Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
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Student Advisory Council

The Watson Institute’s Student Advisory Council is an essential bridge between the faculty and staff of the Watson Institute and the Brown undergraduate community. The council is designed to engage a diverse set of student insights and experiences to help guide the Institute’s policies, programming, and climate. While ensuring the expression of student perspectives at Watson, it also enables the Institute to offer perspectives on its mission and direction. 

Spring 2021 Events

What: TEDxBrownU is partnering with the Council to provide a platform for students to share their experiences and educate the wider Brown community. The theme of the speaker salon is nature. All undergraduate students or alumni who have any issue they are passionate about related to the theme are encouraged to apply. As a speaker, you’ll work with the curation team to polish your idea into a talk!

When: Thursday, April 8, 2021. 

Application Deadline: Wednesday, March 17 at 11:59 PM EST.

Contact: Please contact watson_institute@brown.edu with further inquiries  

In reference to the Council's first speaker series event, please see below:

Watch the event recording and/or submit feedback via Google form.  

Who We Are

2020-2021 Watson Student Advisory Members

  • Jerry Chen, Business Economics, International and Public Affairs ’23.5
  • Kimberly Collins, Public Policy and Africana Studies ’22
  • Ilana Emanuel, Economics and Urban Studies ’21
  • Daniel Halpert, International and Public Affairs ’23.5 
  • Shantal HernandezInternational and Public Affairs ’23
  • Olwyn Kells, International and Public Affairs and Slavic Studies ’23
  • Annette Lee, International and Public Affairs ’23
  • Finn Lowden, Public Policy and Economics ’22
  • Alexandra Ali Martinez, International and Public Affairs, Latin American and Caribbean Studies ’22
  • Hai Ning Ng, Anthropology ’23
  • Shilpa Sajja, International and Public Affairs and Economics ’23
  • Andrew Steinberg, International and Public Affairs ’22
  • Irene Sung, Political Science and International and Public Affairs ’23  
  • Auria Zhang, Applied Math Economics and Classics ’22 


The WSAC is composed of Brown undergraduate students from all class years representing the various concentrations, organizations, and extracurricular interests that relate to the mission and purpose of  the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs. The mission of the WSAC is to engage Brown students fully in the life of the Watson Institute to enhance the students' curricular and co-curricular experiences and to strengthen the Institute itself.

Examples of this include, but are not limited to:

  • Making recommendations on curricular reform of Watson-related concentrations.

  • Providing feedback and suggestions on Watson student grant opportunities. 

  • Planning, sponsoring, and scheduling virtual events.

  • Recommending events, speakers, and panels of value to the undergraduate community.

  • Providing reflections on Brown’s and Watson’s diversity-and-inclusion values and policy implementation.

  • Spearheading initiatives to improve undergraduate peer and faculty advising systems.

  • Offering input on the design, content, and publishing of Watson’s websites, social media platforms, and e-Newsletters.


Constituted under the guidance of the Watson Institute’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, the Student Advisory Council is convened by the Associate Director of the Watson Institute, with meetings attended regularly by Watson’s Director of Communications and Outreach, Communications and Events Coordinator, Manager of Academic Programs, and Program Manager, Master of Public Affairs Program. Members of the Watson Diversity and Inclusion Committee are always welcome to attend.

Students interested in joining the Council may apply at the beginning of the fall semester via a written application published and publicized digitally by both Student Advisory Council members and Watson administrators. Students will be asked to answer questions regarding their experiences at Watson and their vision for improving the undergraduate experience as it pertains to the Institute.

The WSAC is a student-led organization. Officers are responsible for directing meetings, overseeing agendas, and organizing the Council to work most efficiently and effectively. All members have the opportunity to become officers, regardless of their class-year or tenure in the group.


The Council is meeting virtually during the 2020-21 academic year on the third Wednesday of the month at 6:00 p.m. between October and May.

Recruitment and Membership

In early September of each year, the Watson Institute posts announcements in Today@Brown to seek student membership. The Institute encourages applications from all undergraduate students who have some tie to life at Watson, whether as concentrators, employees, participants in study groups, or those who regularly take part in the Institute’s public events. A sub-committee of the Watson Diversity and Inclusion Committee then selects the participants.

Student members serve voluntarily for an entire academic year, with membership annually renewable throughout students’ undergraduate years.

Staff Involvement

The WSAC is convened by a group of Watson administrators seeking the guidance of students with regard to the Institute’s strategic planning. While these staff members are essential components of the WSAC’s functioning, meetings are conducted both with and without staff present in order to ensure that everyone has a chance to comfortably voice their opinions.

Meet the Staff Advisors 

Relevant Links