The Pardee RAND Graduate School Alumni Newsletter — Fall 2018 | Web version

Fall 2018


Message from the Dean

Susan Marquis

"Observe and count." What could be simpler? With this guidance, our 2018 cohort dove into the newest element of Pardee RAND: the pilot of the graduate school's bootcamp for entering students and its "immersion experience" on homelessness.

This issue of Findings introduces the bootcamp and the policy discussions it provoked. As students asked each other, "Why are each of us coming up with significantly different observations and numbers?" it led to many realizations. Maybe public policy problems are more complex than we thought. Maybe there is more behind the data we use in policy analysis than the numbers reveal. Maybe — as students and faculty discovered in this inaugural bootcamp — there is a lot to learn and much that we can teach each other.

Pardee RAND's Tech and Narrative Lab is pushing boundaries from another direction: leveraging technology to gain greater understanding of and develop new solutions to policy problems. This round, opioid addiction and treatment is the problem and machine learning is the technology. Through the TNL, students have been competing in internal and external hackathons. They've used machine learning to predict high-risk areas within California for opioid addiction and worked with national data to develop tools for patients to identify treatment centers. What are the results? Pardee RAND students are not just winning these competitions; they have gained new insights and, even better, come up with novel and viable solutions as they help RAND use new technology for public good.

Building a new model for public policy graduate education and policy analysis is a lot of work, but we have to say we're having fun while we're doing it!

Keep reading ... and all the very best for the holidays!

Students Compete in (and Win!) Hackathons

Opioid Hackathon Winners

With the launch of the Tech and Narrative Lab, Pardee RAND has taken a leap into the world of hackathons by hosting its own events and encouraging student participation in regional competitions. During one intense weekend in early October, four students used applications of machine learning to develop new ways to predict opioid overdose deaths in California. More »

Students of cohort '18

Bootcamp Immerses Cohort '18 in Policy Analysis

The 20 members of Cohort '18 experienced the newest element of Pardee RAND's "reimagined" curriculum before school even started this year. Part of their 10-day bootcamp had them explore and analyze the thorny policy issue of homelessness. More »

Cohort '17

Pardee RAND Receives STEM Designation

International students who receive their Ph.D. from Pardee RAND Graduate School may now be able to stay in the United States for three years after graduating, now that the U.S. government has certified the school as offering a STEM degree. More »

Remembering Dana Mead

Dana G. Mead, a member of the Pardee RAND Graduate School's Board of Governors since 2008 and a generous benefactor to the school, passed away in October at the age of 82. More »

Student Publications

Ellie Bartels Cohort '15: "Building a Pipeline of Wargaming Talent: A Two-Track Solution," in War on the Rocks

Nick Broten Cohort '15: How Can Workers' Compensation Systems Promote Occupational Safety and Health? Stakeholder Views on Policy and Research Priorities, a RAND report

Diana Gehlhaus Carew, Nicholas Martin, and Jesse Lastunen, all Cohort '15: The Potential Economic Value of Unlicensed Spectrum in the 5.9 GHz Frequency Band: Insights for Future Spectrum Allocation Policy, a RAND report

Christine Chen Cohort '15, Gulrez Shah Azhar '14, Nima Shahidinia '16, and Mimi Shen '16, along with alum Ervant Maksabedian '12 and professors Margaret Maglione and Susanne Hempel: Effects of Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) for Opioid Use Disorder on Functional Outcomes: A Systematic Review, a RAND report

Rouslan Karimov Cohort '15, with alumni Shira Efron Cohort '11 and Jordan Fischbach Cohort '04: The Public Health Impacts of Gaza's Water Crisis: Analysis and Policy Options, a RAND report

Explore all student publications and blog posts.

Alumni News

DC area alumni on networking panel

Career Services Events Engage Alumni

Many of Pardee RAND's career-focused events would not be possible without alumni participation. Nearly two dozen alumni helped mentor and network with students through exciting new activities this fall. More »

Members of cohort '18 with Jeffrey Wasserman at his retirement party

Celebrating the Career of Jeffrey Wasserman

In his 33 years at RAND, and his 13-year career on the Pardee RAND faculty, Jeffrey Wasserman Cohort '85 has taught 250 students in 18 classes, chaired two dissertation committees, and served on four others. He "officially" retired this fall. More »

on your new job or career milestone

Teresa Kaldor

Liz Brown
Cohort '05

Liz is now a costing analyst at the Center for Effective Global Action at the University of California.

Teresa Kaldor

Teresa Kaldor
Cohort '01

Teresa is now director of institutional effectiveness at Antioch University.

Ujwal Kharel

Ujwal Kharel
Cohort '11

Ujwal is now a data scientist at Facebook.

Eduardo Marquez Pena

Eduardo Marquez Peña
Cohort '12

Eduardo is now a research associate at the National Laboratory of Public Policy in Mexico City.

Elizabeth Wilke

Elizabeth Wilke
Cohort '07

Elizabeth is now a researcher of tech policy and the future of work at LinkedIn.

Research, Commentary & Interviews

Charles Bennett Cohort '87: "Thalidomide, Drug Safety, and Off-label Prescribing: Lessons Learned From Celgene’s Settlement," in JAMA Oncology.

Lopa Das Cohort '08: What Drives Patient Choice: Preferences for Approaches to Surgical Treatments for Breast Cancer Beyond Traditional Clinical Benchmarks, in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery – Global Open.

Sarah Gaillot Cohort '05: "Speaking Up and Walking Out: Are Vulnerable Patients Less Likely to Disagree With or Change Doctors?" in the journal Medical Care.

Jay Griffin Cohort '04 participated in a panel on "Electrifying everything: challenges and opportunities," as part of Verge Hawaii's Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit. A video is available on

Russell Lundberg Cohort '07 with Prof. Henry Willis: "Deliberative Risk Ranking to Inform Homeland Security Strategic Planning," in the Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

Michael McGee Cohort '10 is featured in Progress of Unmanned Aerial Systems Program at UTEP Is Soaring, in ECN Mag, for his work leading the UAS program at the University of Texas at El Paso.

Samantha Ravich Cohort '92: Where Are the Corporate Patriots? in the Wall Street Journal.

Read more Alumni News, Research & Commentaries online!

Newest Alumni

Balys Gintautas

Balys Gintautas
Cohort '15

Dissertation: Loosening the Okinawan Knot: A Mixed-Methods Study of Okinawan Public Perceptions of U.S. Military Problems and Benefits. Balys is working for the United States Air Force as a contracting officer with the 374th Contracting Squadron.

Jakub Hlavka

Jakub Hlavka
Cohort '14

Dissertation: Three Essays in Health Economics: Towards Alternative Payment Models for High-Value, High-Cost Medical Treatments. He will be an assistant research professor in Health Policy and Management at USC starting in January.

Adeyemi Okunogbe

Adeyemi Okunogbe
Cohort '13

Dissertation: Three Essays on Health Financing in Sub-Saharan Africa: Health Shocks, Health Insurance Uptake and Financial Risk Protection.

Recent Events

Students at APPAM 2017 in Chicago

Pardee RAND Well Represented at APPAM DC Conference

Alumni, students and faculty converged on Washington, D.C., for APPAM's 40th annual fall research conference November 8-10. The theme of the conference was Evidence for Action: Encouraging Innovation and Improvement. More »

Michael Rich, Susan and Don Rice, and Natalie Crawford at One Night with RAND

School Welcomes Visiting Scholars from Coalition of Immokalee Workers

The co-founders of the Coalition of Immokolee Workers (CIW) — MacArthur "genius grant" awardee Greg Asbed and long-time social justice lawyer Steve Hitov — visited Pardee RAND for a series of discussions and meetings on labor law, policy, and social change. More »

Pardee RAND Events

Our annual Holiday Party is December 13, 4–6 p.m. at Pardee RAND. We hope you can join us! For more information, email

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