PRGS Alumni Newsletter, Findings


Welcome to Findings, the online newsletter for PRGS/RGS/RGI alums. Findings is sent by email to all PRGS alumnae and alumni. If you do not wish to be contacted, please email us at

In this issue...

School Update from Dean John Graham

John GrahamIt's been a busy first 18 months for me at PRGS and, now that things have calmed down, I wanted to take this opportunity to provide an update on where PRGS is headed. As many of you know, I believe our alumni are an untapped resource for PRGS, and I have appreciated the opportunity to meet with many of you on my recent trips to New York, Chicago and Washington, DC. I hope to be fortunate enough to meet more of you this coming year.

In the near term, we are organizing more alumni panels where you can share your life experiences with current fellows. If you happen to be traveling to California, please contact Alex Duke at PRGS and we will sponsor a breakfast or lunch where fellows can learn about your accomplishments, challenges and memories of PRGS. We are also seeking your permission to allow fellows to contact you for career advice, though that will work best if they first have the opportunity to meet you. I also ask you to please help us raise the visibility of PRGS, both domestically and internationally. We have been known as the "stealth school" for too long, and it's time that the rest of the public, private, and academic communities learn more about the premier policy school that we know ourselves to be. Many of our strongest applicants each year are referrals from our alumni, and we need to continue working that connection.

The changes we are making at PRGS follow the White Paper (April 2006) that I shared with the alumni in April of 2006. Here are the highlights:

  • When new fellows arrive in mid-September, they enter 10 days of intensive policy seminars where they learn about what is happening at RAND in national security, health, education, labor and population, and so forth. They also begin their mathematics "boot camp" that meets daily until the fall semester begins and then meets twice a week for the fall quarter.
  • The entire core curriculum is now completed in the first year, and fellows take their "preliminary examination" (the old "quals") — three day-long exams — in July after their first year.
  • Due to the generosity of our donors, a majority of PRGS's first-year fellows have scholarships that reduce their OJT burden from 155 days to 60 days in the first year or reduce their tuition. I know that is a huge change compared to what many of you experienced! Each scholarship is valued at $30,000 and we urgently need to raise about 5 more of them.
  • In their second and third years, fellows begin to develop both an analytic concentration (economics, quantitative methods, or social science) and a policy specialization (defense, health, and so forth). At this point their course load is reduced and they ramp up to 155 days per year of OJT.
  • After the first year, fellows also have a required independent study with a PRGS faculty member where each fellow chooses a faculty member who is compensated to guide them in readings in an area of possible dissertation interest. This process is separate from OJT.
  • The dissertation process has been modified. There is a formal written and oral proposal of the dissertation (basically another examination) that must be passed before the formal dissertation process begins. The defense is unchanged compared to what you experienced. A tuition reduction occurs after the fellow completes a successful oral defense of the dissertation proposal.
  • We now have four fully funded dissertation awards ($50,000 each) that interested fellows compete for - and one new award is in the works. These awards are critical for fellows who have an intellectual interest that cannot be fully funded through one of the RAND business units. We need to double the number of these awards over the next five years.

Although these are significant refinements, we consider the basic structure of PRGS to be the same as when Charles Wolf launched the School in 1970. The heart of PRGS is OJT, and the opportunity for fellows to reach out to the many exciting projects underway at RAND.

None of what we are doing is written in stone. We believe in continuous feedback and evaluation! I welcome your input and advice about how PRGS can be improved because you have a wealth of knowledge and experience to evaluate your own doctoral experience and your colleagues and employees who have Ph.Ds. What was helpful while you were here? What could have been improved? What do you wish you could have studied in your courses, and what sorts of OJT were most valuable? How can we do a better job of raising the school's visibility? Who should we reach out to for financial resources? Which skills and experiences are most valuable out there in the real world? Please get in touch with me, by e-mail or by phone, or come visit us in Santa Monica. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and suggestions for how we can best serve our fellows.

Stay tuned for more news on the exciting changes at PRGS!

Remembering Susan Way-Smith

Susan Way-SmithSusan Way-Smith, Pardee RAND Graduate School graduate, 1992, and member of the PRGS Board of Governors, passed away on June 3, 2007. Susan had a distinguished career that spanned both the private and public sectors. She worked at RAND as a policy analyst at two separate times and had served as a member of the PRGS Board of Governors since 1998. After a successful career as a strategic planner and executive with Allegheny Teledyne, she was appointed in 2000 as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Los Angeles Educational Partnership, a major educational reform organization that works to create more effective teaching and learning environments in secondary schools and to connect parents and communities to schools.

A memorial service celebrating her life was held at RAND on June 16 and was attended by friends and former colleagues. Among the many speakers who shared remembrances were Mary Anne Doyle '97, PRGS Governor Tom Epley, Dean Emeritus Charles Wolf, Jim Thomson, and Teresa Taningo '06, who closed the ceremony with a short eulogy. Said Teresa, "Most of us who go through the program hope to make the world a better place when we graduate. Susan did just that, not just professionally but also personally."

Susan's husband, Doug Smith, and her sister, Betsy Way, have established the Susan Way-Smith Memorial Fund at PRGS in her honor. In recognition of her lifelong commitment to improving the quality of public education, this endowed fund will be used to support an annual dissertation award at PRGS in the field of education policy research.

So far, Susan's friends and fellow PRGS alumni have contributed over $20,000 to the original donation, and additional pledges are welcome. For information on how to contribute to the Susan Way-Smith Memorial Fund, contact Rachel Swanger.

PRGS Fellows Break Ground With New Projects

Two new projects at PRGS are helping fellows contribute to public understanding of current policy challenges, and to RAND's internal knowledge management: Policy Insight is a new PRGS publication that features Fellows' analysis of current policy challenges. Project LitShare aims at helping RAND to better utilize its own knowledge resources.

Policy Insight

Published bimonthly, each issue of Policy Insight provides a current fellow with the opportunity to co-author an analysis of a major U.S. or international public policy challenge with a RAND expert in the field. The first issue, entitled "Preparing for January 2009: How the Next President Can Lead the Executive Branch," premiered in February 2007 and was co-authored by Elizabeth Brown and Dean John Graham. Other recent issues include "Ideas for Policy makers: Enhancing the Impact of Think Tanks" by Silvia Montoya and Associate Dean Rachel Swanger, "Making Liberia Safe through Comprehensive Security-Sector Reform" by Brooke Stearns and RAND Senior Fellow David C. Gompert, and "Polarized Politics and Policy Consequences," by Diana Epstein and Dean Graham.

Prior to publication, each issue is critiqued by two peer reviewers with expertise on the issue at hand: a RAND researcher and an outside expert. All issues may be found online at: You can also sign up to receive an e-mail alert when each new issue is released, also at

Project LitShare

This year Elizabeth Brown and Diana Epstein became the first PRGS fellows to apply for and be awarded RAND Sponsored Research Funds. Elizabeth and Diana, who are entering their third year at PRGS, are the originators and co-PIs for Project LitShare, a pilot project to gather and categorize both published and unpublished RAND literature reviews from across business units and make them available in an online, searchable, format. LitShare was motivated by a desire to capitalize on the unique role of PRGS in the RAND community, to introduce time and cost savings to researchers, the potential to stimulate innovation, and the opportunity to support and enhance RAND's informal social networks. The project was conceptualized, initiated, and led by students, and it serves as an example of an entrepreneurial model of student leadership.

Project LitShare coincides with efforts to upgrade the RAND Intranet, staff directories, projects databases, and the electronic documents associated with contracts and proposals. Liz and Diana have spent the past year meeting with unit directors and researchers, human resource managers, and IT staff in order to figure out the best approach for using LitShare to institutionalize knowledge management at RAND. LitShare has been a wonderful way for PRGS fellows to lead a project on their own and to contribute to the organization in a new and meaningful way. We hope that more fellows will take the lead on these types of projects in the future!

The anticipated launch date is summer 2008.

Alumni Authors Visit PRGS on Book Tours

David Apgar '84 stopped by RAND in October 2006 to discuss his book Risk Intelligence: Learning To Manage What We Don't Know, which had been published recently by Harvard Business School Press. David's book challenges the widely held belief that risk management is a matter for technical specialists, and asserts that many risks are in fact learnable. David is a managing director of the Corporate Executive Board, a best-practices research organization which serves senior executives at over 2,500 institutions worldwide. He is also Director for Investments and Risk Strategy at Geneva-based BlueOrchid Finance SA, the oldest of the for-profit microfinance funds. His second book, entitled Relevance, will be published by Jossey-Bass and is scheduled for release in January, 2008.

Arthur Brooks '98 visited RAND in December 2006 to talk about his new book Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism, published by Basic Books. Arthur notes, "this is a book that exposes large charity differences between groups across the U.S., and probes the impact of these differences on American public policy. The foreword is by (PRGS Governor) James Q. Wilson, so you can see it's really a PRGS product through-and-through." Arthur is currently Louis A. Bantle Professor of Business and Government Policy at Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. He is also currently a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

PRGS Alums Recognized Among RAND's Best

Each year, the RAND Merit Bonus Awards program honors a select group of 40 employees who have made oustanding contributions to furthering RAND's mission. The two most outstanding receive the President's Choice Award, followed by 6 Gold, 12 Silver and 20 Bronze level awards.

We are proud to report that six of the 29 PRGS alums who currently work full-time at RAND have been Merit Bonus Award recipients in the past two years. In 2006, Jeff Wasserman '88 was honored with the President's Choice Award, while Cheryl Damberg '95 received a Gold Award. Silver Awards were earned by Donna Farley '93 and David Groves in 2007. Neeraj Sood '04 and Eric Larson '95 received Bronze Awards in 2006 and 2007 respectively. Well done!

Alumnae/Alumni Updates

PRGS students in Malibu, 1974.

Malibu, circa 1974. Photo courtesy of Rick Fallon '80.

If you have any memorable photos you'd like to share, send a digital copy to Findings.

Gift from the Class of 1980

The entering class of 1980 was the first class to have all members complete their Ph.D.s. From time to time they have gotten together to remember the great time they had at (what was then called) RGI and to appreciate the contributions of this institution to their careers. In order to commemorate the anniversary of their graduation, the Class of 1980 sent a gift to the PRGS wing in the new building.

PRGS plaque

The inscription on the plaque reads: "In appreciation of RAND's and RGS's contribution to our careers and lives." Members of the 1980 entering class are David Apgar, Yilmaz Argüden, Janice Hinton, Kyong Mann Jeon, Brian Leverich, Greg Rest, Syam Sarma, Ken Thorpe, and Robert Valdez.

The RGI entering class of 1980 also celebrated its 25th year anniversary by gathering on the banks of the Potomac during the 2005 Fourth of July holidays for a dinner cruise celebrating their odyssey through policy arenas around the world. Members of the class have worked on a variety of social, economic and security related policy issues in Asia, Europe, North America, and South America. Contributing as senior government officials, members of the academy, and in the private sector, the Class of 1980 prepares to take on the next challenges in its policy analysis odyssey.

Class of '80 reunion

Pictured aboard the Odyssey (left to right): Yilmaz, Ken and wife, Jennifer, Greg and wife, Sandi, David and wife, Ann Marie, Syam, and Bob.

Kathy Lohr '80 writes that "I am a Distinguished Fellow at RTI, and most of my time in that role is serving as the (founding) Editor-in-Chief of RTI Press — we are just getting under way. I also serve as the founding Director of both the RTI-University of North Carolina Evidence-based Practice Center and the so-called DEcIDE Center (both of which you can find described on RTI's external website:"

Rahngild Sollberg '80 reports that "I am still connected to Norsk Hydro ASA, a Norwegian multi-national company, even though I should be retired! However, due to my background which in addition to my earlier regular tasks, has led to me having many (!) external appointments (boards, commissions, adj.professorship, etc. etc.) in Norway and abroad, I still have a desk at Hydro, and the company keeps me with my home office. Currently I have 10 appointments, most of them of great interest and importance to Hydro, and most of them connected with research and higher education."

Rahngild also tells us that her entering class is planning its second reunion in Norway in 2008. They also met in Indonesia in 2004.

Allen Lee '81 reports that he is working for QuantecLLC, a 50-person energy consulting company that grew from 12 people when he started 4 years ago. "I do business development, project management, and technical analyses. I primarily conduct energy-efficiency program evaluations including impact and process evaluations involving engineering, economic, cost-benefit, and related analyses. In the last 10 years, I have focused more and more on green building projects and developing sustainability as a business area and core value for our company."

Larry Picus '88 is a professor at the Rossier School of Education at USC. "I do research on school finance and teach classes on that topic. School Finance research today focuses largely on the concept of adequacy, how much we need to have some confidence today's K-12 students meet a state's educational standards. One of the four models used to estimate this — the Evidence Based model was developed by me and a colleague. We currently work with a number of states using our model to estimate the level of resources needed for schools in that state."

Joe Nation '89 recently finished 6 years as a California State Assemblyman, and is now teaching climate change and health care reform at Stanford University. Joe is also a partner at Environ, an environmental consulting firm that focuses on climate change, carbon management and energy efficiency.

Anne Johansen '90 is a Senior Health Policy Specialist with the World Bank's Middle East and North Africa Department. Anne prepares loans for health projects in our client countries, and also carries out policy dialogue on health reform and health sector development. She prepares analytical reports on the health sector and provide technical assistance as needed, including organizing and teaching in workshops.

Rachel Schmidt '91 is a Senior Analyst at the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, where she works on issues related to Medicare Part D (outpatient prescription drug coverage), health care benefit design, and the financial sustainability of Medicare.

Bill Dean '92, works for the State of California at the Air Resources Board. "I am working on climate change issues, especially the economic impact assessment of statewide collections of strategies such as those listed by the Climate Action Team."

Desmond Saunders-Newton '93 tells us that "My day job, so to speak, is that of Director for Social Computation & Complexity in BAE SYSTEMS Advanced Information Technologies business unit (based in Arlington, VA). I'm also a member of the faculty at the University of Southern California's School of Policy, Planning & Development. As you may have inferred, I'm a bi-coastal commuter."

"Over the last 2 1/2 years, I've been fortunate enough to head the creation and nurturing of an advanced R&D unit — I suppose skunk works serves as an appropriate moniker — that focuses on the development of advanced analytic technologies, as well as analyses, that support the generation of strategic intelligence & operational/tactical plans for agencies in the intelligence and defense communities. The technologies we develop are tightly coupled to the burgeoning field of computational social sciences, which suggests a meshing of social science theory, modeling-simulation methodologies (mathematical, statistical, & computational), and advanced technological approaches from the worlds of informatics, biology and nano-materials. The coolest part is that my unit emphasizes the exploitation of multi disciplinary teams, and about half of my group are card-caring social scientists. Admittedly, such is a strange collection of humans to have in a advanced R&D firm, but it is reflective of the changing science and technology portfolio in the realm of global security."

Michael Dardia '94 reports, "I am Deputy Director of the New York City Office of Management and Budget (OMB). I have two main areas of responsibility: My economics and tax groups are responsible for the City's macroeconomic and tax revenue forecasts, and my other group oversees all of the City's housing and economic development agencies (including about $7 billion in capital projects). The economics and tax groups also score legislation and serve as an in-house think tank for policy proposals."

Gregory Rest '95 tells us that "for the last 21 1/2 years I have been working for the Virginia legislature's investigative arm, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC). I oversee the conceptualization, research design, data collection, and quantitative analysis of all performance audits, program evaluations, and policy analyses of JLARC. I also review all internal working documents and final drafts of reports of JLARC."

"I guess I'm not a typical PRGS alumnus, because I do not claim to specialize in one particular substantive policy area. I go wherever directed by the Virginia legislature, and over the years that has included areas such as K-12 public education and higher education, health policy, transportation, public finance , public safety and corrections (including inmate population forecasting), environmental policy, and economic development."

Mark Perry '95 is currently employed in the San Antonio, TX office of the Altarum Institute, a NFP health policy consulting firm. Mark is a Senior Health Policy Analyst and Practice Area Deputy, with responsibility for several Defense Health Program-related contracts.

Samantha Ravich '96 is the Deputy National Security Advisor to Vice President Cheney. "My portfolio includes counter-terrorism, counter-proliferation, Middle East, Asia and Western Hemisphere affairs. I provide policy advice and recommendations to Vice President Cheney on these matters, represent the Office of the Vice President in the interagency and abroad on relevant topics, and manage the National Security Affairs office in OVP."

Jeff Luck '96 sends this update: "I recently returned to the private sector from academia, as a Director at Sg2, a healthcare intelligence, education, and consulting firm based in Chicago. I still live in LA, though. I lead the Tomorrow's Hospital program at Sg2, as well as the firm's work in informatics, and also am helping develop new initiatives in performance measurement. Quite simply, I use my RGS training daily, in all aspects of my work. I retain a part time appointment as Associate Professor of Health Services at the UCLA School of Public Health."

John Stillion '99 reports that "I am currently working at RAND. I am based in the DC office, but often work from home (one of the great things about RAND and the internet!). For the past 7 years I have been leading large RAND projects in Project Air Force and will be doing that again next year. There is no better preparation for working at RAND than PRGS, and I find the skills learned there - especially the ability to structure problems - invaluable both at work and in other areas of my life."

Meredith Kilgore '04 is an Assistant Professor at the University of Alabama School of Public Health, and also serves as Director of the School's Outcomes Research Training Program. His current research focuses on health policy (e.g. Medicare and Medicaid financing for health services, Malpractice law) and also work on burden of disease and outcomes research.

Alison Jacknowitz '04 received the American University School of Public Affairs Award for Outstanding Teaching in a Full-Time Appointment in 2005-2006. Alison is an Assistant Professor at AU, and she conducts research on issues related to poverty, income and food assistance programs, health outcomes, the elderly, and children and families.

Lieutenant Colonel Steve Kiser '04 notes, "I currently work in the Pentagon, on the Chairman of the Joint Staff's staff. I'm the Chief of Joint Targeting Policy and Doctrine, which is a job that basically writes the regulations and policy for the way the Department of Defense plans for and conducts targeting operations during wartime and crises."

After consulting on his own for a year after graduating, David Groves '05, rejoined RAND as an Associate Policy Researcher in fall 2006. He continues to work on long-term policy questions such as how to best manage water resources in the face of climate change in California and how the US Army Corps of Engineers should improve their analytic approach to better address uncertainties about future hurricane risks in Louisiana. He and his wife, Misti, are also the ecstatic new parents of Isadora (Izzie) Mae Groves (born on February 5).

Bryce Mason '05 is Director of Policy Analysis in the Chancellor's Office at the University of California, Riverside. He reports that, "I do all sorts of institutional research and program evaluations for the senior management on campus. I also maintain certain key communications between UC Office of the President and our campus, as well as some between the administration and the divisional Senate." Bryce is also involved in planning for UC Riverside's new medical school.

Sai Ma and Gordon Bitko

Sai Ma and Gordon Bitko

Gordon Bitko '06 sends this update: "I am a Management & Program Analyst in the Corporate Policy Office of the FBI, at FBI HQ. I have played a part in the development of the FBI's new compliance program, and is also engaged in the development of several other FBI-wide policies, pertaining to Information Sharing between the FBI and other government agencies."

And speaking of Gordon's engagements, he and Sai Ma '07 became Mr. and Mrs. (or Dr. and Dr.) on September 2, 2007 in Brookeville, Maryland. Sai is an Assistant Scientist at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. PRGS classmates Han De Vries and Florencia Jauriguiberry were in attendance, as well as Assistant Dean Alex Duke and RAND Research Assistant Molly Scott. Amber Moreen '07 was unable to attend: she and husband Sean O'Connor are expecting their first child in less than a month, so Amber was unable to fly.

Major Brian Maue '06 is an Assistant Professor of Management at the United States Air Force Academy, teaching three sections of the Management Survey Course each semester, mostly to 2nd year cadets. Out of the classroom, Brian is an advisor to 20+ Cadets on Academics, with the occasional spillover to life-altering decisions.

Let Other Alums Know What You Are Up To

Send us a class note, or just update your contact information - please be sure to include your name, graduation year, current contact information and, if available, a recent photo. Please send to

Dissertations from Recent Alums

Akramov, Kamiljon '06, Governance and Foreign Aid Allocation
Kamil is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute

Andreyeva, Tatiana '06, An International Comparison of Obesity in Older Adults: Effects and Risk Factors
Tania is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, Yale University

Bitko, Gordon '06, RFID in the Retail Sector: A Methodology for Analysis of Policy Proposals and Their Implications for Privacy, Economic Efficiency and Security
Gordon is a Management and Policy Analyst, Federal Bureau of Investigation

Brown, Abigail '06, Private Firms Working in the Public Interest: Is the Financial Statement Audit Broken?
Abby is a Post Doctoral Fellow at the University of Technology, Sydney

Fonkych, Kateryna '06, Adoption of Clinical IT among Healthcare Providers: Strategies and Policies
Katya is a Health Fellow at the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute, University of Southern California

Fulton, Brent '06, Incorporating Traffic Enforcement Racial Profiling Analyses into Police Department Early Intervention Systems
Brent is a Health Services Researcher at the Petris Center at UC Berkeley

Hill, Owen '06, Planning Future Aircraft Modifications. Assessing the Current State of Air Force Aircraft Modifications and Implications for Future Military Capability
Owen is an Associate at Resource Land Holdings

Gatune Kariuki, Julius '06, Navigating the Information Revolution: Choices for Laggard Countries
Julius is an Associate Consultant at McKinsey and Co.

Ma, Sai '07, A Good Start In Life: Revisiting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Outcomes at and After Birth
Sai is an Assistant Scientist at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University

Mahnovski, Sergej '06, Robust Decisions and Deep Uncertainty: An Application of Real Options to Public and Private Investment in Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Associate
Sergej is an Associate at Cambridge Energy Research Associates

Malik, Rehan '07, Improving Decision-making Systems for Public Primary Education in Pakistan
Rehan is a Consultant with Deloitte Consulting LLP

Maue, Brian '06, Active for the Air Force or the Airlines: An Analysis of Reserve Pilot Pay & Retention
Brian is an Assistant Professor of Management at the US Air Force Academy

Moreen, Amber '06, Overcoming the "Resource Curse"

Mukherji, Arnab '06, Evaluating Policy Choices for Agrarian Households in Semi-Arid Tropics
Arnab is an Assistant Professor at Center for Policy Studies, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore

Osama, Athar '06, Multi-Attribute Strategy & Performance Architectures in R&D: The Case of the Balanced Scorecard
Athar is a Senior Executive at ANGLE Technology Group

Rhodes, Hilary '07, Confronting the Challenges of Student Engagement: A Case Study of a School-Based Intervention
Hilary is a Research Fellow, K-12 Urban Education at the University of Pennsylvania Center for High Impact Philanthropy

Rohozynsky, Oleksandr '07, Developing a Safety Net for Ukraine
Alex is at The QED Group, LLC

Rosen, Brian '06, From the Outside In: Shaping the International Criminal Court

Taningco, Maria-Teresa '06, Assessing the Effects of Parental Decisions About School Type and Involvement on Early Elementary Education
Teresa is a Health Fellow at the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute, University of Southern California

Tian, Haijun '06, The Relationship between Depression and Employment Outcomes: Evidences from HRS and HCC
Haijun is a Health Services Researcher at Health Benchmarks, Inc.

Timilsina, Anga '07, Getting the Policies Right: The Prioritization and Sequencing of Policies in Post-Conflict Countries
Anga is a Research Analyst for the United Nations Development Programme's Bureau for Development Policy Democratic Governance Group

Vlachos-Dengler, Katia '07, Carry that Weight: Improving European Strategic Airlift Capabilities

Wang, Jason '06, Determinants of Enrollment in Publicly-Funded Early Childhood Interventions, And The Quality of Care For Children Born Very Low Birth Weight: Analysis of An Integrated State Data System From South Carolina
Jason is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Public Health, Boston Medical Center and Boston Universityu

Wong, Yuna '06, Ignoring the Innocent: Non-combatants in Urban Operations and in Military Models and Simulations
Yuna is a Senior Studies Analyst at the Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) Sign Up for Lifeline Email Forwarding!

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