Archer Center Faculty
Dr. Michelle Chin (Ph.D., Texas A&M University) teaches The Policymaking Process class for the Archer Fellowship Program, a course she has taught since September 2014. In addition to serving as the academic director for the Archer Center, she also holds an appointment as clinical associate professor in the Hobson Wildenthal Honors College at The University of Texas at Dallas. With Dr. Swerdlow, she oversees the internships for Undergraduate and Graduate Archer Fellows and supervises the Archer Center Independent Study and Research class for the Graduate Archer Fellowship Program. Dr. Chin brings to the classroom over 20 years of experience as a congressional policy advisor, political scientist and educator. Her research has been published in the Journal of Politics, American Politics Review, and Electoral Studies.
Dr. John Daly (Ph.D., Purdue University) teaches the Advocacy and Politics class for the Archer Fellowship Program, a course he has taught since the program’s inaugural class in spring 2001. He is the Liddell Centennial Professor of Communication, University Distinguished Teaching Professor, and TCB Professor of Management at The University of Texas at Austin, as well as a University of Texas System Distinguished Teaching Professor. Dr. Daly's interests focus on practical ways of improving the communication skills of individuals. Thus, he has examined topics such as shyness, personality difference in communication, communication difficulties people experience in their personal and professional relationships, influence and advocacy skills, and interpersonal behavior in organizations. He has authored more than 100 scholarly articles, served as editor of two academic journals, and produced more than a dozen books including "Advocacy: Championing Ideas and Influencing Others" (Yale University Press), and the "Handbook of Interpersonal Communication" (SAGE). He has also consulted with numerous organizations across the world, both public and private, on communication-related issues. He has worked in numerous political campaigns and with many local, state, and federal agencies including the White House. While at UT Austin, Dr. Daly has been the winner of every campus-wide undergraduate teaching award.
Dr. Joel Swerdlow (Ph.D., Cornell University) teaches The Politics of National Memory class for the Undergraduate Archer Fellowship Program, and the Archer Plus class for the Graduate Archer Fellowship Program. With Dr. Chin, he also oversees the internships for Undergraduate and Graduate Archer Fellows. Dr. Joel Swerdlow is a full professor in the Hobson Wildenthal Honors College at The University of Texas at Dallas, and has worked with the Archer Center since 2006. Dr. Swerdlow has a long career as an author, editor, journalist, researcher, and educator. A senior writer and editor at National Geographic for ten years, his published works include "To Heal a Nation: The Story of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial", and "So As I Was Saying…My Somewhat Eventful Life", with Frank Mankiewicz. He was a senior fellow and director of programs and publications at the Washington Annenberg Program. His work, which reaches both academic and popular audiences in the United States and abroad, focuses on a range of scientific, technological and public policy issues.
William (Bill) Shute (J.D., University of Houston; B.A., The University of Texas at Austin) teaches the Inside Washington: Policymaking from the Ground Up class for the Graduate Archer Fellowship Program. Professor Shute is a government relations expert, executive management professional, high-tech start-up advisor, and podcast creator/host with thirty-two years of experience working in and around the federal government. He is currently chair of the Scholars Advisory Board for Dome Compass, Inc., a non-partisan mobile platform for federal policymakers and the creator and host of the podcast, 80-Proof Politics – Distilling the Art of Advocacy (www.80ProofPolitics.com). Shute was most recently an executive officer with The University of Texas System, serving as vice chancellor for federal relations for eighteen years where he lead the System’s Office of Federal Relations. Before joining the UT System in September, 2001, Shute spent eleven years as executive director of 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, he was legislative assistant to former Member of Congress Bob Whittaker and was responsible for several Commerce Committee and Judiciary Committee issues. Shute is a member of the State Bar of Texas having attained his J.D. from the University of Houston and a B.A. degree with honors from The University of Texas at Austin. He also serves as an adjunct professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs Washington Center.
Rosaline Cohen is a lecturer at the Archer Center where she supervises Graduate Archer Fellows in the National Security and Global Affairs Policy Working Group. For over twenty years, Professor Cohen has established herself as a trusted thought leader on homeland and national security matters and Congress. Since May 2007, she has served as chief counsel to Chairman Bennie G. Thompson and the Democrats on the Committee on Homeland Security. In this capacity, she develops and advances the policy priorities of Committee Democrats and the Democratic Caucus. Professor Cohen manages a diverse professional staff of policy experts and attorneys through all phases of the policymaking process on issues ranging from counterterrorism and acquisitions to cybersecurity and infrastructure protection to border and immigration. In the course of carrying out her duties, she collaborates with House leadership, Republican committee staff, House and Senate staff on other committees, the Executive Branch, and private sector stakeholders. Prior to joining the Committee on Homeland Security staff, Cohen worked for U.S. Representative Louise M. Slaughter (D-NY) and former U.S. Representative Ken Bentsen (D-TX), where she managed a broad portfolio of issues that included committee work House Budget Committee (2000-2002) and House Select Committee on Homeland Security and House Rules Committee (2002-2005). Professor Cohen holds a J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center (1999) and a B.A. from The Elliot School of International Affairs at the George Washington University (1994).
Dr. Aaron Conrado is a lecturer at the Archer Center where he leads discussion sections in Dr. Joel Swerdlow’s Politics of National Memory class. Dr. Conrado is currently a Science and Technology Policy Fellow at The American Association for the Advancement of Science. In this role, he supports the Office of Stability and Humanitarian Affairs at the Department of Defense, working on peacekeeping policy, including UN reform, improving performance, and building partner capacity. As a Graduate Archer Fellow in the summer of 2018, Dr. Conrado interned at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, where he worked on policy topics such as STEM education, GMOs, AI, biomedical research, and biosecurity. Dr. Conrado holds a B.S. in microbiology from The University of Oklahoma, and a Ph.D. in microbiology and molecular biology from The University of Texas at Austin. He has also published several peer-reviewed scientific research papers focusing on horizontal gene transfer in Vibrio cholerae.
Allison Dembeck is a lecturer at the Archer Center where she supervises Graduate Archer Fellows in the Education Policy Working Group. Professor Dembeck is the vice president of education and labor advocacy in the Government Affairs Division at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, focusing on education, labor, and workforce development issues. Before coming to the Chamber in September 2012, Dembeck was the education, labor, pensions, and welfare policy analyst on the Senate Republican Policy Committee—first under the chairmanship of Sen. John Thune (R-SD) and then under the chairmanship of Sen. John Barasso (R-WY). Previously, she spent several years as a legislative assistant for Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), handling education, labor, pension, and child and family issues. She also was manager of government relations for Ceridian Corporation, focusing on pension, health care, and payroll compliance. In addition, Dembeck did two stints with the House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce—the first during former Speaker of the House John Boehner’s (R-OH) tenure as committee chairman and the second under Rep. John Kline (R-MN). She has an M.A. from The George Washington University and a B.A. from Binghamton University-State University of New York (SUNY).
Dr. Neetha Devdas is a lecturer with the Archer Center where she works on incoming orientation trainings, as well as ongoing psychoeducational presentations for Archer Fellows. Dr. Devdas is also a lecturer in the Hobson Wildenthal Honors College at The University of Texas at Dallas, teaching undergraduate Introduction to Psychology and Abnormal Psychology. Dr. Devdas has been licensed in Texas as a psychologist since 2012 and has a private therapy practice, Devdas Psychological Services. Her past research and current clinical interests are in the field of trauma psychology, with a special interest in South Asian American populations. Dr. Devdas holds a B.S. in speech-language pathology and audiology from The University of Texas at Dallas, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Texas Woman’s University.
Diedra Henry-Spires is a lecturer at the Archer Center where she supervises Undergraduate Archer Fellows in Dr. Chin’s Policymaking Process class and Graduate Archer Fellows in the Health Policy Working Group. Since 2015, Professor Henry-Spires has been a frequent guest lecturer with the Archer Center. In 2021, she was appointed to serve as the senior advisor for COVID Relief Programs to the Administrator at the Small Business Administration. Prior to joining the Small Business Administration, she was chief executive officer of the Dalton Daley Group and also served as a professional staff member for Human Services and Income Security for the United States Senate Committee on Finance. Professor Henry-Spires began her tenure at the Senate Finance Committee in 2006 as a Brookings Institution LEGIS Fellow. She has extensive experience with the legislative process in the United States Congress and experience in collaborating with federal, state, and local governments and organizations. As a member of the Committee's Health Team, she is credited as one of the architects of the Affordable Care Act and with the expansion of unemployment benefits and work supports during the great recession. Ms. Henry-Spires also served for 10 years at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where she was the principal public health advisor on Violence Against Women for the Office on Women’s Health and as such developed national policies in violence against women, HIV/AIDS, and young women’s health. Ms. Henry-Spires is a Pennsylvania State University graduate holding a B.S. in health policy and administration. She also attended Hinksey Institute on Economics, Torbay, and Oxford, England, and was awarded certification from the Harvard University – John F. Kennedy School of Government: Shaping the Healthcare Delivery System.
Shema Mbyirukira (em BEER ru keera) is a lecturer at the Archer Center where he leads discussion sections in Dr. Joel Swerdlow’s Politics of National Memory class. As associate general counsel for Verizon’s business group, Professor Mbyirukira advises product, contracting, and information technology organizations on government cybersecurity and privacy regulations and standards. Prior to joining Verizon, Professor Mbyirukira held various positions in Deloitte’s Federal Cybersecurity and Practice and Ernst & Young’s Technology Risk Services Group. Professor Mbyirukira also practiced as a corporate attorney, specializing in insurance litigation and international trade compliance. Throughout his career, Professor Mbyirukira has been active in criminal justice reform. While in law school, he worked with the Center for Death Penalty Litigation and, most recently helped to launch Verizon’s Criminal Justice Reform Pro Bono Program, where he is currently working on re-sentencing cases for children sentenced to life in prison without parole. Professor Mbyirukira holds B.S. degrees in computer science and accounting from Birmingham Southern College, and a J.D. from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
John Kane is a lecturer at the Archer Center where he supervises Undergraduate Archer Fellows in Dr. Chin’s Policymaking Process class and Graduate Archer Fellows in the General Domestic Policy Working Group. A frequent guest lecturer with The Archer Center since 2014, Mr. Kane is the senior government affairs advisor and a minority senior professional staffer for Senator Carper (D-DE) on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. He has also worked on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs and the Special Committee on Aging. A graduate of Vassar College (B.A., sociology), Mr. Kane has over 15 years of private sector and government experience working for both Republicans and Democrats in Congress.
Stuart Portman is a lecturer at the Archer Center where he supervises Graduate Archer Fellows in the Health Policy Working Group. Professor Portman serves as senior health policy advisor on the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, minority staff. In this capacity, he handles all policies related to Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and in the past has led policy development on issues related to the Affordable Care Act’s individual marketplace, health taxes, and health information technology. Previously, he served as the senior healthcare legislative assistant and legislative correspondent for Senator Orrin G. Hatch, where he focused on Medicaid, Food and Drug Administration-related policies, and issues affecting individuals with disabilities. A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Portman received his Master of Public Health degree specializing in health policy from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at The George Washington University and his bachelor’s degree in biology and political science from the University of Denver.
Sue Ramanathan (Rah-ma-nah-thun) is a lecturer at the Archer Center where she supervises Undergraduate Archer Fellows in Dr. Chin’s Policymaking Process class, and Graduate Archer Fellows in the National Security and Global Affairs Policy Working Group. Professor Ramanathan is a strategy and policy advisor with over 20 years of congressional and executive branch experience. In the U.S. Senate, she served on the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee as an advisor on a variety of homeland security and technology related issues. She has also served as the chief counsel and deputy staff director of the House Committee on Homeland Security. In her congressional career, Professor Ramanathan worked with several members of Congress including Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), Representative Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Representative Jim Turner (D-TX), and Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA). In addition to her extensive congressional experience, Professor Ramanathan served eight years as a deputy assistant secretary and counselor to the Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security (2009-2017) for Secretary Jeh Johnson and Secretary Janet Napolitano. She also worked as a senior analyst at the U.S. Government Accountability Office on projects evaluating the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Professor Ramanathan has earned degrees from the Georgetown University Law Center (LLM), Rutgers Law School (J.D.) and Rutgers College (B.A.). Professor Ramanathan is on leave for summer 2021.
Josh Rushing is a lecturer at the Archer Center where he leads discussion sections in Dr. Joel Swerdlow’s Politics of National Memory class. A popular guest lecturer with the Archer Center for over five years, Professor Rushing is a seasoned journalist with nearly 30 years of experience in communication. He is a founding member of Al Jazeera English (AJE), which reaches 380 million homes in more than 100 countries, and is currently senior correspondent and host of AJE’s award-winning investigative documentary show, Fault Lines. As a U.S. Marine (1990-2004), Professor Rushing played a critical role in the invasion of Iraq as the hand-picked, on-air spokesperson for U.S. Central Command Forward. His appearance in the award-winning documentary film, Control Room, also sparked a national discussion about the role of media in war. A native of Lewisville, Texas, Professor Rushing earned a B.A. in ancient history and classical civilization at The University of Texas at Austin. He has also trained in leadership and warfighting at The Basic School, Quantico; and completed public affairs and journalism training at The Defense Information School. Professor Rushing is on leave for the Spring 2021 semester.
Becky Shipp is a lecturer at the Archer Center where she supervises Undergraduate Archer Fellows in Dr. Chin’s Policymaking Process class, and Graduate Archer Fellows in the Health/Healthcare Working Group. A frequent guest lecturer with the Archer Center since 2015, Ms. Shipp is vice president at The Sheridan Group, a public policy advocacy and consulting firm. Prior to joining The Sheridan Group, Ms. Shipp served as lead negotiator and policy advisor for the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee on health and human service issues under both Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-IA) and Chairman Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT). In this role, Ms. Shipp worked directly with Members of Congress, including House and Senate Committee Chairs and Leadership, as well as White House officials, on health and social impact financing and human services policies. She also managed a series of diverse and bipartisan coalitions of health and human services stakeholders, including Committee and Leadership staff, think tanks, advocacy organizations, Administration officials and state groups to advance legislation and get that legislation enacted into law. Ms. Shipp holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and master’s degrees from the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop and Boston University. She is also a published poet who has taught literature and writing at the University of Iowa, Northeastern University, and Boston College.