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Faculty Experts Guide for 2015 Texas Legislative Session

As lawmakers convene to tackle complex issues for the state, experts at The University of Texas at Austin can provide rich commentary and insight based on years of research and work in the field.

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As lawmakers convene to tackle complex issues for the state, experts at The University of Texas at Austin can provide rich commentary and insight based on years of research and work in the field. Journalists covering the Legislature and Texas government can contact the following professors to discuss issues in these areas of concern to the Legislature:

If you are seeking expertise on other subjects, please call University Media Relations at 512-471-3151 or consult our general Media Experts Guide.

Criminal Justice


Michele Deitch
Senior Lecturer of Public Affairs and Law
512-328-8330, 512-296-7212, michele.deitch@austin.utexas.edu
Deitch is an attorney with more than 23 years of experience working on criminal justice policy issues with state and local government officials, corrections officials, judges and advocates. Most of Deitch’s current research focuses on independent prison oversight and the management of juvenile offenders.

Jennifer Laurin
Professor of Law
512-232-3627, jlaurin@law.utexas.edu
Laurin’s primary research interests lie at the intersections of criminal and constitutional litigation and regulation of criminal justice institutions. She can speak about capital punishment, civil rights and criminal justice as well as federal civil rights litigation.

Scott McCown
Clinical Professor of Law
Director of the Children’s Rights Clinic

512-232-1129, smccown@law.utexas.edu
For more than a decade, McCown presided over a state district court of general jurisdiction, hearing a broad range of civil cases. An expert on child welfare, McCown also served as executive director of the Center for Public Policy Priorities, a nonpartisan, nonprofit policy institute working to address the challenges of low-income Texas children and families.

Jane Maxwell
Senior Research Professor at the Center for Social Work Research
512-232-0610, jcmaxwell@mail.utexas.edu
Maxwell is a national expert on substance abuse trends in Texas and the U.S. She is one of 21 epidemiologists in the country who report substance abuse trends for a work group established by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. She was formerly chief of research at the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse.

Cyber Security and Identity Protection


Dawna Ballard
Associate Professor of Communication Studies
Faculty Affiliate at the Center for Identity and Center for Health Communication

512-471-1946, dballard@austin.utexas.edu
An expert in the study of chronemics time as it is bound to human communication Ballard studies attention management, communication overload, mobile communication technologies (including mobile wallet use), and tradeoffs between convenience and security. She researches what drives our pace of life and its impact on the communication practices of organizations, communities, and individuals.

Suzanne Barber
Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Director of the Center for Identity

512-471-6152, sbarber@identity.utexas.edu
Barber directs the Center for Identity, which delivers high-quality discoveries, applications, education and outreach in identity management, privacy and security. The center’s public resource effort is funded by the Texas Legislature, the largest state-level investment in identity theft protection in the country. Barber is an expert on cyber trust, cyber security, agent-based systems and software engineering.

William Bard
Senior Lecturer of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Center for Identity Faculty Affiliate

512- 471-4802, w.bard@mail.utexas.edu
As deputy director of UT Austin’s Computation Center and the director of the UT System Office of Telecommunication Services, Bard is responsible for computer networking at UT Austin and the UT System-wide networks. He is also chair of the Greater Austin Area Telecommunications network and the associate director of UT’s Center for Telecommunications and Digital Signal Processing Research.

Matthew McGlone
Associate Professor of Communication Studies
Center for Identity Faculty Affiliate

512-471-1920, matthew_mcglone@mail.utexas.edu
A researcher at UT Austin’s Center for Identity, McGlone works to study and educate the public on identity management and protection. McGlone also investigates the cognitive, cultural, and psychological foundations of interpersonal communication and persuasion.

Energy and the Environment


Michelle Foss
Chief Energy Economist and Head of the Center for Energy Economics of the Bureau of Economic Geology
713-654-5400, michelle.foss@beg.utexas.edu
Foss has 29 years’ experience in energy and environmental research and consulting in the U.S. and abroad. She can discuss oil and gas prices, liquified natural gas (LNG) and utility markets, as well as applied energy economics, business development and business-government relationships across energy value chains.
Cliff Frohlich

Cliff Frohlich
Associate Director and Senior Research Scientist of the Institute for Geophysics
512-471-0460, 512-471-6156, cliff@ig.utexas.edu
Frohlich is a seismologist with an enduring interest in deep earthquakes, Texas earthquakes, moonquakes and the statistical analysis of earthquake catalogs. Frohlich is well known for his research into the correlation between injection wells and small earthquakes in the Barnett Shale region of Texas.

Susan Hovorka
Senior Research Scientist of the Bureau of Economic Geology
512-471-4863, 512-619-2194, susan.hovorka@beg.utexas.edu
Hovorka is an expert on carbon capture and storage, as well as topics related to water quality protection, waste storage and reservoir characterization. Her current research focuses on the assessment of effectiveness of subsurface geologic sequestration of CO2 as a mechanism for reducing atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions.

Jorge Piñon
Director of the Latin America and Caribbean Energy Program
Interim Director of the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy

512-232-4988, 305-926-6910, jrpinon@austin.utexas.edu
Piñon has testified before the Texas Senate and Texas House of Representatives committees on issues of energy policy and Latin America. He is recognized as an independent analyst of regional energy issues, as well as the geopolitics of oil and natural gas in Latin America.

Eric Potter
Director of the Latin America and Caribbean Energy Program
Associate Director of the Energy Division at the Bureau of Economic Geology

512-471-7090, eric.potter@beg.utexas.edu
Potter is an expert on oil and gas exploration including shale gas, offshore drilling and technological tools that improve energy resource discovery. Potter can discuss Texas energy policies and the oil and gas industry.

Varun Rai
Assistant Professor of Public Affairs and Mechanical Engineering
512-471-5057, varun.rai@mail.utexas.edu
Rai is an expert in policy issues concerning energy, technology, the environment and climate change. His research has been published in Harvard International Review, Newsweek, Energy Policy, Economic and Political Weekly and IAEE Energy Forum.

Mukul Sharma
Professor of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering
512-471-3257, 512-471-3161, msharma@mail.utexas.edu
Sharma is a national expert in hydraulic fracturing and has developed a chemical alternative for fracking that is intended to replace water. He researches natural gas engineering, injection water management, formation damage and petrophysics.

Melinda Taylor
Senior Lecturer of Law
Executive Director of the Center for Global Energy, International Arbitration and Environmental Law

512-232-3641, mtaylor@law.utexas.edu
Taylor is an expert on environmental law, and public land and resources. She formerly directed the Ecosystem Restoration Program at the Environmental Defense Fund, where she helped manage projects to protect endangered species and water resources across the U.S.

Scott Tinker
Director of the Bureau of Economic Geology, State Geologist of Texas
Acting Associate Dean for Research of the Jackson School of Geosciences

512-471-0209, 512-471-1534, scott.tinker@beg.utexas.edu
Tinker, the state geologist of Texas, oversees major research programs in energy and the environment at the Bureau of Economic Geology. Co-producer of the movie “Switch,” he is a general expert on energy, especially natural gas, global reserves and the nexus of energy and the environment.

Michael Webber
Professor of Engineering and Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Deputy Director of the Energy Institute
Co-Director of the Clean Energy Incubator

512-475-6867, webber@mail.utexas.edu
Webber is a national expert on fracking and the water-energy nexus. He has led research projects for policy issues relevant to energy, innovation and national security. Webber can discuss a variety of energy topics including energy policy, energy and water, and energy in Texas.

Michael Young
Associate Director of Environmental Systems and Senior Research Scientist at the Bureau of Economic Geology
512-475-8830, michael.young@beg.utexas.edu
Young coordinates research programs spanning energy-water issues, geological sequestration of CO2, groundwater recharge processes, water quality and resources, coastal processes and geological mapping. He can discuss issues related to air quality and the health of the Texas coast.

Health Care


Jacqueline Angel
Professor of Public Affairs and Sociology
512-471-2956, jangel@mail.utexas.edu
Angel has published extensively about the sociology of aging and how it is affected by the life course and social policy. She also serves as an adviser to professional committees, nongovernmental organizations and other agencies that provide basic services to elderly people. She focuses on evaluating the impact of policies on the health and well-being of Latinos, immigrants and other vulnerable groups.

Jay Bernhardt
Professor of Communication Studies and Advertising
Director of the Center for Health Communication

512-471-1931, jay.bernhardt@austin.utexas.edu
Bernhardt is an expert on the application of communication, marketing and media to public health, health care and medicine. He served for five years as the director of the National Center for Health Marketing (NCHM) at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Raj Natarajan

Jane Champion
Professor of Nursing
512-471-8208, jdchampion@mail.nur.utexas.edu
Champion’s clinical research focuses on STI/HIV, substance use, adolescent and women’s health, unintended pregnancy and interpersonal violence. Her current Project IMAGE, a pregnancy prevention intervention for young women, is approved by the CDC and is listed on its recommendations for clinical interventions.

Colleen Horton
Program Officer of the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health
512-471-2988, colleen.horton@austin.utexas.edu
Horton leads the mental health policy unit for the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health. She was formerly public policy director at the Texas Center for Disability Studies. Horton is a member of the Texas Medical Care Advisory Committee, the Promoting Independence Advisory Committee, the Consumer Directed Services Advisory Committee and the Money-Follows-the-Person Advisory Committee.

Richard Nauert
Adjunct Associate Professor of Health Information Technology and Biological Sciences
Nauert has more than 30 years of experience in clinical, administrative and academic health care. He has also worked as an operational consultant to several major health systems, health plans and home health agencies. His expertise lies in information science focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy.
Raj Natarajan

Joseph Potter
Professor of Sociology and faculty affiliate of the Center for Population Research
512-471-8341, joe@prc.utexas.edu
Potter’s interests lie in the areas of reproductive health, population and development, and demographic estimation. He leads the Texas Policy Evaluation Project to evaluate the impact of legislation enacted by the Texas Legislature affecting funding for family planning and access to abortion care.

Lynn Rew
Professor of Nursing
512-471-7941, 512-475-7039, ellerew@mail.utexas.edu
Rew’s scholarship focuses on sexual health and health behaviors of adolescents. She is currently funded by the National Institute of Nursing research (NINR/NIH) for a study titled “Enhancing Psychological Capital in Homeless Young Women.” Rew is also a member of a local nonprofit that provides low-cost counseling services to people in Austin.

Sam Richardson
Assistant Professor of Public Affairs
512-232-3687, samr@utexas.edu
Richardson is a health care economist by training and has been studying the implications and the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act. His research broadly addresses when and how government should intervene in health care markets and how health care providers respond to payment incentives.

William Sage
Professor of Law
512-232-7806, bsage@law.utexas.edu
Sage charts the legal landscape of competition in health care markets and can discuss the Affordable Care Act. His current areas of teaching are health law, regulatory theory, antitrust and professional responsibility. Sage is a veteran of the health care reform effort.

David Warner
Professor of Public Affairs
Wilbur J. Cohen Professor in Health and Social Policy

512-471-6277, david.warner@austin.utexas.edu
Warner’s major teaching and research interests are health policy and health finance. He is currently working on projects related to improving health insurance coverage, the integration of the U.S. and Mexican health care systems, diabetes policy, public health funding and U.S.-Mexico border health.

Immigration and Border Security


Ricardo Ainslie
Professor of Educational Psychology
512-471-0364, rainslie@austin.utexas.edu
Ainslie is an expert on the psychological experience of immigration and ethnic conflicts within communities. He has written a book and made a film documentary about the U.S.-Mexico drug wars and has spent a great deal of time on the border particularly in Juarez, the violent epicenter of the conflict doing research and conducting interviews.

Noël Busch-Armendariz
Professor and Associate Dean for Research of Social Work
Director of the Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

512-471-3470, nbusch@austin.utexas.edu
Busch-Armendariz manages research projects investigating domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking and resiliency in child welfare works. Her areas of specialization are interpersonal violence, refugees, victims of human trafficking and asylees, and international social work. She is called upon regularly to serve as an expert to Texas House and Senate committees.

Denise Gilman
Clinical Professor of Law
Co-Director of the Immigration Clinic

512-232-7796, dgilman@law.utexas.edu
Gilman is co-director of the School of Law’s Immigration Clinic, which has clients from all over the world. Gilman has written and practiced law extensively in the international human rights and immigrants’ rights fields. Her areas of expertise include immigration, immigrant rights, civil rights advocacy and human rights advocacy.

Alfonso Gonzales
Assistant Professor of Mexican American and Latino Studies
512-471-0151, alfonso.Gonzales@austin.utexas.edu
Gonzales’ scholarly interests are in Latino and Latin American politics, migration control, and migrant social movements in the United States, Mexico and Central America. He is particularly interested in what the politics of migration controlwhich, broadly conceived, includes policing, asylum, detention, and deportationmeans for democracy, human rights, and justice.

Barbara Hines
Clinical Professor of Law (Retired)
Co-Director of the Immigration Clinic (Retired)

512-232-1310, bhines@law.utexas.edu
Hines co-directs the School of Law’s Immigration Clinic and has practiced immigration law since 1975. Hines served as the first co-director of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law of the Texas Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project. She has litigated issues on constitutional and statutory rights of immigrants in federal and immigration courts.

David Leal
Professor of Government
512-471-1343, dleal@austin.utexas.edu
An expert on immigration and the Texas border, Leal’s primary academic interests are Latino politics and policy. He teaches about Mexican-American public policy, politics, religion and the U.S. Congress. Leal researches Latino electoral engagement, ethnic identity and issues with significant implications for Latino communities such as immigration and education.

Luis Zayas
Dean of the School of Social Work
512-471-1937, lzayas@austin.utexas.edu
Zayas studies the plight of citizen-children whose parents are being deported. Through funding from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, he is examining the effects of deportation on the psychosocial functioning of U.S.-born children of undocumented Mexican immigrants.

K-12 Education and Testing


Tricia Berry
Director of the Women in Engineering Program
512-471-5650, tsberry@mail.utexas.edu
An expert on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, Berry leads efforts on recruitment and retention of women in the Cockrell School of Engineering. She directs the Texas Girls Collaborative Project, connecting Texas organizations, companies and individuals working to advance gender equity in STEM fields in coordination with the National Girls Collaborative Project.

Christopher Brown
Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction
512-232-2288, cpbrown@mail.utexas.edu
Brown has studied how high-stakes testing and accountability-based reform are affecting early-childhood education. He is looking at what needs to be done in teacher education programs, with curriculum development, in the classroom and among policymakers.

Carolyn Heinrich
Sid Richardson Professor of Public Affairs
Director of the Center for Health and Social Policy

512-471-3779, cheinrich@austin.utexas.edu
Heinrich is a nationally renowned education and health policy expert. Heinrich’s research focuses on social welfare policy, labor force development, public management and econometric methods for program evaluations, including valuation of supplemental educational services.

Cynthia Osborne
Associate Professor of Public Affairs
Director of the Child and Family Research Partnership

512-471-9808, cosborne@prc.utexas.edu
Osborne’s teaching and research interests include poverty and inequality, and educator effectiveness and accountability. She recently completed a major project for the Texas Education Agency creating a metric to help gauge student achievement using teacher effectiveness as a measurement. She can talk about teacher preparation programs in Texas.

Elizabeth Peña
Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders
512-471-2690, lizp@mail.utexas.edu
Peña’s research focuses on differentiating language impairment from language difference in bilingual children. She is interested in how children from diverse linguistic backgrounds learn new language skills and how they lexicalize their conceptual knowledge across two languages.

Victor Sáenz
Associate Professor of Educational Administration
Executive Director of Project MALES and the Texas Education Consortium for Male Students of Color
512-475-8585, vsaenz@austin.utexas.edu
Sáenz is founder and executive director of Project MALES and the Texas Education Consortium for Male Students of Color. He has been invited numerous times to Capitol Hill to speak about his research and community work related to improving academic outcomes for Hispanic males.

Julie Schell
Clinical Assistant Professor of Education
Director of OnRamps and Strategic Initiatives in the Center for Teaching and Learning
512-232-1772, julie.schell@austin.utexas.edu
Schell leads institutional and statewide efforts to improve college student success, preparation and excellence. She is an international expert in instructional innovation, specializing in blended and flipped learning. Schell can discuss MOOCs and higher education issues.

Texas Politics


Robert Chesney
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law
Director of the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law

512-232-1298, rchesney@law.utexas.edu
Chesney is a national security law specialist, with a particular interest in problems associated with terrorism. He recently served in the Justice Department in connection with the Detainee Policy Task Force and has published extensively about topics ranging from detention and prosecution in the counterterrorism context to the states secrets privilege.

Sherri Greenberg
Clinical Professor in Public Policy Practice
512-471-8324, sgreenberg@mail.utexas.edu
Greenberg served for 10 years as a member of the Texas House of Representatives, completing her final term in January 2001. Greenberg is an expert on the Texas state government, public finance and electronic government. Her teaching and research interests also include public procurement, public pensions, transparency and civic engagement, elections, education and housing.

Jim Henson
Lecturer of Government
Director of the Texas Politics Project

512-468-4113, j.henson@austin.utexas.edu
Henson researches Texas and U.S. politics and the political impact of policy decisions. His areas of expertise include presidential elections, Internet and politics, political campaigns and government. He also co-directs the UT/Texas Tribune Poll, the only open-access, public, statewide survey of public opinion in Texas.

Daron Shaw
Professor of Government
512-232-7275, dshaw@austin.utexas.edu
Shaw teaches about American government, campaigns and elections, political parties, public opinion and voting behavior, and applied survey research. He has worked on several political campaigns as a survey research analyst and also served as a strategist in two presidential election campaigns.
Raj Natarajan

Jeremi Suri
Professor of Government
512-232-3989, dshaw@austin.utexas.edu
Suri is an expert on foreign policy and contemporary politics. His work focuses on policymaking, governance, social movements and culture. Suri’s research interests include the emergence of modern international relations, the connections between foreign policy and domestic politics, international security, protest and dissident movements, and globalization.



Oguzhan Bayrak
Professor of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering
512-232-7826, bayrak@mail.utexas.edu
Bayrak is an expert on bridge infrastructure and roadway development. He researches reinforced and pre-stressed concrete structures, bridge engineering, structures in distress, structural repair, fiber reinforced polymers and earthquake engineering. He can also speak about the safety and integrity of nuclear power plants.

Chandra Bhat
Adnan Abou-Ayyash Centennial Professor in Transportation Engineering
Director of the Center for Transportation Research

512-471-4535, bhat@mail.utexas.edu
Bhat is an international expert on all facets of transportation, from driverless cars to young drivers. His expertise includes autonomous vehicles, pollution reduction, alternative fuel vehicles, and transportation policy and services. Bhat also evaluates the effectiveness of alternative traffic congestion alleviation strategies such as telecommuting, urban form design, pricing strategies and ridesharing incentives.

Todd Humphreys
Assistant Professor of Aerospace Engineering
512-471-4489, todd.humphreys@mail.utexas.edu
Humphreys is one of the world’s leading experts on drones and GPS technology and director of the Radionavigation Lab at UT Austin. Recently, Humphreys caught the attention of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for his research on defending against intentional GPS jamming of drones over U.S. airspace.

Todd Olmstead
Associate Professor of Public Affairs
512-471-8456, tolmstead@austin.utexas.edu
Olmstead is an expert on intelligent transportation systems, highway safety and administrative rulemaking. He is also an expert in the areas of health economics, health services research and health care policy.

Michael Walton
Professor of Civil Engineering and Public Affairs
Center for Transportation Research Faculty Affiliate

512-471-1414, cmwalton@mail.utexas.edu
Walton is a leading transportation pioneer in the state. He specializes in transport systems engineering, intelligent transportation systems, economics and policy analysis. He currently chairs a state committee founded to develop a comprehensive estimate of Texas transportation needs through the year 2030.



David Eaton
Bess Harris Jones Centennial Professor in Natural Resource Policy Studies
Professor of Middle Eastern Studies, Geography and the Environment, and Integrative Biology

512-471-8972, eaton@mail.utexas.edu
Eaton is an expert on environmental policy and water conservation, with a special focus on water sharing between Texas and Mexico. He can discuss water and energy conservation policy and groundwater management. Eaton is also the author of “NAFTA Handbook for Water Resource Managers and Engineers.”
Raj Natarajan

David Maidment
Professor of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering
512-471-0065, 512-471-4620, maidment@mail.utexas.edu
Maidment has expertise in statistical techniques in hydrology and water resources planning. Maidment can discuss Texas water issues as he works closely with state water organizations to monitor and analyze the state’s resources.

Jean-Philippe Nicot
Research Scientist at the Bureau of Economic Geology
512-471-6246, jp.nicot@beg.utexas.edu
Nicot can discuss the water-energy nexus in Texas. He researches the intersection with water resources of a host of issues such as hydraulic fracturing, carbon storage and nuclear waste disposal. Nicot’s current interests focus on water resources, both in terms of quality and quantity, with regional aquifer studies, brackish groundwater investigations and analyses of natural contamination.

Sheila Olmstead
Associate Professor of Public Affairs
512-471-2064, sheila.olmstead@austin.utexas.edu
Olmstead is an environmental economist whose current research projects examine the environmental externalities associated with shale gas development in the U.S. She has worked on the economics of water resource management, focusing on water demand estimation, water conservation policy and access to drinking water services among low-income communities.
Raj Natarajan

Charles Werth
Professor of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering
512-232-1626, werth@utexas.edu
Werth focuses on environmental and water resources engineering. He can discuss the development of technologies for drinking water treatment, water pollution and resource management.