2023 Public Service Award
Michael Fenzel, A&S ‘89
Lt. Gen. Fenzel graduated from the Krieger School with a bachelor’s degree in Economics. While at Hopkins, he was captain of the football team, a student council representative, and was elected Permanent Class President by his graduating senior class. Following graduation, Lt. Gen. Fenzel began his illustrious military career as a commissioned infantry officer in the United States Army, rising through the officer ranks while continuing his education in national and international security. He received his PhD in Security Studies from the US Naval Postgraduate School, and also served as a White House Fellow, Asia Society Fellow, and Life Member at the Council on Foreign Relations. Following the September 11th attacks, he was tasked to join the Vice President in the Presidential Emergency Operations Center. Throughout the progression of his career, he has also served as Brigade Commander, Chief of Staff, and Deputy Commanding General in the 82nd Airborne Division. He was Director of Strategy for U.S. Forces Afghanistan and Military Deputy to the Special Envoy for Afghanistan Reconciliation at the U.S. Department of State. Recently, he served as the Vice Director for Strategy on the Joint Staff in the Pentagon, and, since November 2021, he holds the position of the United States Security Coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority. He has published numerous articles in military journals, as well as the 2017 book, No Miracles: The Failure of Soviet Decision-Making in the Afghan War, adapted from his doctoral dissertation.
Caroline Grey, A&S ‘06
Caroline’s post-JHU experience was shaped by Obama’s 2008 campaign. In early 2007 she asked for a ticket to Iowa to interview. She was their 20th hire. With skills honed at JHU, she was given much responsibility and in so doing gained confidence that she could make a difference and felt a responsibility to try to make a difference. This motivates her to this day and climate change has become her focus. She has worked three winning presidential campaigns, each with increased responsibility. As a result of her experience as co-head of Obama’s 2012 campaign’s analytics team, she co-founded a data analytics start-up - Civis Analytics - that was funded by Eric Schmidt of Google and continues to prosper. After 2019, with Covid rampant, she ran 33 states for Biden’s campaign via Zoom. She also represented the campaign on the Georgia recount. When asked what she would like to do next. Caroline said ‘Save the planet!’. She was appointed the Department of Engergy’s White House liaison, which required her to brief the White House once a week. Recently she was made Chief of Staff to DOE’s Undersecretary of Infrastructure Programs with a $70 billion budget, a job she considers the “best ever!” Her success, work ethic, and worldview were shaped in parts of JHU not always visible or appreciated by many, and by her love of the Writing Seminars department. She effectively communicates, persuades and motivates with stories!
George Korch Jr., SPH ‘85
George Korch, PhD '85, has had an outstanding career with the United States government, working to defend the public against national health security threats through medical and public health responsiveness defense. Dr. Korch served as Director of the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center from 2018 until his recent retirement in late 2022. There he led a talented team in support of the Department of Homeland Security's National Defense Enterprise, specializing in the identification of biological defense threats to national security and advising on ways to mitigate those threats. Throughout his career, Dr. Korch's work has focused on identifying strategic initiatives that enable the U.S. to have a flexible, resourceful ability to respond to naturally occurring and deliberate threats. Prior to his role at the Center, he worked with the Department of Health and Human Services, rising to the level of an Acting Assistant Secretary, where he responded to high-profile public health situations, including the H1N1 influenza pandemic, hurricanes, the West African Ebola outbreak and Zika virus response. As a long-standing biodefense expert, Dr. Korch has held a variety of leadership roles including Commander of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, overseeing the Department of Defense's only maximum containment laboratory. Dr. Korch's public service career has been spent advancing medicines, policies and initiatives that protect the public against national security threats.
Elizabeth McKune, SAIS ’71, ‘72
Throughout her 33-year career in the United States Foreign Service, Elizabeth Davenport McKune broke several barriers for women and minorities. She was the first female African-American ambassador in the Middle East and the first female ambassador from any country to the State of Qatar, where she served from 1998 through 2001; McKune was also the first woman to serve as deputy executive secretary in the U.S. State Department, where she worked from 1989 through 1991. She joined the U.S. Foreign Service at a historic time, becoming one of the first married women pursuing a career in foreign service, and served as a mentor to younger women and minorities. Career colleagues have noted that McKune’s “leadership and reputation for excellence inspired and encouraged women to pursue assignments in Middle Eastern countries.” McKune was the first female African-American to graduate from the National War College with distinction and has received the Department of Defense’s Joint Civilian Defense Award as well as Meritorious and Superior Honor Awards from the Department of State. After retiring from foreign service, McKune became executive director of the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center in Washington D.C. (2007-2011), which promotes understanding between the United States and Oman. McKune holds a BA from Carleton College and an MA from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in International Affairs.
Rajesh Panjabi, SPH ‘06
Rajesh Panjabi, MD, MPH '06, is a globally recognized public health leader, social entrepreneur, physician, and epidemiologist with a history of building successful community programs promoting health equity and preventing disease. President Biden recognized Dr. Panjabi's expertise, first appointing him as U.S. Global Malaria Coordinator to head the President's Malaria Initiative then asking him to serve in his current role as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Global Health Security and Biodefense at the White House National Security Council. In this role, he advises President Biden on matters of national security, specifically emergency response, crisis management and preparedness. He was also recently asked by the World Health Organization to be part of an independent panel for pandemic preparedness and response which evaluated the global response to COVID-19 with the hope of identifying opportunities for better preparedness in the future, expertise he continues to share in his role as Special Assistant to the President. Dr. Panjabi received global attention during the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa where Last Mile Health, an organization he co-founded in 2007, trained thousands of community health workers to support Liberia's National Ebola Operations Center. This model of partnering with the government to build strong community health systems has expanded across Africa and has helped identify and prevent well over 4,000 potential epidemic events.