT, with 12 final teams competing on November 19 at the Baker Center.

Freshman architecture student Olivia Poston was a member of the team team that created and presented a policy proposal entitled “Education Equality Now!: Entending TN Promise to Non-Citizen Students.”    Other team members included Gus White, Freshman in Global Studies, Kim Bress, Freshman in Neuroscience, Juan Gutierrez, Law Student, and Brenda Adimora, Law Student.

Sarah Ball was part of the team that developed a policy entitled:  “Project (bag)gage.  Other team members included Shelbie Francescon, Freshman, Nuclear Engineering; Rachel Gunia, Freshman, Sports Management; Don Black, Freshman, Aerospace Engineering; Troy Williamson, Graduate students, Master Policy & Public Administration; and Autumn Bruce, Freshman, Marketing.

This is the first year for the Howard Baker Public Policy Challenge, which was modeled on the national public policy challenge issued by the Fels Institute of the University of Pennsylvania. Student teams developed solutions in the form of public policy legislation and/or initiatives which address the problem they are trying to solve. The Challenge happens in two phases. All student teams competed in the UT Competition in November featuring a five minute presentation and an executive summary of their problem and solution. The top five UT teams selected will advance to the Final Competition in February at the Toyota Auditorium, featuring a more detailed  policy brief (10-15 pages) and a ten minute presentation.  The Howard Baker Center will fund the student participation and travel.

The Howard Baker Public Policy Challenge used real problems collected from government and non-profits across the state of Tennessee or suggested by the student teams. Throughout the process, the stakeholders (government, non-profits, etc.) were engaged as advisors to the teams.  The challenge was open to all students at the university as a non-credit interdisciplinary experience.  Over 80 students enrolled and around 50 competed in November. Each student team was mentored by faculty and/or professionals and stakeholders.   A 20 person Advisory Council to the Challenge included Marleen Kay Davis of the School of Architecture.