About the RYP

The Baker Institute Roundtable Young Professionals (RYP) is a membership group dedicated to the institute’s mission of bridging the world of ideas and the world of action. Through a variety of social and informational events, the institute connects members to policy leaders while offering networking opportunities and engaging current and future supporters.

Become a member today by filling out our form.

For information on joining the Roundtable Young Professionals, contact Starr Dickerson, associate director of stewardship, at (713) 348-8087 or by email at starrd@rice.edu.

Membership Levels

    The Emerging Leaders are an exclusive policy-minded group interested in the defining issues of our time. Members receive all the benefits of a Colleague-level Roundtable membership as well as invitations to private receptions with our notable speakers and fellows. Past events addressed issues such as health care reform and marijuana decriminalization and featured distinguished speakers including former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair.

    Membership privileges apply to a couple or an individual plus a guest.

    Emerging Leaders $500

    • Networking opportunities with Baker Institute experts, guests and young professionals
    • Invitations to member-exclusive events, including an annual fall reception with Baker Institute fellows and scholars
    • Admission to receptions at select Baker Institute events
    • Free admission to all Emerging Leaders and Associate Roundtable happy hour events
    • Complimentary parking at Baker Institute events
    • Opportunity to run for election for an officer position, join subcommittees and attend quarterly leadership meetings

    Emerging Leaders University $350

    Members at this level receive all of the Emerging Leaders-level benefits, discounted for Rice alumni, faculty and staff; military veterans; local, state and federal government employees; and nonprofit employees (with valid proof of employment).

    Rice University faculty and staff: please contact us for payroll deduction options.

    The Baker Institute also offers a $100 annual membership to the Associate Roundtable, which, like the Emerging Leaders, is designed for young professionals between the ages of 21 and 45 who are passionate about the major political and public policy issues of our time and want the opportunity to network with industry leaders and peers. Since 2005, the Associate Roundtable has addressed the interests and goals of today’s rising leaders by offering a diverse slate of opportunities, including social events and access to Baker Institute fellows and scholars.

    Membership privileges apply to an individual.

    Associate Roundtable $100

    • Networking opportunities with Baker Institute experts, guests and young professionals
    • Admission to two Associate Roundtable happy hour events per year for free
    • Complimentary parking for Baker Institute events

    Q&A with RYP Steering Committee Chair Winston Elliott

    As part of a series of Q&As spotlighting a member of the Roundtable Young Professionals (RYP), Winston Elliott —  chair of the RYP steering committee — talked about why he joined the Baker Institute's young professionals group.

    What drew you to the Baker Institute and the RYP?

    The Baker Institute has an amazing reputation both in Houston and throughout the country, but what really stood out to me about the RYP was the caliber of its members. After leaving the Army and entering the corporate world, I found it difficult to find others who were willing and able to have impassioned but civil discussions on public and global policy. The RYP is made up of a diverse array of people, all unified by their interest in and passion for focusing on issues bigger than themselves or their careers, and that excites me about the potential impact of this organization.

    How does your RYP membership benefit your job or career?

    I work primarily in the health care and insurance space, and my RYP membership has widened my lens to see how public policy and economics shape the health care landscape. It has also allowed me to expand my network to those outside of my industry, helping me to better understand the businesses and communities that I aim to serve.

    What has been your favorite program or event at the Baker Institute?

    One of my favorite programs was our RYP annual event with Secretary Baker. I was privileged with getting to moderate the event, and the whole time I was aware of what an amazing opportunity it was for our members to get to speak directly with one of the most influential figures in recent American political history. Given the political climate of the time (early 2020), it was extremely insightful and full of lessons about leadership and the political process

    What do you feel is the No. 1 policy issue of our time in the U.S.?

    I truly feel that one of the most prominent issues currently, both locally and nationally, is political apathy and the lack of civility and respect among citizens and elected representatives. We are in dire need of citizens and leaders who, even with strong principles and opinions, can listen and show empathy toward others who hold opposing views. Even prior to Trump’s time in office, people would rather focus on divisive issues and incendiary rhetoric, often finding it easier to scream at each other than engage in conversation and debate.

    What makes Houston such a great place for young professionals?

    The food. A close second is the diversity in cultures, ethnicities and backgrounds. Houston is gritty, entrepreneurial and full of opportunity. It is a city that is less focused on where you come from and more interested in where you are going. Frankly I think that attracts the best kind of people to our humid little spot in Southeast Texas.

    RYP Steering Committee

    1. Chair
      Nicholas Kurtenbach
    2. Past Chair
      Winston Elliot
    3. Chair-Elect
      Vacant
    4. Programming Chair
      Patrick Kelly
    5. Membership Chairs
      Shavonnah Roberts Schreiber
      and Megan Young
    6. Secretary
      Tife Bamgboye
    7. Commmunications Chair
      Hasti Taghi

    Subcommittee Chairs

    1. Energy — Denis Potapov
    2. Health and Biosciences — Leslie Frankel and Rosalee Maffitt
    3. Latin America and Mexico — Derek Wong and César Fabián Romero
    4. Public Finance — Nick Kurtenbach
    5. Trending Policy — Matthew Beckmann
    6. Entrepreneurship and Economic Growth — Tawfik Jarjour
    7. Middle East — Elsharif Elhindi

    Recent Events