Student Forum Leadership, 2017-2018


David Ratnoff


Major: History, Political Science; Politics, Law, and Social Thought Minor

David is a Senior from Martel College. As President, he is excited to integrate club programming with the Rice Journal of Public Policy, foster casual policy discussions among students across campus, and attract new student groups to access BISF activities. David has been involved with the Student Forum extensively since his freshman year, when he served as a copy editor for Cultivator (now Rice Journal of Public Policy). As Secretary, David launched the informal debate series to increase policy visibility on campus. Last year, as Executive Vice President and Publisher of Cultivator, he oversaw the growth and standardization of Cultivator's print and digital platforms. In his free time, David brings joy to students in the form of caffeinated beverages. Catch him behind the espresso machine in Coffeehouse, in New York photographing urbanity, or buried deep in a dataset.


Shruthi Velidi

Editor-in-Chief, Rice Journal of Public Policy

Major: Cognitive Science; Politics, Law, and Social Thought

Shruthi is a senior from Duncan College studying Cognitive Science and Political Theory to better understand the complex relationship between technology and society. As the Editor-in-Chief of the Rice Journal of Public Policy, she is excited to expand the publication and its readership. She has been involved with the Baker Institute Student Forum since her freshman year and most recently served as Executive Vice President. Outside of BISF, Shruthi is involved with Rice University Court, the Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen, the Center for Science and Law, and the Houston martial arts scene. She can be found bothering David and Erin at Coffeehouse, discussing British politics, or planning her next travel adventure. 



Julia Wang

Executive Vice President

Major: Economics; Policy Studies; PJHC Minor    

Julia is a sophomore at Baker College and is passionate about international economics and community development. As the Policy Competition Chair, she encourages undergraduates at Rice University to engage in public policy through submitting their own policy proposals to the annual Undergraduate Policy Competition. Outside of BISF, she enjoys designing for the Campanile yearbook, interacting with the startup community through the Rice Entrepreneurship Club, and playing on her college's Powderpuff team.


Catherine Kirby

External Vice President

Major: Political Science; Business Minor

Catherine Kirby is a sophomore at Baker College majoring in Political Science and minoring in Business. As Head of Formal Events, Catherine works to plan events involving the Baker Institute Fellows. Outside of BISF, she enjoys learning languages, traveling, and practicing her Korean through watching dramas. 


Erin Rawls

Internal Vice President

Major: Linguistics; Policy Studies

Erin is a rising junior Linguistics and Policy Studies major at Brown College. This year, she will be the Internal Vice President of the Baker Institute Student Forum. Last semester, as Editor-in-Chief of Cultivator, she worked with a few other students to start a short form policy writing section of Cultivator in order to create more avenues for policy discussion on campus. She hopes to continue to help as many students as possible engage with policy through BISF. She is particularly interested in criminal justice policy and education policy. Outside of BISF, she enjoys working as a barista at Rice Coffeehouse. She is passionate about student wellbeing, and serves as a 2017 Brown Orientation Week Coordinator.


Jessica Huang

Formal Events Chair

Major: Political Science, Policy Studies, Sociology


Jessica Huang is a sophomore double majoring in Political Science and Policy Studies and minoring in Sociology. As a freshman, Jessica created the high school outreach program of BISF; as a sophomore, she wants to continue organizing BISF events for all of Houston's community to participate. Outside of BISF, Jessica is also a leader of Asian Pacific American Student Alliance and Rice University Young Democrats. She hopes to one day attend law school on the East coast and live with 3 dogs.


Meredith McCain

Informal Events Chair

Major: Political Science, French Studies; Politics, Law and Social Thought

Meredith is a Duncan College sophomore majoring in Political Science and French Studies with a minor in Politics, Law, and Social Thought. Her interests include international relations, human rights law, and civic engagement. You can spot her running the outer loop, playing Duncan powderpuff, or doing anything to actively avoid Fondren. She is looking forward to serving as Chair of Informal Events this year and finding new ways to engage Rice students in the exciting world of policy! 

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Tenny Ryals


Major: Economics; Business Minor

Tenny Ryals is a Sophomore at Hanszen College majoring in Economics and minoring in Business. As Secretary of BISF, she reaches out to students on campus and helps keep Rice students informed about BISF'S events. She is particularly interested in education policy and foreign policy.


Madison Grimes

Policy Competition Chair

Major: Latin American Studies, Policy Studies 

Madison Grimes is a sophomore from Hanszen College and has been involved in BISF since joining the general board her freshman year. As policy competition chair, she organizes the annual Undergraduate Policy Competition, in which students submit their own policy proposals. Outside of BISF, Madison is involved in Hanszen student government as treasurer and enjoys reading and exploring Houston.


Emma Hanan

Outreach Chair

Major: Mathematical Economic Analysis and History

Emma Hanan is a sophomore Mathematical Economic Analysis and History double major. Emma became involved early with the Baker Institute Student Forum as a member of the General Board on the Outreach committee last year. She currently serves as the Outreach Chair on the Executive Board where she hopes to increase BISF's on-campus visibility. Outside of of BISF, Emma is active in student government, serving her second year as the Class of 2020 Representative to Baker College Cabinet, as well as in The Rice Business Society.