Class Notes | LBJ School of Public Affairs | The University of Texas at Austin

Class Notes

LBJ Alumni Class Notes

Catch up on what our LBJ alumni are up to! To submit your own personal or professional update, contact lbjalum@austin.utexas.edu.

December 2018Irvin Ashford, Jr. ('94) is being inducted into the University of Dallas Satish & Yasmin Gupta College of Business Hall of Fame for 2019! Irvin currently serves as senior vice president for public affairs and director of community development and external affairs for Comerica Bank. He attended The Webb School and Oberlin College, and earned a Master of Business Administration from the University of Dallas and a Master of Public Affairs degree from The LBJ School of Public Affairs. He says, "LBJ gave me my professional start, so I never want to forget that." Read more about his career.

September 2018Stephanie Chiarello Noppenberg ('08) is a policy adviser for a state senator, but in her free time, she's a comedian. Stephanie created, hosts, and directs a political comedy satire show called "Over the Lege," which focuses solely on the Texas Legislature. It's a little "SNL" meets "The Colbert Report" meets musical theater. "Over the Lege" will be at the Long Center in October, and tickets can be purchased here.

This year's guests include:

  • Friday Oct. 12 - Former Sen. Wendy Davis
  • Saturday Oct. 13 – Mike Collier (candidate for lieutenant governor)
  • Sunday Oct. 14 - Sen. Kirk Watson

Stephanie is a Class of 2008 graduate of the LBJ School, was the GPAC president, and has spent the last 10 years in a variety of policy and political positions, including serving as the executive director of the Senate Democratic Caucus for four years.​

August 2018Charles Hansen ('95) has some big personal and professional news to share. After 33 years working in and around the federal government in Washington, DC, Charles is changing careers. For the 2018-19 school year, he will begin teaching at Glasgow Middle School, which is part of the Fairfax County (Virginia) Public School system. He will be teaching mathematics (Pre-Algebra) to 7th and 8th graders. He is beyond thrilled to begin this new adventure! If you’d like to follow along, his Twitter handle is @CharlesMHansen.

September 2017Jason Batchelor ('04) has been named Aurora Interim City Manager in Aurora, Colorado. Batchelor has served as deputy city manager since 2015 and is also the city's former Finance Department director.

September 2017Bina Lefkovitz ('86) was inducted as the new Trustee for Area 1 for the Sacramento County Board of Education on Aug. 25, 2017.

August/September 2017Stephanie Chiarello Noppenberg ('08) currently works as district director and senior policy analyst for Sen. Kirk Watson here in Austin.

But in her spare time she directs a live political satire comedy variety show based on the shenanigans of the Texas Legislature called "Over the Lege." It runs for eight shows — Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m., from Sept. 8 through Sept. 30. It plays at the Institution Theater.

Celebrity guests this year include:

Aug. 29 — Rep. Celia Israel
Sept. 8 – Rep. Donna Howard
Sept. 9 – Rep. Eddie Rodriguez
Sept. 15 – TDP's Cliff Walker
Sept. 16 – TX21 Indivisible's Jason Sugg
Sept. 22 – ATPE's Monty Exter
Sept. 23 – Author Sarah Bird
Sept. 29 – Sen. Kirk Watson

June 2017Alan Thomas ('94) was sworn in as commissioner, Federal Acquisition Service, US General Services Administration.

May 2017Kristen (Ruhnke) Sunny (MGPS'14) married her high-school sweetheart, Robin Sunny, in Dallas. Congratulations Kristen and Sunny!

March 2017Sumant Singh ('15) is serving as secretary of the Department of Rural Development and Local Governance in Manipur, India — a northeastern Himalayan state.

March 2017Shamina Singh ('97) participated in a panel on "Disrupting Global Hunger: Moonshots for Humanity" during SXSW 2017.

February/March 2017 - Martha Bohrt (MPAff '16), Ellen Scholl (MGPS '15), and Rachel Hoff (MGPS '14) were selected as 3 of 30 American, German and European fellows to participate in the Atlantic Expedition, a fellowship and exchange program organized by Atlantische Initiative in Dresden, Hamburg and Berlin, Germany. They networked and discussed ideas for modernizing transatlantic relations with political leaders. They didn't know that the other had applied or were selected but were pleasantly surprised to see such a strong LBJ School presence.

January 2017Norris Cochran ('95) served as acting secretary of The Department of Health and Human Services from Jan. 20 to Feb. 10.

January 2017Len Redding ('72) came to visit and had lunch with a small group of students and staff. Len recounted stories of his time as a student and shared photos of a visit to the LBJ Ranch.

January 2017 — Congratulations to Rachel Hoff ('14) on her engagement to Kate Meck on Jan. 15. Their engagement made the Politico Playbook on Jan. 17, 2017.

January 2017Ben Isgur ('98) was named director of the Health Research Institute at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

January 2017John Anthony Martin ('14) was sworn in on Jan. 3 as a Hillsboro City Councilor in Hillsboro, Oregon.

December 2016Fernando Rodriguez ('05) (LAS '99), Drew Nelson ('03) (LAS '03) and Jonathan Banks (LAS '94) helped organized an upstream methane abatement workshop for the oil and gas sector for Mexican regulators and industry officials in Mexico City on Dec. 15. (Below left to right: Rodriguez, an international affairs specialist at the Office of American Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy; Nelson, senior manager — Natural Gas for Environmental Defense Fund; and Banks, senior climate policy adviser at Clean Air Task Force).

December 2016Adam Torres ('14) (LAS '14) made it on "NPR's All Songs Considered: The year in music in 2016" list. Torres' "Juniper Arms" also made NPR's top 100 songs of 2016, alongside songs by well-known artists like Radiohead and Beyoncé. You can watch his NPR Tiny Desk Concert.

December 2016Shamina Singh ('97) was named the global sustainability lead of Mastercard.

October 2016 — The Texas State Board of Education Vice Chair Thomas Ratliff ('94) received the Golden Deeds Award, considered the most coveted award in the field of Texas education and the highest recognition for distinguished service to education in the state. Ratliff created a video message for the award presentation as he wasn't able to attend.