Pardee RAND Graduate School Findings Alumni Newsletter, Spring 2015

Findings Newsletter

Spring 2015

Message from the Dean

Susan L. Marquis

In This Issue

  • Message from the Dean

  • Featured Course: Cyber 101

  • Around Campus

    Tweet Tweet! • Welcoming Our Harold Brown Faculty-in-Residence • Efron Visits Kenya for Dissertation • Pollak Awarded "Blue Jacket of the Year" • Student Publications

  • Catching Up with Alumni

    New Jobs! • Alumni Visit, Speak with Students • Alumni in the News (and Journals and Blogs...) • Our Newest Alumni

  • Events

    L.A. Policy Symposium • Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner with the Dean • Networking Mixer

Summertime, and the living’s easy…..Oh, wait! Life doesn’t seem to be settling down at Pardee RAND. As you’ll see from this issue of Findings, there’s a whole lot going on. That buzz in the courtyard is from our students spending time with our first in-residence Brown Faculty Fellow, Professor Dave Baiocchi. Dave is an optical engineer at RAND who works on science and technology policy, remote sensing, space policy, and innovation and organizations. He’s now paved the way for our next two Faculty Fellows, Professors Beau Kilmer and Aimee Curtright. Each of these Faculty Fellows will spend just short of a month at the school meeting with students and working on their own projects outside of RAND’s client-sponsored work. It’s a new opportunity for students and faculty to spend time together and discover the world outside of the classroom or project meetings.

As you look through this issue, I’d also like to draw your attention to great opportunities we continue to have for our students and alumni to get together and even work together. In addition to alumni visits to the school, alumnus Julius Gatune is now working with Pardee RAND students and faculty on projects in tackling different aspects of increasing food security in sub-Saharan Africa.

Finally, I’d like to highlight our alumni who are reaching beyond the traditional research paper to give us food for thought. Silvia Montoya blogged about girls in Africa for the World Bank. Jack Riley inspired new graduates as the commencement speaker for the University of Pennsylvania’s criminal justice department. Arthur Brooks took his own inspiration for public policy from Andy Warhol’s celebration of the “boring.” And, Jeffrey Wasserman reflected on his father, life, and risks.

Now, get reading and get thinking!

Susan Marquis

typing on computer keyboard

Featured Course: Cyber 101

This spring, among the nine new courses this academic year, Pardee RAND offered an elective course in quantitative methods, Cyber 101: Fundamental Concepts of Security and Risks in Cyberspace.

With data breaches, digital currencies, and cyberespionage increasingly making headlines, the course examines some fundamental concepts in technology, risk, and the challenges for policymaking in the cyber domain. Cyber 101 is designed to engage students with both technical and nontechnical backgrounds and is being taught by professors Lillian Ablon and Josh Baron.

@PardeeRAND on Twitter

Around Campus

Tweet Tweet!

In an effort to engage with a broader audience, Pardee RAND is now on Twitter. If you are too, be sure to follow @PardeeRAND to see our updates about campus, student, faculty, and alumni activities — we'll follow you in return.

If you're not on Twitter, simply visit the Pardee RAND homepage: the top-right sidebar includes all the news that's fit to share in 140 characters or less.

Dave Baiocchi Takes Up Residence as Harold & Coleen Brown Faculty Fellow

Baiocchi and students

Baiocchi (left, seated) speaks with students at afternoon tea

Professor Dave Baiocchi, the inaugural Harold Brown Faculty-in-Residence, spent three weeks in Santa Monica in the Pardee RAND wing this spring. He writes: "When Dean Marquis offered me this opportunity, I wanted to use it to learn about policy problems outside my areas of expertise. I also knew I wanted to meet as many of the students as I could. So, I combined these two goals: I met with 70 students over 8 work days, and I asked them two questions. (1) What were you interested in studying right before you arrived at RAND? (2) What are your current research interests?"

He says it's been humbling to meet "so many accomplished individuals who represent such a wide range of academic backgrounds and intellectual interests. Personally, the experience has broadened my scope and made me aware of policy problems that I had never considered before."

Baiocchi moved his office to the Pardee RAND area of RAND's Santa Monica headquarters campus so he could work among the students and school leadership. "This has been the most rewarding part of the experience so far — everyone has been so welcoming and I’ve really enjoyed working in such a dynamic environment. The physical layout of the school’s workspace encourages chance encounters, and I've started devoting time each day to wander the area and spark conversations."

Baiocchi "live-tweeted" his experience:

This opportunity for faculty to spend time focusing on a topic of their choice and engaging with students was made possible by a generous gift to the Pardee RAND endowment by Harold and Coleen Brown. Two other faculty members will follow: Beau Kilmer arrives on June 8 and Aimee Curtright will be in residence from the end of July through mid-August.

Shira Efron Visits Kenya—and Alumni—for Dissertation Research

Funding in Action: Pardee Initiative on Global Human Progress

Shira and Julius

Shira (center-right) and Julius (far right) with two Kenyan farmers

Of the 925 million undernourished people in the world, 240 million live in sub-Saharan Africa. As part of her dissertation, Shira Efron (cohort '11) is examining how new technologies—specifically, unmanned aerial systems (UAS)—can help improve domestic food production and reduce food insecurity.

Shira recently returned from Kenya, where she investigated the feasibility of employing UAS to mitigate threats posed by endemic pests. She is using a mixed-method approach that includes systems engineering; site visits to eight rural counties in Kenya; field surveys; and in-depth interviews with farmers, agricultural stakeholders and subject matter experts.

Alum Julius Gatune (cohort '01) "was instrumental in organizing the field study in Kenya," Shira notes. "He identified a direct link between my study and the traditional grains project that is being developed as part of the Pardee Initiative on Global Human Progress." Although traditional grains such as sorghum and millet are more environmentally sustainable, there is insufficient supply due to one of the endemic pests, the red-billed Quelea bird. Shira's project examines the prospect of using UAS as means for bird control.

While in Kenya, Shira also met with alum Matt Hoover (cohort '09), who is the manager of analytics and strategy at the One Acre Fund.

None of this would have been possible without the generosity of Fred Pardee and the Initiative on Global Human Progress that he has funded.

"Blue Jacket of the Year" Awarded to Julia Pollak

Julia Pollak and Susan Marquis

Julia with Dean Marquis at the Navy Reserve Centennial Dinner

Pardee RAND student Julia Pollak (cohort '12) was selected as 2014 Blue Jacket of the Year (BJOY) for the Navy Region Southwest (California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico), and awarded a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (NAM). She was previously selected as Blue Jacket of the Quarter, and then Blue Jacket of the Year for the Naval Operational Support Center (NOSC) North Island, which oversees numerous Navy Reserve units operating out of the San Diego area. The awards recognize outstanding achievement and meritorious service by junior sailors.

As a Selected or Drilling Reservist, Julia drills one weekend per month and two weeks per year and is available for recall to Active Duty status. She is assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 3 (HSC-3), which trains pilots to operate the MH-60S Nighthawk helicopter in a wide range of missions. Although her current role as an Aviation Structural Mechanic involves maintenance and repair of structural and hydraulic systems on the MH-60S, Julia is pursuing a direct commission as an Intelligence Officer in the Navy Reserve.

Julia was selected to attend a dinner with the Chief of the Navy Reserve, Vice Admiral Robin R. Braun, celebrating the Navy Reserve Centennial in March. To thank RAND for its support of her military service, Julia was able to invite Susan Marquis to attend the event on behalf of the RAND Corporation and Pardee RAND Graduate School.

Student Research: Prolific Student Publishing

Pardee RAND students have been busy collaborating on RAND reports and journal articles, as well as many blog posts. Below is a sampling of recent releases; a full list of student-authored research is available online.

book cover

All student blog posts and commentaries are available online.

Catching Up with Alumni

New Job? Congratulations!

Blume-Kohout Blume-Kohout Dunham Scott Gailey



Dunham Scott


Mundell Taningco Kaldor Warner


Taningco Kaldor


Alexis Bailey (cohort '04) is approaching her second year of law school at the University of Michigan. She is working this summer as an associate at the U-M Office of the General Counsel, and will be starting next fall as a student attorney in a brand new Veterans Clinic that they're opening on the U-M campus.

Meg Blume-Kohout (cohort '04) will be a visiting faculty member in economics at Mount Holyoke College for the 2015-2016 academic year. She will be teaching economics principles and upper division undergraduate seminars in public economics and applied econometrics, as well as a new course on the economics of science and science policy marketed especially to STEM majors.

Diana Dunham Scott (cohort '04) is now an operations research analyst at Edwards Air Force Base, Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center. She notes, "I never realized how well trained I was by Pardee RAND until I wound up working here. I'm so glad to be able to contribute."

Adam Gailey (cohort '07) is now associate principal at Charles River Associates.

Ben Mundell (cohort '07) is starting medical school at the Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minnesota, this summer.

Teresa Taningco Kaldor (cohort '01) is now director of institutional research at Occidental College.

Eric Warner (cohort '10) is now an associate economist at Visa.

Alumni Visit Campus, Speak with Students

Dardia talks to students


Wilke  speaks to students

Michael Dardia talks to students


Liz Wilke (standing on right) speaks with students

Michael Dardia (cohort '89) visited the School to speak with students on March 25. Mike is co-research director at the Citizens Budget Commission, an independent non-profit institution in New York City that acts as a fiscal watchdog for city and state government. Prior to this he was deputy director in the New York City Office of Management and Budget (2004-2014).

Liz Wilke (cohort ’07) visited on April 22 to share her insight as an economist at the Millennium Challenge Corporation and her current work on the El Salvador and Lesotho country teams to lead the growth diagnostics exercises at the beginning of program development.

Alumni in the News

Ruopeng An

Ruopeng An

Featured Alumni Research

Alumni Commentary and Perspectives

Our Newest Alumni

Clifford McGee Rana Singer Wilke






Congratulations and welcome to the Pardee RAND Alumni Association!

Alumni Directory 2015

We are putting the final touches on this year’s alumni directory — if you haven’t sent in your updates, please do so as soon as possible! If you have any questions or would like to confirm your information for this year’s publication, please contact Thank you!

Share Your News!

For more Alumni news, visit the Pardee RAND Alumni News page.

You can also use the online form to submit your updates!

Recent Events

9th Annual Los Angeles Policy Symposium

Each year, researchers, faculty, and graduate policy students from the five leading policy schools in Los Angeles County address major policy challenges facing Los Angeles, California, and the world. This year’s topic was Social Determinants of Health. If you missed it, selected photos from the L.A. Policy Symposium are now available online.

Dean's Lunch in Sacramento

Dean Marquis and alumni in Sacramento

Dean Marquis had a great time visiting with Amber Didier (cohort '09), Eileen Hlavka (cohort '07), Bill Dean (cohort '84), Helen Wu (cohort '07), David Maxwell-Jolly (cohort '77), Sarah Outcault (cohort '07), and Brian Weatherford (cohort '04, not pictured) when she visited Sacramento on May 20.

Dean’s Dinner in Berkeley

Alumni from four decades met on May 19 with the dean at Rivoli Restaurant in Berkeley. We thank Brent Fulton (cohort '01), Hugh Levaux (cohort '94), Joe Nation (cohort '85), Matt Solomon (cohort '98), and Eric Warner (cohort '10) for a delightful discussion.

Dean’s Leadership Circle Breakfast on Water Crisis in California

On May 13, Dean Marquis hosted a Dean’s Leadership Circle breakfast to discuss California’s drought and current water policy. Discussion was led by Tim Quinn, a RAND alum and former Pardee RAND faculty member who is now the executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies, and Thomas Chesnutt (cohort '83), president of A & N Technical Services, a national consulting firm specializing in empirical policy analysis applied to water resources and water efficiency programs. It was great to also have Frederick Beddingfield (cohort '96), John Lund (cohort '84), Yolande Simon (cohort '84), and Tracy Wang (wife of Hui Wang, cohort '88) as participants in this important discussion.

Alumni/Student Networking Mixer

Alumni-Student Mixer at Seasons 52

It was terrific to catch up with alumni, students and faculty at Seasons 52 in Santa Monica on Wednesday, May 20. Students and alumni alike enjoyed connecting and garnering insights into the diverse, fascinating career paths that our alums have taken. Great food, great drinks, and great conversation made for a lively evening.

Alumni-Student Mixer at Seasons 52 Alumni-Student Mixer at Seasons 52

Brooke Stearns Lawson (cohort '05), Sara Hajiamiri (cohort '05), Lindsay Daugherty (cohort '05), Claire O'Hanlon (cohort '13), and Mahlet Woldetsadik (cohort '13)

Sara Hajiamiri (cohort '05), Nelly Mejia (cohort '11), Aziza Arifkhanova (cohort '12), Melody Harvey (cohort '12), and Myles Collins (cohort '05)

Alumni-Student Mixer at Seasons 52 Alumni-Student Mixer at Seasons 52

Meg Chamberlin (cohort '14), Career Services Advisor Kathryn Dunst, Brooke Stearns Lawson (cohort '05), and Lindsay Daugherty (cohort '05)

Chris Carson (cohort '14), Bill Gelfeld (cohort '14), Angela Hawken (cohort '98), and Lisa Jonsson (cohort '14)

Alumni-Student Mixer at Seasons 52 Alumni-Student Mixer at Seasons 52

Professor Dave Baiocchi, Geoffrey Sommer (cohort '94), and Associate Dean Rachel Swanger

Meg Chamberlin (cohort '14) and Daniel Waxman (cohort '10)

For information about upcoming events, please contact Evelyn Fees.

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