PRGS Alumni Newsletter, Findings

WINTER 2008/2009

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

In this issue . . .

Susan L. Marquis Selected as Fourth Dean of the Pardee RAND Graduate School

Susan L. MarquisSusan L. Marquis, a former senior Pentagon official and government management expert, will become the new dean of the Pardee RAND Graduate School (PRGS) in January 2009. She will also hold the Distinguished Chair in Policy Analysis at RAND.

"Susan has had an impressive and diverse career that will certainly prove valuable to RAND and to the graduate school," said Jim Thomson, RAND Corporation president and CEO. "We're extraordinarily pleased to have her as our new dean and look forward to the many contributions she will make to the school, its students, and RAND at large."

James Q. Wilson, a member of the school's Board of Governors, said, "Susan's lifelong dedication to public service provides an excellent example to our students as they begin to consider where their careers will take them."

Since 2002, Marquis has served as corporate officer and operational vice president of LMI, a nonprofit government consulting firm based in McLean, Virginia, that is dedicated to improving public management. In that capacity, she was responsible for developing and managing the resource management practice; was the lead officer for corporate thought leadership and outreach, brand definition, and enhancement; and led strategic recruiting efforts.

According to Marquis, "This is a unique opportunity to combine my longtime beliefs in public service, public service education, and the importance of developing the next generation of public policy analysts. PRGS students get to be part of an intellectual community that doesn't just write about problems but actually helps the government and other clients solve those problems."

From 1997 to 2002, Marquis was with the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, first as the deputy director of the Assessment Division, and then as assistant deputy chief of naval operations (resources, requirements, and assessments). In the latter capacity, she helped lead the development of the U.S. Navy's strategic plan and multiyear budget of $100 billion a year.

She twice served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. From 1994 to 1997, she served as director of the Planning and Analytic Support Division and as director of the Information Management and Analysis Group. From 1989 to 1994, she was an operations research analyst. From 1987 to 1989, she was a program analyst for the Army Chief of Staff.

Marquis currently is a member of the advisory council of Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and is currently serving on the school's Task Force on the Changing Nature of Public Service. She has authored numerous articles as well as the book Unconventional Warfare: Rebuilding U.S. Special Operations Forces, published by the Brookings Institution Press.

Marquis has a bachelor's degree in history from Rutgers College, and master's and doctorate degrees in public and international affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

U.S. Culture and Politics Boot Camp

Pardee Graduate School boot camp participants and their guests enjoy a summer afternoon outdoors
Boot campers and their friends and family enjoyed an afternoon picnic at Will Rogers State Park in Santa Monica

International fellows arrived in Santa Monica early this year to take part in PRGS's first U.S. Language and Culture Workshop, a weeklong orientation program designed to boost their odds of success in the Ph.D. program.

Although admitted international students have historically scored high on standardized English proficiency tests, many have expressed interest in improving their informal language skills. Some fellows have had difficulty finding on-the-job training (OJT); others are reluctant to speak up in class or are unable to forge the kind of working relationships with RAND staff members that produce a successful dissertation.

John Graham, the school's former dean, suggested the special orientation for international fellows and the program was supported with RAND internal investment funds and a generous donation from PRGS board member Gurminder S. Bedi.

The September workshop, or "boot camp," combined tailored English instruction with a review of U.S. institutions and a primer on RAND's internal culture. Students spent their mornings learning about the U.S. Constitution and the workings of the federal government with Interim Dean Molly Selvin. They spent afternoons with Mary Ann Murphy, an English as a Second Language (ESL) instructor who has worked at USC and UCLA, on such skills as email etiquette, vocabulary and pronunciation, informal workplace conversation, and interviewing.

Eight of the nine entering international fellows attended (the Canadian student was exempted) along with three fellows from earlier classes who were encouraged to attend. Three teaching assistants—fellows Sarah Gaillot, Sara Hajiamiri, and Andres Villamizar—participated in all class sessions and worked one-on-one with the new students.

To maximize their cultural and linguistic immersion, fellows lived with RAND staff members who graciously opened their homes for the week. The host families were included at the opening dinner and the barbeque that ended the week.

In their responses to class surveys as well as informal reactions, "boot campers" said the program was a success.

"I almost didn't realize I was sitting in the classroom all day long," said first-year fellow Alessandro Malchiodi from Italy. "I was deepening my knowledge of the U.S. Constitution and political system, and my English was improving in a very personalized and interactive way," he added.

PRGS administrators are currently evaluating the survey responses and other input, with an eye toward offering the program again next fall.

Politics Aside Weekend

The Politics Aside weekend (November 14–16) engaged philanthropists, opinion leaders, current and former government officials, and RAND research experts in a three-day, post-election exploration of the world's most pressing challenges. The event also celebrated RAND's legacy and 60-year anniversary as an independent nonprofit institution.

In the wake of much punditry and podium pounding, Politics Aside invited people from across the political spectrum to take a fresh look at issues that need to be tackled at home and abroad in the months and years ahead.

The weekend activities began on Friday evening at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles with a light supper and panel discussion in the museum's Billy Wilder Theater. Former White House chiefs of staff Andrew H. Card, Jr., and Thomas F. "Mack" McLarty shared their candid observations about the role of the White House chief of staff and the challenges and opportunities ahead at this time of presidential transition in an exchange moderated by former RANDite Paul Light of the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University. The two former chiefs observed the spirit of the weekend by offering substance on policy and process in a genial and nonpartisan manner.

On Saturday, guests convened at RAND's Santa Monica office for a series of panel discussions featuring policymakers and RAND researchers. Topics included the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; aging societies; alternative energy; public service; global security; Russia and the West; health care reform; immigration; and poverty and class in America.

testtesttesttesttest test


Each panel was coordinated with assistance from a PRGS fellow; participating fellows were Ricardo Basurto, Diana Epstein, John Fei, Sarah Gaillot, Eileen Hlavka, Ben Kim, Russell Lundberg, Aaron Martin, Sarah Olmstead, Ethan Scherer, Brooke Stearns Lawson, and Artur Usanov.

First-hand account from Ethan Scherer, second-year fellow, who participated in the event

The goal of the weekend was to bring together experts from a wide variety of areas to discuss emerging topics for our nation in an objective and analytic fashion. The weekend opened with the perfect topic: the transition of presidential administrations. It was less than two weeks after Obama team claimed victory in the midst of one of our country's greatest economic crises. Who better to discuss these complexities than two former transitioning chiefs of staff, Andy Card and Thomas "Mack" McLarty? Despite their stark political differences, the discussants generally agreed on the important elements and factors of a presidential transition, with insights that only someone in their position could have provided.

The theme of common ground extended to the panel that I helped prepare on Saturday, on preventing a permanent underclass in America. It was a great opportunity for me to meet people like renowned academic and author James Q. Wilson, whose books I had read while working on my master's degree. Despite some differences of opinion on how the dynamics of the economy were changing, the panelists came together to endorse high-quality services for families with children between the ages of 0 and 5. Both the audience and the panelists engaged in a lively discussion to address an extremely complex issue and identify potential actionable options. Saturday ended on the perfect note, with a plenary dialogue in the Forum that brought together four former international heads of state to assess the new global agenda. Overall, it was an amazing experience.

Making It Happen: Turning Analysis into Policy

Over the last few months, PRGS hosted a number of current and former policymakers as part of a brownbag series called "Making It Happen: Turning Analysis into Policy." Interim Dean Molly Selvin organized the series on the premise that while PRGS fellows learn sophisticated quantitative tools, the ineffable factors that make a good policymaker or political leader are hard to teach. Sometimes the best way to learn, she believes, is by hearing how others have done it—where they have succeeded and failed. Selvin reached out to PRGS alumni and local policymakers; and throughout the fall of 2008, PRGS hosted the following speakers:

  • Elan Melamid, a 2001 PRGS graduate who has held management positions in child welfare agencies in New York City and Los Angeles County
  • Herb Schultz, Governor Schwarzenegger's senior health care advisor; and Elizabeth Forer, executive director of the Venice Family Clinic
  • Phil Romero, a 1988 PRGS graduate, former chief economist to Governor Pete Wilson, and now dean of the College of Business and Economics at California State University, Los Angeles
  • Andy Lipkis, founder and president of TreePeople, whose current focus is on getting Los Angeles–area agencies to work together on sustainability and cost-benefit projects related to water supply, air quality, flood control, and the urban forest.

Additional speakers are scheduled for December and we're eager to hear from PRGS alumni interested in sharing their real-world policy experiences with current fellows.

APPAM Conference

PRGS—along with the University of Southern California; the University of California, Los Angeles, and Pepperdine University—hosted the 30th Annual Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) Conference in November 2008 at the Wilshire Grand Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. PRGS hosted a reception for students, alumni, RAND staffers, and guests. Several of our students and alumni participated:

  • Qian Gu, along with RAND researchers Lynn Karoly and Julie Zissimopoulos, presented their paper on Self-Employment at Older Ages: Financial Liquidity, Household Wealth, and Retirement Assets
  • Yang Lu presented The Effects of Food Prices on Individual Body Weight and Body Composition: Evidence from China (1991–2006)
  • Sarah Gaillot presented a poster on An Outcomes Evaluation of the Spirituality for Kids Program
  • Arkadipta Ghosh presented a poster on The Effect of Land Reforms and Long Reforms on Long-Term Health and Well-Being in India.

Serving as session discussants were current students Zoe Cullen, Seo Yeon Hong, and Xiaoyan Li. At a special PRGS table, attendees were able to review current RAND literature and purchase RAND publications. Approximately 800 people attended, and RAND's presence was prominent, with a photo of PRGS on the cover of the conference program.

New Director of Development

Maura Ann Krah joined PRGS as the new Director of Development in November 2008. A veteran fund-raiser, Maura's expertise is in building and expanding major gifts strategies, launching campaigns, and implementing effective fund-raising programs.

She comes to us most recently from Otis College of Art and Design, where she served as Director of Major Gifts. Prior to that, she was affiliated with Southern California Public Radio, where she was the Manager of Major Gifts from 2003 to 2006. From 1998 to 2003, Maura launched national programs for the Arthritis Foundation as a senior vice president for the Southern California Chapter. She has served on the Board of Governors for The Groundlings, Los Angeles.

Maura holds a B.A. from Catawba College in Salisbury, North Carolina

Alumni Update

Gordon Bitko '06 visited PRGS on November 18 to speak to interested fellows about opportunities with the FBI in general, and of the need for policy professionals in the Corporate Policy Office in particular. Gordon shared how network connections with RAND researchers helped him secure his current position. He and his wife Sai Ma '07 are expecting their first child in March.

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

James Griffin, Improving Cost-Effectiveness and Mitigating Risks of Renewable Energy Requirements

Read moreFull document

In December 2008, James accepted a position as assistant researcher at the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Jane McClure Burstain, Adolescent Mothers Involved in the Child Welfare System in Los Angeles: Who Are They and How Can We Help Them?

Read moreFull document

In September 2008, Jane accepted a position as senior policy analyst at the Center for Public Policy Priorities in Austin, Texas.

Bogdan Savych, Effects of Deployments on Spouses of Military Personnel

Read moreFull document

In September 2008, Bogdan began working as a public policy analyst with Workers Compensation Research Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Yuhui Zheng, Economic Determinants of Obesity Among Older Americans

Read moreFull document

Yuhui is a postdoctoral fellow, under the guidance of Dana Goldman, director of the Health Economics, Organization, and Finance Program within RAND Health.

Dissertation Awards

In September 2008, PRGS held its annual dissertation award competition. Thirty-five proposals—an all-time high—were submitted for consideration. More important, thanks to the generosity of PRGS board members, friends, and alumni, PRGS was able to award nearly $450,000 in dissertation grants to 27 fellows on dissertation status.

Cazier Award in Sustainability

An award to Sara Hajiamiri
Toward a Sustainable Transportation Sector: With an Eye to Fuel Efficiency Trade-Off and Plug-in Hybrids

Energy and Environment Dissertation Awards

An award to Myles Collins
Conservation in the Face of Climate Change: Robust Policies for Managing California Forests to Prevent Massive Tree Die-Off

An award to Ryan Keefe
Balancing Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the Transportation Sector: An Evaluation of California's AB 32 Strategy

The Kip and Mary Ann Hagopian Dissertation Awards

An award to Liz Brown
The Role of Entrepreneurship in Poverty Alleviation

An award to Jack Clift
Workplace Flexibility for Older Workers

An award to Sarah Gaillot
Disentangling Disparities in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

An award to Ben Kim
Pharmacogenomics, Patients, and Public Health: Improving Outcomes Through Evaluation of Individualized Drug Treatment to Targeted Populations

An award to Xiaohui Zhuo
Improving Health Care for Chronic Kidney Disease

JL (Jim Lovelace) Foundation Awards

An award to Lindsay Daugherty
Child Care Choices of Hispanic Families: Why Aren't Families Enrolling Children in Child Care?

An award to Meena Fernandes
Child Health and Welfare: Can School Policies Make a Difference?

The Frederick S. Pardee Multi-Nation Regional Analysis Dissertation Fellowships

An award to Sarah Olmstead
Addressing Water Security, Economic Development, and Climate Change in Central Asia

An award to Jeff Tanner
International Labor Flows: Long-Run Effects of Migrating to the United States on Mexican Migrants and Their Families

The Eugene Rosenfeld Dissertation Awards

An award to John Fei
The Responses of Asian States to China's Rise

An award to Qiufei Ma
Financial Resources, Living Arrangements, and Private Transfers Within the Family

An award to Alisher Akhmedjonov
Building Knowledge Economies: Challenges and Opportunities for Transition Countries in Central Asia

An award to Liz Brown
Examining the Role of Entrepreneurship in Poverty Alleviation

The Anne and James Rothenberg Dissertation Awards

An award to Emre Erkut
Is the Financial Institution a Different Corporate Animal? Agency Problems and Corporate Governance in the Securities Industry

An award to Anna-Marie Vilamovska
Improving Health Care Quality and Efficiency with Radio Frequency Identification Technology

An award to Seo Yeon Hong
Dynamics of Long-Term Care Utilization and Insurance Decisions

An award to Ying Liu
Drug Safety, Aging, and Public Health in China and the United States

An award to Zoe Cullen
Understanding and Addressing Trends in Pain and Disability

An award to Jordan Fischbach
Planning for an Unknown Storm: Managing Flood Risk in New Orleans in an Uncertain Future

The Paul A. Volcker Dissertation Award

An award to Bryan Tysinger
Using Ex-Military to Address Demographic Problems in the Department of Defense's Civilian Acquisition Workforce

The Susan Way-Smith Seed Money Grant in Education

An award to Richard Bowman
Smaller Learning Communities

PRGS Seed Money Grants

An award to Claudia Diaz
Looking Ahead: Retirement Decisions in a Fragmented Labor Market

An award to Chris McLaren
Products Liability, Workers' Compensation, and Emerging Technology Risk

An award to Silvia Montoya
Analyzing the Impact of High School Tracking on Students' Outcomes

An award to Helen Wu
Do Trans Fat Bans Work? An Analysis of the Effectiveness of Food Policy Reforms in Promoting Dietary Improvement

PRGS Softball Ends Rollercoaster Season, Says So Long (and Thanks) to Manager

Colonel Gayton throws a pitch in softball A shorthanded So Long and Thanks for All the OJT (The John Graham Farewell Tour) romped to victory in its final game of the summer season, defeating congenial foes Fun with Dick and Jane by a score of 19-7. In an unprecedented offensive explosion, the team racked up 17 hits and one extra-base walk to carry recently promoted pitcher COL S. Jamie Gayton (pictured at left) to his third win of the season, despite giving up seven unearned runs. The team received strong support from the baking of managerial spouse Alexandra "Team Mom" Clift, whose caramel apple rum cupcakes marked her 11th extra-taste hit in 11 sweet-plate appearances.

However, the team missed out on the playoffs by a single game after a heartbreaking 7-5 loss to close rival Hair of the Dog. Although the team was the winningest in PRGS history, manager Jack "Tito" Clift expressed mixed emotions in his final press briefing of the season.

"Despite the 'sympathy' extended by the press and our critics, I am proud of our performance. We've drafted and trained several novice players, never making experience or team tenure a prerequisite for playing time," Clift said. "But this is a game of results. We have .500-level talent and a .250 record. Numbers don't lie, but they certainly say unflattering things about my performance as manager. I owe it to the team's loyal fan [RANDite Jennifer Prim] to end the speculation about my position with the club and let the team make a fresh start with someone else at the helm."

Following the "shock" resignation, Chris "Red" McLaren was installed as interim manager and immediately pledged that the team would finish "in at least the same standing [next season] . . . as we did this season." The appointment represents a shot at redemption for McLaren, who, despite leading the team in on-base percentage (.765), played in eight of the team's nine losses last season and none of its three wins.

In other team news, PRGS fellow Brandon "Duesy" Dues, sent down to the RAND Sharks to practice multitasking wit and softball under noted expert Benson Wong, saved the Sharks from a disappointing early playoff exit in the Santa Monica men's C– league with a final-inning, two-out, three-run home run in a 12-10 victory over Herd 2, bringing So Long and Thanks for All the OJT's characteristic clutch hitting to the team after it was down to its last out.

Entering the off-season, veteran players remained philosophical about the future. The team's all-time at-bat and spiritual leader Diana "Deps" Epstein invoked Walt Whitman in summing up the mood of the team: "We see great things in softball. It's our game, the American game. It will repair our losses and be a blessing to us."

Recent Issues of Policy Insight

Brian A. Weatherford and Henry H. Willis
Getting America Back on Track: U.S. Public Policy on Railroads
Volume 2, Issue 5, December 2008

Read moreFull document

David K. Evans and Arkadipta Ghosh
The Cost-Effectiveness of Education Interventions in Poor Countries
Volume 2, Issue 4, August 2008

Read moreFull document Sign Up for Lifetime Email Forwarding!

Want to make sure that PRGS/RAND friends and colleagues can always find you? Sign up for a free lifetime email forwarding and keep "" permanently attached to your name.

By signing up, PRGS will automatically forward all e-mail sent to your "" address to a current email account that you designate. As you change jobs, addresses, and Internet access providers, your PRGS alumni address will remain constant so that fellow alums, RAND staffers, friends, business associates, and family will always be able to reach you.

To sign up, please contact Mary Parker at PRGS (

Subjectively Speaking

We know you have opinions, and we'd like to hear from you. Just drop a line to

Please include your full name and hometown. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

Previous Issues


We respect your privacy. If you wish to manage your subscription for this periodic newsletter, please visit

Copyright © 2008 RAND Corporation. 1776 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401-3208. RAND® is a registered trademark.
TEL (310) 393-0411 x7690
FAX (310) 451-6978

You can view this newsletter at the RAND PRGS web site: