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 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 2024 Council Chair:

Michelle Alas Molina
Michelle Alas Molina ’25, IAPA & Latin American/Caribbean Studies

2023-2024 Watson Student Advisory Members

  • Mariana Melzer ‘26 - Vice Chair (IAPA & Economics)
  • Catharine Paik ‘25- Social Chair (IAPA & Economics)
  • Jay Philbrick ’24.5 - Treasurer (Applied Mathematics-Economics & Computer Science)
  • Leo Caplan ‘27 - Publicity Chair (Political Science & Economics)
  • Dani Poloner '24 - (IAPA)
  • Adam Meller ’25 (English & Glass)
  • Nicholas Sanzi ’24.5 (IAPA & Economics)
  • Logan Danker ’24 (IAPA & History)
  • Rachel Hecht ’25 (IAPA & Hispanic Studies)
  • Meilyn Farina ‘26 (IAPA & Latin American/Caribbean Studies)
  • Justin Meszler ‘26 (IAPA)
  • Benjamin Ringel ‘26 (IAPA & Data Science Fluency)
  • Aubrie Miller ‘26 (IAPA & Comparative Literature)
  • Nathan Seelig ‘27( IAPA & Applied Mathematics-Economics)
  • Casandra Gutierrez ’24 - DIAP Liaison


Stephen Roberts Hall

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.


Students at the Watson Institute


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.


Brown University Student

The Council meets weekly on Tuesdays at 8pm and reports out to Watson faculty and staff on a monthly basis.

Recruitment and Membership

Students at the Watson Institute, Brown University

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

Ed Steinfeld at the Watson Institute

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

Student at Brown University's Watson Institute

The Student Advisory Council Bylaws, as amended ratified in May 2022 can be found here.