Julia Smith

Executive Director of Federal Government Relations and Special Assistant to the President

Julia Smith has accepted the position of Executive Director of Federal Government Relations and Special Assistant to the President. A graduate of Dickinson College, Julia will be the University’s first full-time federal government relations professional.

Julia comes to the University with extensive experience in government relations in Washington DC. Most recently, she has served as the Assistant Vice President for Federal Relations at the University of Arizona (“UA”). In this capacity, she started UA’s Washington office and led the federal relations team in developing UA’s research and higher education priorities and representing them to the administration, Congress, and federal agencies. She worked closely with the President, Provost, VP of Research, and Schools in developing a strategic plan for federal government relations and advocating for university positions on federal policy. She worked extensively with the Congressional delegation, committee staff, federal research agencies, and national higher education and research associations.

Prior to her time at the University of Arizona, Julia spent eight years as the Assistant Vice President for federal relations at the Association of American Universities (AAU). There, she worked closely with leadership from the 62 member universities to develop association positions on federal budget and policy priorities, including with key federal science agencies. She represented AAU on the Task Force on American Innovation, a non-partisan alliance of industry, academia, and science advocacy organizations.

Julia also has extensive leadership experience with coalitions in Washington, DC. She is the Chair of the Coalition for Aerospace & Science. She served as the founding chair of the Golden Goose Award, a scientific honor for federally funded basic research that was “silly-sounding” or obscure at its inception, but which has gone on to have enormous societal impact. And last month, Julia was selected to serve a three-year term on the Executive Committee of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities’ Council of Governmental Affairs.

Julia will work with senior leadership to develop our federal legislative strategy and advocate for our priorities with Congress, the administration, and federal agencies. Having a single point of contact for these efforts will be a big step forward for the University. Julia will be based in Washington but will be in Charlottesville regularly. I look forward to introducing her to you and to seeing all that the University will accomplish in Washington, DC with Julia’s leadership.