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Heather Bloemhard, Assistant Director for Federal Relations

Heather Bloemhard is the assistant director of federal relations in Vanderbilt University’s Office of Federal Relations. In this role, Bloemhard is responsible for coordinating the university's federal relations and advocacy activities. She works closely with both campus leaders and Washington, DC policy makers on topics such as funding levels for federal research agencies; regulatory issues related to research technology transfer, copyright, and intellectual property; and federal higher education policy related to international programs and veterans’ programs. Bloemhard interacts regularly with leaders in Congress, focusing primarily on the Tennessee congressional delegation and their staffs.

Prior to joining Vanderbilt, Bloemhard was a science and technology policy fellow sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and placed in the Defense Laboratories Office of the Department of Defense. As a fellow with DOD, Bloemhard supported the development of research policy for the Defense laboratories, including policies related to personnel, infrastructure, technology transfer, and STEM education.

Bloemhard was the American Astronomical Society’s John N. Bahcall Public Policy Fellow from 2015 to 2017. In this role, Bloemhard staffed their public policy office and led their advocacy efforts to promote the astronomical sciences in the United States.

Bloemhard holds a doctorate in physics from New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and a bachelor’s of science in physics and astronomy from George Mason University. Bloemhard is an active member of the American Astronomical Society, Women in Government Relations, and the Association of Women in Science – chairing the D.C. Chapter’s Mentoring Circles program.