Alumni Board Members | LBJ School of Public Affairs | The University of Texas at Austin

Alumni Board Members

LBJ School Alumni Board

2017-18 Executive Committee

President  Josh Levine
President-elect – Lauren Oertel
Recognition Committee Chair – Lauren Oertel
Outreach Committee Chair – Greg Conte
Career Committee Chair – Christine Gendron
Giving Committee Chair – Christopher Bjornson
Nominating & Governance Chair – Josh Levine
Past President  Jennifer Poulakidas 

Members

Ariel Anib (MGPS '15) is a sixth-year Spanish teacher, currently teaching at Raytown High School. She has taught in private schools, charter schools and public schools in Mexico, Texas and Missouri. In the summer of 2014, Ariel also served as a director of a summer school in the Dominican Republic through the DREAM Project. This internship allowed her to see how policy affects program implementation. She received her master’s in Global Policy Studies at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin. Before attending graduate school, Anib was awarded the Fulbright grant allowing her to teach English at a university in Guanajuato, México. While in México, she taught university and community classes and started an English conversation club composed of students and faculty. Though Ariel is teaching full time, she is also obtaining her Master’s in Education from Rockhurst University.

Christopher Bjornson (MPAff '96) is Of Counsel with Steptoe & Johnson, LLP, practicing communications regulatory law. He co-chairs the Federal Communications Bar Association’s Access to Government Committee; serves as a member of the advisory board for the Bill Archer Center of the University of Texas System; is a member of the Texas Chancellor's Council; and coordinates the Texas State Society’s annual tribute to Lyndon B. Johnson, honoring the president’s birthday. He twice served as president of the Washington Area LBJ School Alumni Chapter (WALSAC).

Dan Casey (MPAff '76) is a partner in the Austin-based consulting firm Moak, Casey & Associates. He has 40 years of experience in education and public finance issues. Casey has held positions as research director for the State Comptroller’s Office, senior economist and budget examiner for the Legislative Budget Board, staff director for the Senate Finance Committee, director of the Legislative Education Board, and associate executive director for the Texas Association of School Boards. In his consulting practice over the last 20 years, Casey has worked with many individual school districts on revenue issues, property value limitations and other economic development issues, as well as several school district organizations, including the Texas School Alliance and the Fast Growth School Coalition. He is an honors graduate of the University of Michigan and holds a Master of Public Affairs degree from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs of The University of Texas at Austin.

Greg Conte (MPAff/MBA '16) serves as a team leader with the Texas Comptroller’s Office, managing the implementation and maintenance of the state’s financial transparency initiatives. Prior to his current position with the state, Greg worked in various roles in both the public and private sectors, including at Austin’s Office of the City Auditor and at Deloitte as a public-sector consultant. Originally from Boston, he moved to Texas while on active duty in the U.S. Army and has since developed a strong admiration for the state’s charm, inclusiveness and pride. He loves returning to New England when he can, although he now considers the Lone Star State his home. Greg received his B.A from Boston University in 2006, earned an M.S. in Intelligence and National Security Studies from UT-El Paso in 2012, and graduated from UT Austin in 2016 earning his MPAff and MBA concurrently.

Theresa M. Gage (MPAff '01) was named vice president of external affairs and corporate communications of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) in January 2015. She oversees internal and external corporate communications, government relations and client services for the independent electric system operator. Theresa joined ERCOT as government relations manager in 2006. In 2010, she was promoted to director of corporate communications. She has 15 years of experience in the electric power industry. She previously served as the director of governmental relations at the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) and served as a policy analyst for the Texas Senate Economic Development Committee. She has also worked on insurance and consumer issues for Texas Watch, a non-partisan advocacy group. She started her career covering Arkansas and Texas politics for the Texarkana Gazette. Theresa graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Journalism and earned a Master of Public Affairs degree from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs.

Christine Gendron (MPAff '08) serves as the executive director of Texas Network of Youth Services (TNOYS), a statewide network with the mission to strengthen services for Texas youth and their families. She serves as a resource for policymakers, service providers and philanthropists looking to make investments to improve outcomes for young people. Prior to becoming executive director of TNOYS, Gendron worked as a senior research associate at the LBJ School’s Center for Health and Social Policy, where she managed evaluations of several innovative state-funded initiatives to promote child well-being through the child support and health and human services systems. She received her master’s degree in Public Affairs from the LBJ School in 2008 and her bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in women’s studies from Texas A&M University in 2006. She grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Austin, Texas with her fiancé, Ben.

Josh Levine (MPAff '12) is president of the LBJ School Alumni Board and a proud member of the LBJ School class of 2012. Josh’s main policy interests include higher education and public finance; he is currently focusing on issues of student mobility and university financial sustainability. A native of Dallas, Josh lives in New York, where he is the lead credit analyst for public higher education, Texas, and the Southeastern United States on Lord Abbett’s fixed-income team. Prior to that, he served as lead analyst at Moody’s Investors Service, where he wrote the methodology for analyzing community college bonds and worked with issuers of tax-exempt securities in the higher education, health care and local government sectors. Levine’s LBJ Policy Research Project was on government transparency and accountability, and he also collaborated on a book chapter dealing with burdens of proof in sports doping cases. He received his undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University.

Stephen M. Niemeyer (MPAff '92), P.E., has worked for more than 25 years on U.S.-Mexico border environmental issues at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, where he is the border affairs manager and colonias coordinator. From 2005 to 2012, he represented the state of Texas on the Good Neighbor Environmental Board, an advisory board to the president and Congress on border environmental and infrastructure issues. Steve holds a B.S. in chemistry from The University of Texas at San Antonio and a Master of Public Affairs from the Lyndon B Johnson School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin. He is also registered as a professional engineer in Texas.

Lindsay Ochoa (MPAff '14) works in Washington, DC as a human services research analyst at Mathematica Policy Research. In this role, she contributes to policy research on early childhood, family support, employment, education and teen pregnancy prevention conducted on behalf of federal, non-federal and foundation clients. Prior to working at Mathematica, she held positions at Hanover Research and Texas Education Agency (TEA). Ochoa graduated from the LBJ School with her Master of Public Affairs in 2014. During her time at LBJ she worked as an academic mentor for the UT Athletic Department and served as GPAC’s student life director and follies co-chair. She received her Bachelor of Arts in political science and English literature from Texas A&M University. She currently resides in Baltimore and in her free time she enjoys traveling, watching college football and eating at new restaurants. She is also the current president of the LBJ DC Area Alumni Association (LBJ DCA).

Lauren Oertel (MGPS '12) completed a Master of Global Policy Studies from the LBJ School in 2012 where she focused on sustainable development and Latin America. In September 2011, she started working at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) in the border affairs division, and has continued working for the state of Texas full-time in the Water Quality Planning Division of the TCEQ, making Austin a permanent home. Her hobbies include: dancing, traveling, reading, event planning, working on her house and jewelry making.

Jennifer Poulakidas (MPAff '91) is vice president for congressional and governmental affairs at the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU), where she works closely with the leadership of APLU’s more than 220 member universities to promote public higher education’s positions in Washington, DC on science and research, student access and success, innovation and competitiveness, and internationalization, among other issues. Before APLU, Poulakidas was legislative director for science at the University of California’s DC office. A San Francisco native, she began her career in Washington serving as a legislative aide to Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Before moving to DC, she worked for Shipley & Associates on Texas State Senate campaigns in Houston and San Angelo. Poulakidas’s extracurricular pursuits include involvement with her alma maters. She is engaged with the Washington, DC area alumni networks for UCLA (undergrad) and the LBJ School, as well as the LBJ Washington Center Steering Committee.

Wade Tanner (MPAff '16) graduated from the LBJ School in 2016 with a Master of Public Affairs. He currently works as an analyst on the natural resources & environment team for the U.S. Government Accountability Office. He previously held positions with several immigration law firms, assisting individuals, families, and companies with their immigration needs. Tanner also serves as the president of the LBJ D.C. Alumni Chapter.

Noah Wright (MPAff '15) is a performance analyst at the Public Safety Office, a grant administration unit located within the Office of the Governor of Texas. There he supervises and implements the multi-year redesign of the performance assessment process for their $350M annual grant portfolio. This portfolio includes dozens of state and federal funding security preparedness, and combat child sex trafficking. Prior to his current position, he worked in education and served as an Americorps VISTA, where he planned academic enrichment programs for a college access nonprofit in St. Louis. A native of Terre Haute, Indiana, earned his Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School in 2015 and has lived in Austin since 2011. Wright also serves as the president of the LBJ Austin Area Alumni Chapter.

Ex-Officio Members

  • Angela Evans, LBJ School Dean 
  • Chandler Stolp, Faculty Representative
  • Amanda Mendez, LBJ School Alumni Relations Coordinator
  • Molly Adler, Graduate Public Affairs Council
  • Heather Correia (MPAff '13), Dallas Alumni Chapter 
  • Isabel Nart (MPAff '80), Houston Alumni Chapter
  • Rebecca De La Garza (MPAff '13), San Antonio Chapter