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About the Baker Institute Student Forum


The Baker Institute Student Forum (BISF) is a student-run organization dedicated to fostering student involvement in public policy by providing opportunities for Rice University students to interact with distinguished statesmen and scholars, examine public policy questions and host an annual undergraduate public policy conference.



The Baker Institute Student Forum was created in 2002 in order to provide a link between the student body and the Baker Institute. Through a variety of events, the student forum provides opportunities for Rice students to explore current policy issues and lend a meaningful voice to our nation's discourse. Each event is designed to stimulate reflection and action while providing insightful context and perspective. Past events include panel discussions, informal student events with Baker Institute fellows around campus, student debates and trivia nights.


Letter from Ambassador Djerejian

Since its founding in 2002, the Baker Institute Student Forum has served as the connection between the Baker Institute and Rice students. Not only has the forum been a way for the Baker Institute to reach out to graduates and undergraduates, it has also played an important part in ensuring that students’ interests are reflected in the institute’s programs. We are thrilled to have such active and engaged students working with us, and the institute benefits from the unique perspectives they offer.

In addition to supporting the institute’s programs, the forum conducts its own wide range of projects. It hosts a wealth of events aimed at educating the Rice community on the critical issues, foreign and domestic, that we confront. It fosters informal debates among students. It publishes a student journal of public policy. And, with this website, the forum is broadening its outreach to the university community and beyond.

Decisions policymakers make today will shape our nation and the world for years and decades to come. I urge you to get informed and become engaged. To that end, I ask that you consider joining the Baker Institute Student Forum.

Edward P. Djerejian
Founding Director
Rice University’s Baker Institute


Executive Committee

The Executive Committee is the administration and leadership of the BISF. The committee consists of the president, the vice-president of events, the vice-president of outreach, the treasurer, the secretary, the editor-in-chief of the Rice Cultivator, and the ex-officio member(s).

The Executive Committee:

  • Approves BISF events and activities
  • Coordinates the calendar
  • Represents BISF to the Baker Institute
  • Manages the website and listserv
  • Plans long-term strategies


  • President: Mishi Jain (
  • Executive VPs: David Ratnoff, Dylan Dickens, Shruthi Velidi
  • Heads of Informal Events: Eliza Martin, Gary Dreyer
  • Head of Formal Events: Catherine Kirby
  • Secretary: Tenny Ryals
  • Policy Competition Chair: Julia Wang
  • Cultivator Editor: Erin Rawls
  • Assistant Cultivator Editors: Elizabeth Myong
  • Head of Outreach: Carlin Cherry
  • Officer Ex-Officio: Zach Birenbaum


The Events Committee plans, executes and publicizes events of interest to Rice students and the Houston community. The Events Committee is led by the vice-presidents of events. The committee is responsible for events such as small talks with institute fellows and Rice professors, large public events with prestigious speakers and expert panels.

The Events Committee:

  •     Develops event ideas
  •     Completes event approval processes
  •     Invites speaker(s) and coordinates their visit to Rice
  •     Publicizes events to the Rice and Houston communities

Examples of past events include the 2014 BISF National Undergraduate Policy Conference: Energy Policy in the United States, which featured former Houston Mayor Bill White as the keynote speaker; a coffee talk with Neal Lane, Ph.D., senior fellow in science and technology policy; a luncheon with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman; an address by the Honorable Jon M. Huntsman Jr., former U.S. ambassador to China and former governor of Utah; a lecture by John Podesta; and a panel discussion on the Syrian civil war.



The Research Committee publishes “The Rice Cultivator,” an undergraduate student policy journal that is published by the Baker Institute. The Research Committee is led by the editor-in-chief of the Rice Cultivator.

The Research Committee:

  •     Solicits articles from Rice students
  •     Edits all submissions
  •     Solicits reviews and advice from institute fellows and Rice professors



The Community Committee provides Rice students with a dynamic forum for policy discussion and debate. The Community Committee is led by the vice-president of outreach. The planning and approval process is identical to the Events Committee; however, the Community Committee focuses on interactive, informal activities.

The Community Committee:

  •     Plans frequent campus-wide policy discussions
  •     Plans debates between the Rice Young Democrats and the Rice Conservative Forum
  •     Holds trivia nights
  •     And does anything else to get Rice students fired up about policy!

Examples of past activities include the hosting of a current events trivia night and a discussion on drug policy with former Baker Institute fellow Nathan Jones.