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 email@example.com.
In this issue . . .
Message from the Dean
Happy New Year! Even better, this year marks PRGS's 40th anniversary—40 years of training great minds to think outside the box, to go beyond analysis and dig hard to develop real-world solutions to the most challenging problems facing our nation and the world. Our theme for this 40th anniversary year is "Be the answer" — a message we are sending to our current students and our PRGS alumni. Take what you've learned and not only identify the problem but start fixing it. Our goal for each of our entering cohorts is to build upon your legacy and foster every PRGS graduate's desire to use what they've learned to lead change and follow careers that put them in the position of being game-changers, to make a difference.
As part of our focus on alumni at the 40th anniversary, we will be announcing a new alumni member of the PRGS Board of Governors at the celebration on June 11. Many of you will remember that Susan Way-Smith served well and faithfully in this position. You will find in this issue of Findings a call for nominations of an alumni board member. Please look back to your time at the school and carefully consider who amongst you could contribute to building the future of PRGS in this critical position.
I wanted to catch you up on a new initiative I described in my previous message (Findings, Fall 2009)—the PRGS Washington, D.C. Experience, a program that will give select students a five-month opportunity to participate in professional development activities and work out of RAND's Washington office with federal clients and other organizations. We've just completed our selection process and the first four students will start the program this summer: Eileen Hlavka, Elizabeth Wilke, Chris Sharon, and Xiao Wang. As we establish the Washington program, we will be investigating the possibility of building similar programs at the state and regional level over the next five years. If you are interested in acting as a home-stay host to any of our D.C. Experience students, please contact Kathi Webb at Katharine_Webb@rand.org. A small housing stipend will be provided.
I'll close by reminding you once again about the 40th anniversary celebration on June 11, followed by commencement on June 12. All alumni will be invited and strongly encouraged to attend both events.
All best wishes,
Career Services Advisory Committee—A New Point of Pride at PRGS
The school year began in September with a new resource for students—career services. Ira Krinsky, who comes with many years of recruiting from Korn/Ferry International, is the lead of career services at PRGS; he is available to meet with students one day a week in the Santa Monica RAND office to discuss career options, interviewing skills, resume writing, etc. In addition to career counseling, a student-led Career Services Advisory Committee (CSAC) is hard at work providing events geared towards career development. The students on this committee come from backgrounds with diverse work experiences and career goals, yet they share a common commitment: to provide their fellow students with resources that will prepare them for a career in academia, the public sector, or the private sector.
Since the inception of career services, the committee has organized one large event and a few small events, all of which were very well attended. "How to Give a Job-Talk" was a large event comprised of panelists both inside and outside of RAND in various sectors and at different career stages. The panelists offered "inside" advice for those currently on the job market as well as suggestions for students at the beginning of their PRGS career. Following the panel discussion students were offered the opportunity to speak with the panelists in small group settings that focused on academic or non-academic job markets. The smaller events, coined "Café Events," offered students the opportunity to hear about career paths of alumni and other professionals in the policy arena. These events allow students to learn more about the intricacies of particular organizations, such as the World Bank, and options to enter unique markets like government agencies. CSAC looks forward to welcoming many more alums to speak about their careers and participate as panelists in upcoming events!
To date, we have been in touch with roughly 650 potential candidates via email, phone, and in-person communication. Of this group, 575 have submitted online pre-applications. This exceeds the number of pre-applications we received last year. Each pre-applicant has received a personal response with preliminary feedback of his or her qualifications. We have met 65 potential candidates in person, at various information sessions held at PRGS, at policy schools such as Goldman and Woodrow Wilson, and at our Pittsburgh office. On December 12th, we hosted our final information sessions; one at PRGS and the other in our D.C. office.
So far, we have 131 applications submitted online, from 24 different countries, with 85 complete applications in circulation with our Admissions Committee. Our priority deadline was January 7th and the final deadline is February 4th. The committee will make its final decisions by mid February and begin the notification process the week of February 22nd.
I will keep you posted via Findings as the profile of our next PRGS cohort begins to take shape. In the meantime, I look forward to meeting those of you who can attend at our January 21st Alumni Reception here at PRGS!
Footnote from a Fellow: The Last First Day of School
September 14, 2009 reminded me of another September morning long ago—though warmer because this is Southern California—when I was headed off to Kindergarten. New clothes, new bag, excitement, trepidation—of course, I didn't know the word trepidation back then so I probably would have characterized that emotion as fear—all the feelings were the same.
Arriving at RAND that morning, I even went through the typical "first-day shuffle" of asking others who they were while desperately trying to remember their names: thankfully PRGS had name placards, where they're from, what they're interested in, all the while trying to figure out the really important question: who will I sit next to in the classroom. Will they want to sit next to me? One must be strategic in classroom placement I tell myself: the wrong placement could put me in countless unknown, unforeseen disasters of my imagination's making!
What a good feeling though, being back in school and learning. Being able to explore new thoughts and concepts, constantly learn, and come home with an impressive array of information that can wow anyone; though I have not succeeded in getting any of my work posted on the refrigerator yet. The quarter never let up—lots of information, time getting to know cohort-mates, and dealing with the obstacles like problem sets, midterms, and finals together.
But, now that the quarter is finally done, I have my answer to the one silent, nagging question from that first day: So, in this intense schedule, when is it nap time?
Hands-on Learning: A Fellow's Time in D.C.
Sarah Gaillot, current fifth-year fellow, spent this fall at the National Academies' Institute of Medicine as a Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Graduate Fellow. She was one of 26 graduate students and post-docs selected for this program, which included science and technology policy briefings and field trips, as well as work on National Academies projects.
During her time in D.C., Sarah worked on a consensus report that examined the qualifications of professionals providing mental health counseling services under TRICARE, the Department of Defense's health care services plan for military members and their families. As part of this work, she had the opportunity to participate in Committee deliberations, assist the Committee and staff with research requests, and draft sections of the report related to mental health counseling policies and quality of care.
Having worked on numerous military health policy projects while at RAND and having a dissertation focused on mental health services, this experience served as a unique opportunity for Sarah to continue to expand her knowledge of these topics and build her professional network in Washington, D.C.
Alumni Representation on PRGS Board of Governors
The PRGS Board of Governors is currently seeking nominations from the alumni community for a representative to serve on the PRGS Board. Members are recruited from across political and geographic spectrums, and from both the public and private sectors.
The PRGS Board of Governors makes recommendations to the Dean of PRGS and the President of RAND on issues and questions regarding the school. It convenes three times a year to review the School's plans and monitor its progress; each Governor is expected to participate in at least two meetings per year in Santa Monica.
The essential criteria for every Board candidate and Governor are: demonstrated leadership, personal distinction, practical experience, deep involvement with public policy issues, and a commitment to support PRGS both financially and through direct participation in BoG and School activities.
If you wish to learn more, submit your name for consideration or recommend fellow alumni, please contact Maura Krah at Maura_Krah@rand.org or call 310-393-0422, extension 6505.
January 21st — Los Angeles PRGS Alumni Reception (RSVP to Lida_Jennings@rand.org)
Staying Connected: Alumni Visits
PRGS would like to invite all alumni to consider stopping by to visit with current students, faculty, and staff. If you have plans to be in the Los Angeles area and would be interested in visiting the school or giving a presentation on current research or policy topics, please contact Jennifer Prim at Jennifer_Prim@rand.org. Recent visits include the following:
Connor Spreng '05 visited on October 5, 2009, and participated in an Alumni Café Event where he talked with current fellows about life after PRGS and his work at the World Bank. Connor also spent time answering questions fellows had about seeking employment at the Bank and other international organizations.
Scott Pace '88 visited on December 14, 2009, and spoke with current fellows about his career experiences and accomplishment since finishing his Ph.D. In particular, Scott discussed working for the various administrations, including the current administration and relevant transition issues.
The latest news on PRGS alums, fellows, and faculty can be found at www.prgs.edu. We want to know what you're up to so send us your news!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nine PRGS fellows have recently joined the alumni ranks. To them we offer our heartfelt congratulations!
Dissertations not linked below will be available soon at www.rand.org/pubs/rgs_dissertations/.
Lindsay Daugherty, Child Care Choices of Hispanic Families: Why Aren't Families Using Center Care?
Michael Egner, Between Slogans and Solutions: A Frame-Based Assessment Methodology for Public Diplomacy
Meena Fernandes, Evaluating the Impact of School Nutrition and Physical Activity Policies on Child Health
Qian Gu, Self-Employment among Older Workers: Assistance Programs, Liquidity Constraints and Employment Patterns
Thomas Lang, Defining and Evaluating Reliable Options for Overseas Combat Support Basing
Ying Liu, Three Essays on Hypertension Prevention and Medical Product Safety in China and the United States
Yang Lu, Three Essays on Health Behaviors and the Need for New Policy
David Trinkle, A Vehicle for Change: PNGV, An Experiment in Government-Industry Cooperation
Nailing Xia, Family Factors and Student Outcomes
We need your help in locating our "lost" alumni. Do you have up-to-date contact information for any of the following?
We know you have opinions, and we'd like to hear from you. Just drop a line to email@example.com.
Please include your full name and hometown. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.