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Vanderbilt's Role in Washington

Vanderbilt’s Office of Federal Relations advocates on behalf of federal legislation, regulations, and policy that could affect Vanderbilt University. As one of the nation's top research universities, Vanderbilt University plays an important role in the federal process. Both as a recipient of federal research funding, and as an expert provider of cutting-edge research and analysis, Vanderbilt's voice is vital to the consideration of national policy issues. By leveraging expert resources from campus, the staff in our Washington, D.C., office can significantly elevate the visibility and impact of the university in the nation’s capital.

The primary focuses of the Office of Federal Relations are federal support of university-based research in science, engineering, social science, and the humanities; policies related to higher education; and other federal policies that impact the university, such as student aid, tax, high-skilled immigration, and intellectual property issues.

Much of our effort, therefore, involves direct contact with the Legislative and Executive Branches on legislative and regulatory matters. We make officials aware of Vanderbilt's expertise in key areas of concern and, whenever appropriate, advocate positions that advance the interests of Vanderbilt and the broader higher education community. We often work in tandem with other Tennessee colleges and universities, as well as research universities across the nation, and play a leadership role in numerous national associations and coalitions that address these issues. In essence, our presence in Washington, D.C., gives us a "seat at the table" when many important policy issues are being deliberated.

Promoting the priorities mentioned above is vitally important to the success of Vanderbilt's academic mission. For example, federal grants and contracts provide indispensable funding for faculty researchers and are the lifeblood of many graduate assistants; and federal student aid, through grants, loans, and work-study programs, is indispensable to many of our students. We also directly support the academic mission of the university through internship programs and other academic opportunities.


Our Staff


Christina West

Associate Vice Chancellor for Federal Relations

(202) 216-4370


Heather Bloemhard

Assistant Director of Federal Relations

(202) 216-4368


Collier Roberts

Communications Coordinator for Federal and State Relations

(615) 875-2421


Holly Alexander

Office Administrator

(202) 216-4361


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