Oscar Carballo

Oscar Carballo provides important and timely tracking, monitoring, and researching of congressional legislation and federal agency actions related to education, workforce development, immigration, and international issues. In particular, Oscar focuses on emerging opportunities in the Department of Education (ED), the Department of Labor (DOL), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Department of State.

Issue Areas:
Education, workforce development, international relations, and immigration

Additional Experience:
Before joining Lewis-Burke, Oscar started his career in Washington, DC in the office of Senator Jacky Rosen. He gained knowledge and formed a passion for education and immigration policy, in which he worked closely with senior staff on these issues. In addition to his time in the Senate, Oscar worked for Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE), a humanitarian response non-profit, that supports and engages with the community to provide free, mobile COVID-19 testing to residents of the District of Columbia in underserved communities.

Vital Statistics:
Born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, Oscar earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Nevada, Reno, where he double majored in Political Science and International Relations. In his free time, you can find Oscar playing soccer across the District, hanging out with friends at the National Mall, and on his journey looking for the best Salvadoran food DC has to offer!

Immigration Reform Bill Amendments

Working on behalf of a university client, Lewis-Burke Associates LLC worked closely with a variety of groups on an immigration reform bill to correct the prevailing wage determinations for temporary foreign employees at institutions of higher education.

While collaborating with other universities and groups on this large issue, Lewis Burke also worked on behalf of another client - a coalition of independent biomedical research institutes - to gain an additional modification to the proposed legislation that would restore preferential treatment for temporary employees at not-for-profit research organizations.

Through Lewis-Burke’s efforts, the proposed language was included in both the House and Senate versions of the bill. This focused advocacy initiative did not detract from the successful higher education effort and did not require a high-profile coalition effort, but the provision was vital to the independent research institutions.

Securing Department of Labor Funding Opportunity for Higher Education Workforce and Talent Development

After establishing a relationship and developing a genuine and intimate understanding of a client’s strengths, Lewis-Burke was able to identify and support the client’s application for a grant from an agency typically overlooked by higher education institutions. In this case, the client was a leader in higher education as workforce development. Building on the firm’s strength in navigating the federal funding landscape and ability to discern real opportunities, Lewis-Burke outlined the opportunity and supported the client as it pursued the grant. The client was successful in securing the multi-million dollar grant, one of its largest that year. Lewis-Burke continues to engage the agency on behalf of the client and has been able to identify related opportunities.

Regulation of Graduate Student Health Insurance Plans

Preserved universities’ ability to continue offering subsidized health insurance plans to graduate students. Regulation of Graduate Student Health Insurance Plans– When the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Treasury, and Labor jointly released regulatory guidance on graduate student health insurance plans (SHIP), many university clients were concerned that the interpretation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would hinder their ability to provide high-quality affordable health insurance to graduate students. Many in the higher education community were worried about the Departments’ interpretation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and their questioning the legality of providing subsidized student health insurance coverage to their graduate students.  Lewis-Burke tailored unique advocacy plans for two vastly different clients.

For one client, Lewis-Burke identified meeting targets at the three agencies responsible for the guidance. Lewis-Burke also organized a call with twelve representatives from the agencies and arranged for the client to meet with congressional staff. Congressional delegation members agreed to work with their colleagues and the university on a legislative solution.

For another client, Lewis-Burke coordinated with appropriate contacts on campus to identify the cost per student and impacts of transitioning graduate students off the graduate student health insurance plan. Lewis-Burke met with the members of the client’s congressional delegation to discuss specific concerns and proposed either a legislative solution or a reassessment of the tri-agencies’ interpretation of the law. Both senators in the delegation joined a Dear Colleague letter to the tri-agencies following Lewis-Burke’s lobbying efforts.  Lewis-Burke corresponded with members of the House delegation to answer additional questions and coordinated a meeting with representatives from Lewis-Burke, a higher education association, and the congressional office to allay these concerns.

Finally, after a year-long advocacy effort during which Lewis-Burke engaged with the higher education community, federal agencies and Congress, the Departments of HHS, Treasury, and Labor announced an indefinite extension of the enforcement relief period for graduate SHIP under the ACA. This announcement preserved universities’ ability to continue offering subsidized health insurance plans to graduate students for at least the 2017-2018 academic year.

Math and Science Education

Federal support for science and engineering education, Math and Science Education - The leadership of a west coast-based school of education at one of the leading research institutions in the country grew increasingly concerned about federal support for science and engineering education.

Lewis-Burke developed and executed a strategy that raised public visibility and concern about this public policy issue and placed the client in a position of leadership and influence with respect to this issue.

Lewis-Burke’s strategy was to create a groundswell of support for and pressure on the relevant agency for the creation of a national, influential, blue-ribbon commission on math and science education. In so doing, the firm positioned the client to be a significant national player in this debate which ultimately not only resulted in the creation of this blue-ribbon commission, but an invitation from the relevant federal agency to the client to become a member of this prestigious national commission.

Profiling Client’s Innovative Education Model to Advance Policy Goals

Innovative educational delivery. Working on behalf of a university client, Lewis-Burke Associates positioned a campus to highlight its national leadership in innovative educational delivery and advance the client’s education policy agenda through a DC-based briefing event.

Lewis-Burke developed a concept for a briefing that showcased the university’s strengths in education innovation and alignment with industry partners, while framing the event to address timely interests of Congress and the Department of Education. The event addressed a secondary objective of highlighting the client’s legislative agenda.

Lewis-Burke identified panelists across industry, national think tanks, the National Academies, and higher education associations. Through outreach efforts of Lewis-Burke, the event drew a large audience of key stakeholders of congressional staff, representatives of federal agencies, industry associations, national thought leaders in education, and other universities.   

The briefing strategically positioned the university as a national leader in pursuing new models of education delivery and partnering with industry to address workforce needs, as well as reinforced the case for the client’s policy agenda.

Kari McCarron

Kari McCarron is a trusted expert in higher education policy.  She brings first-hand experience within the federal higher education and science enterprise as a former government relations representative for a major research university and as a senior higher education advocate.  Kari focuses on funding for and advocacy of federal student aid, education research, and humanities and arts programming.  She also works closely with clients on education regulations and policy, tax policy, and immigration issues.

Kari previously served as Director of Congressional and Governmental Affairs with the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and as Senior Legislative Assistant within the Office of the President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).  For over a decade, she has actively participated in associations, coalitions, and working groups related to higher education, scientific research, innovation, and student financial aid.

Issue Expertise: Higher Education Act and related education regulations, student issues, taxation, Immigration, education research, and humanities and arts programs.

Additional Experience: Kari honed her interest in science policy serving at the National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Chemistry and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).  Kari also served as an Economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Vital Statistics:  A fan of all things maize and blue, Kari earned her Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Michigan.  Wanting to combine her interest in economics and science, Kari received her Master of Science in Public Policy from the Georgia Institute of Technology.  When not enjoying the quietness of her office or the halls of Congress, Kari can be found shuttling her three boys between soccer practices.

Libby O'Hare, Ph.D.

Dr. Libby O’Hare leads Lewis-Burke’s biomedical research advocacy efforts, advising clients in the areas of federal research policy and health care, with a focus on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and agencies that determine grantmaking policies including the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  Leveraging her prior experiences as an academic neuroscientist, congressional staffer, and National Academies study director, Libby taps into her work with researchers and research organizations to develop strategies and approaches to enhance clients’ biomedical research portfolios and protect them from federal proposals that would undermine efforts to advance critical life sciences research.

Libby has an in-depth and practiced understanding of how to work with Congress, the Executive Branch, scientific and health organizations, and other stakeholder partners to achieve results.  Libby is a trusted advisor on research administration and grants policy issues.  Her knowledge of the federal grantmaking process enables her to understand the needs of both faculty and administrators.  Libby brings a passion for science and research to her efforts on behalf of clients and relies on her relationships with key stakeholders across the government to protect policies and programs, create new opportunities, and position clients for success in enhancing and protecting their biomedical research portfolios.

Issue Expertise: Appropriations, biomedical research, research policy and regulatory issues, graduate education and the science and engineering workforce, STEM education, and social and behavioral sciences.

Additional Expertise: Libby got her start in science policy as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Congressional Science Policy Fellow and gained Capitol Hill experience working with New Jersey Representative Rush Holt.  Before joining Lewis-Burke, Libby directed several high-profile studies at the National Academies of Sciences , Engineering and Medicine, designed to inform action on pressing issues in higher education and the science and engineering workforce.  During Libby’s career as an academic neuroscientist, she investigated relationships between brain and cognitive development and her research was supported by awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Association of Women in Science (AWIS), and the University of California.

Vital Statistics: Libby is proud of her New Hampshire roots.  She holds a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of California, Los Angeles and an A.B. in Psychology from Bryn Mawr College.  Her favorite brain region is the cerebellum.

Miriam Quintal

Miriam Quintal boasts a decade of advocacy and client success at Lewis-Burke, managing the federal relations portfolios for large academic institutions, scientific societies, and facility management organizations. As Managing Principal, she oversees the firm’s client engagement and issue practices to ensure success and advancement across the firm. Miriam fiercely protects client priorities, leveraging her unique combination of scientific training with political insight.

Miriam is a prominent leader in National Science Foundation advocacy, co-chairing the Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF) and working closely with the higher education and research advocacy community to guide policy for and champion the Foundation. Her wealth of knowledge and federal research enterprise acumen provides value to all components of client interests: supporting university leadership, shepherding research initiatives, and shaping policy across a range of issues. Major advocacy efforts have included successfully guiding large-scale science projects through the appropriations process, restoring funding for key programs proposed to be eliminated in the President’s budget request, establishing new agency funding for research infrastructure, and creating opportunities for clients to showcase research and leadership in Administration initiative areas.

Issue Expertise: Basic research (National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, Department of Energy Office of Science), STEM education, computing and computational science, math and physical sciences, engineering, and space and astronomy.

Additional Experience: Miriam has twice served as NSF lead for the Association of American Universities (AAU) Innovation Task Force.  Before joining Lewis-Burke, Miriam gained policy experience as a Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Fellow with the Board on Science Education at the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.  At the Academies, she contributed to several projects, including a review of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s education programs and a study of gaming and simulations for science education.

Vital Statistics: Miriam developed her passion for politics while growing up in the DC region, before venturing north to get an undergraduate degree in chemistry with highest honors from Smith College and a Masters Degree in Organic Chemistry from Harvard University.  She has been a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and a Fulbright Fellow.  Miriam loves raising her son in DC alongside her wife.  She is deeply engaged in her community, serving as a Founding Trustee and coordinator for Minyan Segulah, a local independent prayer community, and volunteering with Jews United for Justice, which aims to advocate for local policies that improve the lives of disadvantaged residents of DC and Maryland.