The full picture: LBJ alums tackle the COVID-19 crisis from all sides | LBJ School of Public Affairs | The University of Texas at Austin

Wes and Savin Ven Johnson attended the LBJ School of Public Affairs and graduated from the MGPS program in 2012. "We were the weird couple who decided to go back to grad school together and were so excited," Savin said. "We sat in the front row, holding hands, raising our hands for everything." Wes completed his internship in Haiti through the Meadows Scholars program at the RGK Center. Wes is now a senior change management officer at International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Savin works at Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as the deputy director of the Office of Resilience Integration and Coordination.

The COVID-19 crisis is impacting the world in two major ways, Wes explains. "There's the 'disease itself, which causes illness, hospitalizations and death. In this part, the focus is on the response, including testing people for infection and vaccine development. The other impact is the global economic fallout from the disease, including people out of work and businesses closed. And both disproportionately impact the world's vulnerable populations," he said. Wes works with the IMF to address the economic impact of the pandemic, while Savin works in the response piece of this crisis in her role with FEMA. (NOTE: Savin Ven Johnson moved to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in June 2021, continuing her public service as a deputy director.)


The RGK Center takes a closer look at how these two alums are helping with COVID-19 response worldwide.