Pardee RAND Graduate School Findings Alumni Newsletter, Summer 2015 | Read online

Pardee RAND Graduate School
Findings Newsletter

Summer 2015

Message from the Dean

Susan L. Marquis

In This Issue

What a great summer! No doldrums for us at Pardee RAND. We began the summer celebrating founding dean Charles Wolf's 60th anniversary at RAND. You'll learn about the full span of Charles' remarkable contributions to RAND in the article below. Closer to the beginning of their careers are our newest alumni. We'll have ten new graduates by the time the summer wraps up, passing the 350 graduates mark. We welcome Susan Burkhauser and Jessica Yeats in this issue of Findings and are in the midst of the final flurry of dissertation defenses for the 2014-15 academic year. Our students are completing research on policy problems that include homelessness, school leadership, food security, special operations training, and the power of collaboration between teacher unions and school administration. I wish each of you could join the student and faculty members who attend these defenses so that you could see the remarkable quality of the work.

One reason our students are taking on important policy problems is because of the role models they have in our alumni. Our alumni continue to be our favorite visitors to the school. And quite a few of you are getting national and international attention. Yılmaz Argüden recently addressed the United Nations General Assembly. Arthur Brooks and Samantha Ravich just released their latest books. And Jack Riley, Bruce Bennett, Jordan Fischbach, and Ruopeng An were all featured in national news publications. Congratulations!

I can't highlight all of the great stories in this issue of Findings but I will use my last sentences to draw your attention to our story on Bringing Traditional Grains Back to the African Dinner Table. I'd bet you never imagined Pardee RAND co-sponsoring a recipe and cooking contest in Uganda. Be the Answer!

Susan Marquis

Charles Wolf Celebrates 60 Years of Service at RAND

The founding dean of Pardee RAND, Charles Wolf, Jr., is still going strong sixty years after joining RAND on June 23, 1955. As RAND president Michael Rich said in his speech:

Charles Wolf and four RAND presidents

Charles Wolf Jr. (center) and four RAND presidents

The length of Charles's RAND career, while distinctive, is not the main reason it's notable. Quite apart from length, Charles's time at RAND has been unusually significant, unusually memorable, and unusually varied. Consider the following:

  • His personal research has produced an impressive set of intellectual contributions to several fields and many critical issues of the time.
  • His 14-year leadership of the RAND Economics Department not only shaped the cadre of economists and statisticians at RAND for a generation or two, but also enriched numerous other organizations where distinguished RAND alumni went on to serve.
  • What he accomplished in 27 years as the founding dean of the Pardee RAND Graduate School makes him one of the intellectual founders of modern policy analysis and some of the institutions that go with it.
  • And his philanthropy—the generosity of Charles and Theresa Wolf—is helping to ensure that RAND will thrive for years to come and is setting an example for all the rest of us.

Read the full speech by RAND president Michael Rich »

Around Campus

New School Year, More New Courses and Faculty

The analytic dexterity available at RAND continues to help shape students' policy tool belt this year, with more new courses and new faculty.

Course Title


Term / Units

Law and Policy: The Implementation of Legislation Through Public Administrative Procedure

Karlyn Stanley

Fall / 0.5

Understanding the Social Determinants of Health: Theories and Research

Amy DeSantis/
Karen Flórez

Fall / 1.0

Comparative Historical Analysis and Case Study Methods

Chris Paul

Winter / 1.0

Machine Learning

Osonde Osoba

Winter / 0.5

The U.S. Rebalance of Asia

Michael Chase

Winter / 0.5

Computational Methods for Operations Research and Data Science

John Raffensperger/
Jia Xu

Spring / 1.0

Courses will be taught in multiple formats with professors and guest speakers across RAND locations. The U.S. Rebalance of Asia course will be open to all RAND staff. Full course descriptions of these new courses — and all of our courses — are available online.

Pardee RAND Hosts Third Annual Summer Faculty Workshop

2015 Summer Faculty Workshop participants

Pedro "Joe" Greer and participants of the 2015 Pardee RAND Summer Faculty Workshop in Policy Analysis

The Pardee RAND Graduate School held its third annual Summer Faculty Workshop in Policy Research and Analysis in the Santa Monica office during the week of July 20. The school hosted 12 guest faculty members from institutions serving highly diverse student bodies for an intensive introduction to policy analysis, RAND, and Pardee RAND.

During the special keynote event on July 22, Assistant Dean Gery Ryan interviewed RAND trustee and chair of the Pardee RAND Board of Governors Pedro José ("Joe") Greer about his experience delivering medical care to underserved communities. Greer is also associate dean for community engagement at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine at Florida International University.

The Pardee RAND organizers thank the workshop instructors, Sandy Berry, Lionel Galway, Gery Ryan, and Jeffrey Wasserman (cohort '85), and Pardee RAND teaching assistants Jeremy Boback (cohort '13), Annie Boustead (cohort '11), Beth Katz (cohort '10), and Yemi Okunogbe (cohort '13), along with more than 30 other members of the RAND community who helped make the event a resounding success.

Alumni Sean O'Neill (cohort '06) and Ricardo Basurto-Davila (cohort '03) were also in attendance at the keynote event.

Learn more »

Bringing Traditional Grains Back to the African Dinner Table

Funding in Action: Pardee Initiative on Global Human Progress

Pardee Initiative in Uganda

At the stakeholder meeting on August 18 (L-R): Pardee RAND alum Julius Gatune, Professor Deborah Cohen, Golf Course Hotel Executive Chef Robert Mulandi, student Michele Abbott, and Mary Namatovu of Saladin Media

As part of the Pardee Initiative on Global Human Progress, RAND, Pardee RAND, and alum Julius Gatune (cohort '01) of the African Centre for Economic Transformation (ACET) are collaborating on a project designed to explore whether it is possible to bring the traditional grains of millet and sorghum back to the Ugandan dinner table by improving their image and popularity through a nationwide recipe contest.

Improving how people perceive traditional grains is important to maintaining and increasing their demand in rapidly changing food markets largely driven by urbanization.

As the first step, a stakeholder meeting was held in Uganda in August to bring together government officials, chefs, nutritionists, media and other organizations interested in supporting this effort to raise the profile of these superfoods. RAND's role will be to design the contest and to develop pre- and post-contest surveys to assess the effectiveness of this effort. Student Michele Abbott (cohort '14) is helping to organize the project.

Learn more »

Economist Ad from 2002

Economist ad from 2002

Recruiting the Next Generation

Do you recognize the ad at right? Is that how you were first introduced to RAND? We recently came across this gem of an advertisement from the Economist in December 2002.

This year, we are offering in-person information sessions in our Santa Monica, Washington, Pittsburgh, and Boston offices, as well as two online sessions. We are also working out logistics for an information session in Mexico City. And rather than the Economist, we are using social media to spread the word.

Of course, a personal recommendation goes a long way. If you know anyone who might be interested in a Pardee RAND Ph.D., encourage them to learn more at one of our information sessions or by visiting!

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

Matt Hoover David Johnson Bryce Mason




New Job? Congratulations!

Matthew Hoover (cohort '09) is now a data science fellow at Insight Data Science.

David R. Johnson (cohort '08) is now assistant professor at Purdue University in the Industrial Engineering and Political Science departments.

Bryce Mason (cohort '01) is now chief investment officer at Direct Lending Investments LLC.

Stearns Lawson talks at RAND

Brooke Stearns Lawson talks at RAND

Alum Visits Campus, Speaks with Students

Brooke Stearns Lawson (cohort '05), a senior conflict advisor with the U.S. Agency for International Development's Africa Bureau, returned on June 4 to discuss with students how the Pardee RAND Ph.D. has influenced her life, career options, and path. She spoke about her current work focusing on transnational threats, in particular organized crime. She has more than 15 years of work experience in international development, relief, and reconstruction and co-authored The Development Response to Drug Trafficking in Africa: A Programming Guide.

Alumni News

Yilmaz Arguden

Yılmaz Argüden

  • Yılmaz Argüden (cohort '80) writes that he "had the pleasure to deliver [a speech] at the UN General Assembly regarding the importance of good governance for sustainable and inclusive future." He spoke to the General Assembly on the 15th anniversary of the Global Compact, in his role as chair of Global Compact Turkey. His talk was featured in Turkey's leading English-language paper, Hurriyet
  • Meg Blume-Kohout (cohort '04) received her second contract award from the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts to evaluate and recommend updates for survey of public participation in the arts. Her company, MBK Analytics, issued a news release about the contract and research.

Featured Alumni Research

Alumni Commentary and Perspectives

Burkhauser Yeats



Our Newest Alumni

Congratulations and welcome to the Pardee RAND Alumni Association!

It feels good to give!

It feels good to give!

Support Pardee RAND

As alumni, you know better than anyone the unique value of the Pardee RAND program, its students, faculty and initiatives, and the many other compelling reasons to give. Whatever your reason, please consider making your gift before the end of our fiscal year on September 28. 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!

RAND International Wants to Connect with You

Additionally... as you know, globalizing is a critical part of RAND's vision and strategy, and we would love to have you be a part of that. RAND International is interested in connecting with you as we develop our profile and portfolio. If you are interested in participating, to be a part of connecting RAND to policymakers in your country or region, please send a note to

Upcoming Events

September 10: Boston Dinner with the Dean

Dean Marquis will be hosting dinner for alumni in Boston on September 10 and would like to invite you to join her for dinner if you will be in town. Location is being finalized, and will be confirmed shortly.

September 16: Washington, D.C. Pardee RAND/RAND Alumni Association Event

Christine Eibner, a RAND senior economist and Pardee RAND professor, will discuss the Affordable Care Act. It will be a fascinating evening, and we hope to see you there.

September 18: Alumni/New Student Happy Hour in Santa Monica, 5 - 7 p.m.

Save the date for this upcoming event! We're looking forward to you meeting the new Pardee RAND cohort, to learn about the new students and to share your expertise and insights with them! The program will include a happy hour with food, drinks and lots of great conversations. An invitation will be sent shortly.

For information about these and other events, please contact Evelyn Fees.

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