Pardee RAND Graduate School Findings Alumni Newsletter, Winter 2015

Findings Newsletter

Winter 2015

Message from the Dean

Susan L. Marquis

In This Issue

Take heart, East Coast friends! It's notably boring to talk about the weather but we've all had you in our thoughts as you've faced the winter. Those of us who have traveled your way have experienced bursts of what you've been going through (1° in DC!?!?!) but we can only promise that spring will arrive. And few things are more beautiful than crocus, daffodils, and redbuds after winter's end.

As our alumni in the Northeast and Midwest United States thaw out, we hope to warm you up a bit with the latest news of alumni accomplishments, our most recent graduates, and many, much appreciated, conversations between alumni and current students (and with applicants!). I'll also bring your attention to this year's Moorsteen Lecture by Ambassador Alex Wolff. As part of his visit, Amb. Wolff captured the attention and imagination of our second-year students with his accounts of how diplomats "make foreign policy real."

Finally, two other notes to keep the Pardee RAND community up to speed and connected. Our annual Dean's Report, with a full accounting of 2014 accomplishments, activities, and finances, is headed your way. Look for it in your mailbox! And, we're updating our Alumni Directory for 2015. Be on the lookout for an email asking you to update or confirm your information. The directory has received rave reviews from alumni and students alike, helping each to connect with the other. We'd love to include you!

Enjoy this issue of Findings and stay in touch,

Susan Marquis

Pardee RAND/RGS/RGI mugs

Our Pardee RAND "mug shot" showcases the school's name changes over the years

Say Hello to Pardee RAND

You may have already noticed our recent name change... The Pardee RAND Graduate School is now using "Pardee RAND" for short, instead of "PRGS."

The new nomenclature is consistent with similar graduate programs in public policy and is part of a broader set of activities led by Dean Susan L. Marquis and the school's Board of Governors to expand awareness and elevate the profile of the school. Say hello to Pardee RAND!

Around Campus

Gatune meets with students

Gatune (2nd from right) and IDSS organizers

Vilamovska  speaks to students

Vilamovska (left) speaks with students after her talk

Alumni Welcomed Back to Campus

It's been a busy winter for Career Services, with four alumni returning to talk with students. (We have to admit, Santa Monica is a nice place to come back and visit, especially when it's cold where you live.)

Yılmaz Argüden (cohort '80) participated in a Pardee RAND lunch talk on December 15 with founding dean Charles Wolf. Students enjoyed hearing about Argüden's post–Pardee RAND career trajectory, which has spanned the public and private sectors in his native country of Turkey.

Julius Gatune (cohort '01) visited on January 14 as part of the student-organized International Development Speaker Series. He spoke about his research on food security in Africa as well as his career path.

Gustav Lindstrom (cohort '97) visited the School to speak with students on February 24. Lindstrom is head of the Emerging Security Challenges Programme for the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP).

Anna-Marie Vilamovska (cohort '05) returned on February 13 to to discuss her experience as Secretary for Healthcare, Education and Science in the Administration of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria and how her education at Pardee RAND has helped her career.

We're also looking forward to having Mike Dardia (cohort '89) visit on March 25 for an afternoon talk.

Ambassador Alex Wolff Serves as Visiting Moorsteen Lecturer

Amb. Alex Wolff

The former U.S. Ambassador to Chile with a 33-year career as a foreign service officer, Ambassador Alejandro "Alex" Wolff spent three days as a visiting scholar at Pardee RAND in early March as part of the Moorsteen Lecture Series, speaking to students, researchers and Board members.

A native of Los Angeles who studied international relations at UCLA in the 1970s with some of the giants in the field who were also at RAND at the time, Ambassador Wolff brought a perspective on the craft of diplomacy and statecraft that was both grounded in theory and steeped in practical experience. His talks were filled with insightful "how to" anecdotes including how to deliver a policy speech on a topic you don’t agree with "read directly from the script with no eye contact" to how to undermine a policy idea you don't think is wise "call it courageous."

In addition to speaking on policy implementation to the Organizational Culture of Government Institutions class and at a breakfast meeting with Board members, he led a discussion about how communications technology has made foreign policy, diplomacy, and international relations more open and democratic. Dean Susan Marquis commented, "Each talk by Ambassador Wolff was thoughtful, informative and highly interesting. Those who were part of the audience were highly engaged and did not want to end the conversation."

The Moorsteen Lectures commemorate RAND economist Richard Moorsteen who died suddenly at the age of 48 in 1975. A fund was established in his name to finance a lecture seminar series focusing on important and timely issues relating to U.S. policy in the international sphere. The 2014 Moorsteen Lecturer was Eric Schlosser, author of the best-seller Fast Food Nation and the Pulitzer Prize–nominated Command and Control.

Donald B. & Susan F. Rice Support 'Be the Answer' Campaign with $1 Million Gift

Don and Susan Rice

Longtime Pardee RAND supporters Donald B. and Susan F. Rice have established their third endowed scholarship at the School. Their most recent gift of $1 million was generously donated as part of Pardee RAND's Be the Answer campaign, which Don chairs and which has thus far raised in excess of $19 million. Rice Scholars for 2014–2015 are doctoral candidates Gulrez Azhar, Lisa Jonsson, and Xiaoyu Nie (all cohort '14).

"We are deeply appreciative of the Rices and their long-standing support of the graduate school," noted Dean Susan Marquis. "Don and Susan have provided not only financial support to our students but also encouragement, experience, and ideas to the school and RAND. Their wisdom and friendship have been invaluable."

Read moreLearn more

Dean Marquis Moderates Panel Discussion of Food Chains

Susan Marquis and students

Dean Marquis and students at the event

Pardee RAND hosted a screening of the new documentary Food Chains, a new documentary that chronicles the efforts of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) as they campaign to change how tomato pickers are treated and compensated in Florida. The screening was held at Creative Artists Agency in Los Angeles and attended by students, alumni, and members of the RAND Policy Circle.

After the screening, Dean Marquis moderated a panel discussion that included executive producer Eric Schlosser. The panelists talked about what has changed for the industry and for tomato pickers in Florida in the two decades during which CIW lobbied for reform, as well as what lies ahead.

Read moreLearn more

Goodbye and Thank You to Ira

Ira Krinsky

Ira Krinsky, our longtime career advisor, left Pardee RAND at the end of February. Ira helped create the Career Services program at Pardee RAND in May 2009.

Under Ira’s leadership, Career Services provided individualized career planning and advocacy, as well as activities to build awareness of the many career options available to students through the student-led Career Services Advisory Committee Council (CSAC). In addition, Ira and Kristina Wallace created a set of career development resources to help students.

Ira, along with Kristina and CSAC, established productive relationships with a wide variety of organizations to help facilitate the hiring of our graduates. These organizations include the California Legislative Analyst's Office, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Northrop Grumman, the European Commission, Corporate Executive Board, Boston Consulting Group, Harvard Center for Educational Policy, and many other important career destinations. We greatly appreciate Ira's efforts and will miss him. Kathryn Dunst will be Pardee RAND's new career advisor.

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.

Adam Singer video

All student blog posts and commentaries are available online.

Catching Up with Alumni


About 30 alumni served as admissions ambassadors this year, reaching out to Pardee RAND applicants to interview them and to share their student and post-graduation experiences. With over 150 applicants this year, we appreciate the keen insight you were able to provide the school to admit a very first-rate cohort for fall 2015!

New Job? Congratulations!

Bailey Burgdorf Jesse Montoya





Alexis Bailey (cohort '04) is now the Air Force Academy Liaison Officer Director for the state of Michigan.

James Burgdorf (cohort '06) is now health economist at MedImpact Healthcare Systems, Inc. in San Diego, CA. This was a position previously held by another Pardee RAND alum, Feng Zeng!

Eric Jesse (cohort '08) is now assistant professor at the U.S. Air Force Academy, teaching undergraduate economics, operations research, and mathematics.

Silvia Montoya (cohort '06) is now director of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, based in Montreal, Canada.

Alumni in the News

Congratulations to our alumni for their varied contributions and 15 (or more) minutes of fame.

  • A non-profit initiative founded by Yılmaz Argüden (cohort '80) to improve the quality of governance in Turkey has attracted a significant donation from the private sector, according to an article in Hurriyet.
  • AEI president Arthur Brooks (cohort '96) was featured in an NBC News video, Meet Arthur Brooks, The Republican Party's Poverty Guru.
Owen Hill does yoga

Owen Hill had something to crow about.
(Photo courtesy Andy Kerr)

  • Colorado state senator Owen Hill (cohort '03) showed good form when he performed the "crow" yoga pose — on his desk — after lawmakers approved a bill related to yoga teacher training. (His colleague tweeted the image and it was widely shared — and inspiring!)
  • Ken Thorpe (cohort '80), professor and chair of health policy and management at Emory University, received the NACDS Foundation Excellence in Patient Care Award. "His commitment to patient care is remarkable as evidenced by his honorary congressional and presidential distinctions. We thank him for his continued service in educating future advocates in public health," noted the foundation's president.

Featured Alumni Research

They may not all work in academia, but our alumni are prolific writers!

Alumni Perspectives: Commentary and Congressional Testimony

Our alumni are also far from reticent...

Our Newest Alumni

Bloom Litovitz McLaren




  • Evan Bloom (cohort '09); dissertation: Changing Midstream: Providing Decision Support for Adaptive Strategies using Robust Decision Making: Applications in the Colorado River Basin. He is now principal data scientist for Capital One Labs.
  • Aviva Litovitz (cohort '08); dissertation: Federal Funding and Academic Productivity: Assessing Policy Levers for Sustainable Energy Researchers. She is now a scientific portfolio analyst for the National Institutes of Health.
  • McKay McLaren (cohort ’11); dissertation: Enhancing the Assessment of the Costs and Benefits of International Pilot Training (IPT) Within the U.S. Air Force: Is It Worth It? He is now a pilot trainee at the United States Air Force.

Congratulations and welcome to the Pardee RAND Alumni Association!

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

Holiday Gatherings in December

Alumni, students and faculty celebrated the holidays at the Pardee RAND holiday party in Santa Monica on December 12 with music, games, and empanadas!

A week later, on December 18, Dean Marquis hosted a holiday lunch in Washington, D.C. for alumni; she was joined by David An (cohort '10), David Apgar (cohort '80), Florencia Jaureguiberry (cohort '02), Samantha Ravich (cohort '92), and Josh Weed (cohort '01).

Upcoming Events

March 25: Washington, D.C. Pardee RAND/RAND Alumni Association Event

You are invited to a Pardee RAND/RAND Alumni Association conversation with RAND terrorism expert Brian Michael Jenkins. Jenkins will examine the persistent dilemmas facing the policy and defense communities today, including questions surrounding ISIS, fighting in Iraq and Syria, and many others. It will be a fascinating evening, and we hope to see you there.

April 10: 9th Annual Los Angeles Policy Symposium

Join researchers, faculty, and graduate policy students from the five leading policy schools in Los Angeles County to address major policy challenges facing Los Angeles, California, and the world. The 9th annual L.A. Policy Symposium will focus on Using Social Policy Interventions to Improve Population Health.

April 18: Santa Monica Pardee RAND/RAND Alumni Association Event

Save the date for this upcoming Pardee RAND and RAND Alumni Association Event. The program will include a breakfast and conversations with RAND researchers, and an invitation will be sent shortly.

For more information about any of these, please contact Evelyn Fees.

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