Staff Biographies

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Bill Shute has led the Office of Federal Relations since September 2001.  Before joining the UT System, he spent eleven years as Executive Director – Federal Relations for SBC Telecommunications, Inc.  He also worked as Senior Vice President in the government relations firm R. Duffy Wall & Associates and was a Legal Fellow for the National Association of Broadcasters.  Prior to working for SBC, Bill was Legislative Assistant to former Member of Congress Bob Whittaker and was responsible for several Commerce Committee and Judiciary Committee issues.  Bill holds a B.A. with honors from the University of Texas at Austin, a J.D. from the University of Houston, and is a member of the State Bar of Texas.  He is a Past President of the Texas State Society and was Chairman and organizer of the highly successful 2005 Black Tie & Boots Inaugural Ball.

Angela Godby joined the OFR team in 2003 as an Assistant Vice Chancellor for Federal Relations to advocate on behalf of the UT System’s six health institutions.  In 2010, Angela assumed the role of Associate Vice Chancellor for Federal Relations where she advances the federal priorities of all 15 UT System institutions. Prior to working for the UT System, Angela served on the staff of U.S. Rep. Henry Bonilla from 1995 – 2003. In her position as Bonilla’s Legislative Director, Angela served as the Congressman’s key House Appropriations Committee liaison.  A native Austinite, Angela holds a B.B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin and a J.D. from Southern Methodist University School of Law.  Angela is a member of the State Bar of Texas and the District of Columbia Bar Association.

Dr. Tom Jacobs, Associate Vice Chancellor for Federal Relations, is focused on aligning the research priorities between UT scientists and the NIH, NSF and other federal agencies. He has broad scientific program expertise as the NIH Program Director for stroke, brain cancer, neuroimaging and the pulmonary circulation that spanned a 24-year tenure. Dr. Jacobs’ experience in basic, translational and clinical research also includes extensive knowledge of NIH peer review, training, diversity and small business programs.  Prior to his NIH experience, Tom received his doctoral degree from the University of Maryland in Physiology. He was a faculty member at the Uniformed Service University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) in Bethesda, MD where his research focused on mechanisms of central nervous system injury in stroke/trauma. He has contributed over 50 peer-reviewed publications. 

Dr. Michelle Atchison joined as an Associate Vice Chancellor for Federal Relations and leads relations for the University of Texas System with the Department of Defense, focusing on research and collaborative opportunities.  Before joining the UT System, Michelle served nearly ten years in leadership positions with Lockheed Martin Corporation focused Strategic Partnerships for Research and Development across the corporation, DOD and Federal Laboratories. Michelle served in Air Force for 27 years.  Her technical duties included: Chief, Science and Technology (S&T) Division, USJFCOM Experimentation; Chief Scientist for Air Force Experimentation Office and Science Advisor for the Air Force Command and Control, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Center.  Michelle was Commander, 48th Services Squadron; Chief, Strategic Requirements Branch, USCENTCOM leading the Theater Strategy Working Group- implementing 80 foreign military international programs.  As a Congressional Affairs and International Political - Military Officer she: developed a major restructuring of the Civil Air Patrol, provided a comprehensive review resulting in a restructuring of the Air Force education processes; and developed formal education requirements for Project Capstone at the National Defense University, designed to prepare General officers for command positions.  She currently serves as an Advisor to the Federal Laboratory Consortium and several Universities.  Michelle received her Bachelor’s degree from UCLA, a Master’s degree from Catholic University, and her Doctorate from George Washington University. 

Allison Roberts joined the Office of Federal Relations over six years ago having studied at two University of Texas System campuses.  Allison is a native of Odessa, TX and started her studies at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin.  Allison went on to graduate from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Government and a minor in Business.  While in Austin, Allison worked with the Texas Senate Sergeant at Arms and with the Office of Senator John Cornyn.  She currently represents UT System institutions as a Coordinator for Federal Relations advocating for their federal priorities.  Allison is a proud lifetime member of the Texas Exes, and is an active member of their Washington, DC Chapter. She also serves on the Texas State Society Board as the National Conference of State Societies Chair.

Valerie Hardy, Administrative Coordinator for Federal Relations, joined the University of Texas System over ten years ago. Upon joining the Office of Federal Relations, she played a key role in assisting with implementation for developments in opening the Washington, DC office. Prior to joining  OFR, Valerie served as an Executive Assistant for Wexler & Walker Public Policy Associates, one of the oldest lobbying firms in Washington. She has intimate knowledge of Capitol Hill, along with the members and procedures, having spent five years working at the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee. Valerie is a graduate of  the Washington School for Business. An active Washington, DC native, Valerie is heavily involved in community events, working with local charity events and her church. Valerie is a strong advocate for foster care and animal abuse prevention.