Meet the Staff

Michelle Lorenzo Palacio, Vice President of Governmental Relations

As Vice President, Michelle is responsible for providing strategic leadership for all aspects of Governmental Relations. Michelle began her FIU career in November 2004, serving as Director of State Relations and then later as Assistant Vice President of Health Policy and Governmental Affairs for the Academic Health Center. She has been a key member of FIU’s governmental relations team, responsible for seeking state funding for the university, as well as seeking state approval and funding for the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, and leading an increasingly active state substantive agenda. Before coming to FIU, Michelle was a Governmental Relations Consultant for Becker & Poliakoff, P.A., a diverse commercial law firm with more than one hundred twenty five attorneys practicing in offices throughout Florida, in New York City, Nassau, Bahamas, and Prague, Czech Republic, plus affiliated offices in France and Israel. Prior to that, she worked as the Chief Legislative Aide for Florida U.S. Senator Marco Rubio when he served as Florida House Majority Leader in the Florida Legislature. Early on in her career, Michelle coordinated numerous political campaigns in South Florida. In 2008, Michelle was featured as an “up-and-comer” in South Florida New Establishment Magazine. Michelle earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from Florida International University. She is currently a board member of Miami Bridge Youth and Family Services. Email Michelle at:

Carlos A. Becerra, Assistant Vice President of Federal Relations

Carlos Becerra represents the university's interests before Congress, advances our research agenda with federal agencies and manages our presence in the nation's capital. An FIU alumnus, Carlos brings over 15 years of experience advancing public education in urban cities and leveraging relationships to achieve intergovernmental collaboration in the public sector. At the National League of Cities, Carlos assisted mayors in acquiring federal resources to support youth employment strategies. Previously, he served as Chief of Staff to the Chairman of the Miami-Dade School Board, managing policy development, media outreach and served as a liaison with other elected officials. He has extensive experience in grassroots campaigns, having helped manage six local races. Carlos has been advancing FIU's agenda since serving as two-term student body president and later, leading alumni relations and annual fundraising. In those roles, he led student and alumni advocacy campaigns for the establishment of a College of Law and approval of intercollegiate football. Email Carlos at:

Lynne Shaw, Assistant Vice President, Health Policy and Governmental Affairs

Lynne plans and coordinates governmental relations activities on legislative and governmental matters related to healthcare issues. Lynne also provides advice and technical analysis on budget, education, and other issues impacting FIU. Prior to joining FIU, Lynne worked for the Florida House of Representatives for almost 17 years. During her tenure, Lynne held a wide variety of positions. As Deputy Staff Director for the Health and Human Services Committee, Lynne was a chief policy advisor on healthcare and health insurance, including Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. Lynne has substantial knowledge of Florida’s appropriations process from serving as legal counsel for the Appropriations Committee and serving as the Staff Director of the Finance and Tax Committee. Lynne also served as the Staff Director of the Insurance Committee and of the Judiciary Committee. Earlier in her career, Lynne worked as a Florida Assistant Attorney General specializing in complex tax litigation. Lynne earned a Bachelor of Arts from Florida State University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Florida, Levin College of Law. Email Lynne at:

Chris Cantens, Director of State Relations

Chris is responsible for the coordination of governmental relations activities at the state level, establishing and maintaining key legislative and governmental contacts to further the university’s goals, and serves as the university's liaison to state government.  His career in government began in 2010 while working for the Miami Dolphins as a staff assistant for the Government Affairs and Public Relations departments. In 2011, Chris worked on the special election campaign for State Representative Jose Oliva.  Chris went on to work as a legislative aide for Representative Oliva for the next four years. Chris is an FIU College of Business alumnus. He went on to earn a Master’s of Science from Florida State University in 2010. Email Chris at: