The Pardee RAND Graduate School Alumni Newsletter — Fall 2019 | Web version

Fall 2019


Message from the Dean

Susan Marquis

Coming to the end of 2019 means 2020 is just around the corner. And 2020 means we'll be celebrating 50 years of Pardee RAND and RAND's groundbreaking public policy Ph.D. program.

As part of our anniversary celebrations, we'll hold events around the country with our alumni who have shown us the way to Be the Answer. We'll be congratulating our newest graduates at Commencement 2020 in June. We'll be learning from our current students as they take part in hackathons, studios, and externships from L.A. to Livermore Labs to Alaska, and as they dive deep in their dissertations. And we'll be welcoming our first cohort of students admitted into our new Research, Community, and Technology streams. 2020? Boom!

Wishing each of you all the best for the holidays and a tremendous New Year,

Three Students Continue Pardee Legacies

Alex Mendoza-Graf, Ashley Woo, and Sohaela Amiri hold photos of relatives from Pardee RAND commencement

Students Sohaela Amiri Cohort '16, Alexandra Mendoza-Graf '16, and Ashley Woo '18 didn't have far to look when they decided to pursue a Ph.D. in policy analysis. While forging their own paths, they are also following in the footsteps of relatives who also happen to be Pardee RAND alumni: Sara Amiri Cohort '05, Marlon Graf '12, and Jonathan Wong '12. More »

CGSR director Brad Roberts talks with a postdoctoral research fellow and Pardee RAND student Pau Alonso Garcia-Bode (cohort '18), photo courtesy Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

LLNL Partnership Offers Outside OJT

Through a partnership with the Center for Global Security Research (CGSR) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, four students have had the chance to hold externships, conduct research, and participate in global security conferences and events. More »


Student Hackathon Explores Dark Web

Ten students worked on teams for three weeks this fall to use machine learning and analyze data from cryptomarkets — what one team called a "craigslist for illegal things" — stored on RAND's Dark Web Observatory. More »

Advisory groups

School Adds Tech, Community Advisory Groups

Pardee RAND has created external advisory groups to work with the school's two new policy engagement streams. The Tech & Narrative Lab Advisory Group launched in June and the Community-Partnered Policy and Action Advisory Group launched last month. More »

Cohort '19

Welcome, Cohort '19!

The 23 members of Cohort '19 hail from Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Lebanon, Mexico, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and of course across the United States. Nearly three-quarters have advanced degrees, and they have experience in fields as diverse as renewable energy, political social work, biomedical innovation, aerospace engineering, dentistry, early childhood education, and technology policy. View their bios »

Student Publications

Sohaela Amiri Cohort '16 and Prof. Rafiq Dossani: "City Diplomacy Has Been on the Rise. Policies Are Finally Catching Up," a commentary for United Press International

Elizabeth Bartels Cohort '15, Benjamin Smith Cohort '15, and alum Yuna Huh Wong '00: Next-Generation Wargaming for the U.S. Marine Corps: Recommended Courses of Action, a RAND report

Sangita Baxi Cohort '17 and alum Jodi Liu '12: Assessing the Preparedness of the Australian Health Care System Infrastructure for an Alzheimer's Disease-Modifying Therapy, a RAND report

Lisa Jonsson Cohort '14: "Randomized Clinical Trial Examining Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Individuals With a First-Time DUI Offense," in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research

Krystyna Marcinek Cohort '17: Fighting Shadows in the Dark: Understanding and Countering Coercion in Cyberspace, a RAND report

Alexandra Mendoza-Graf Cohort '16: "Return of Value in the New Era of Biomedical Research: One Size Will Not Fit All," in the journal AJOB Empirical Bioethics

Hilary (Smith) Reininger Cohort '16: Fighting Disinformation Online, a searchable RAND database

Joshua Russell-Fritch Cohort '16, with alum Bradley Stein '97: "Association of Punitive and Reporting State Policies Related to Substance Use in Pregnancy With Rates of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome," in JAMA Network Open

Explore all student publications and blog posts.

Alumni News

Mark Schuster talks to students

Six Alumni Visit for Career Talks

Evan Bloom Cohort '09, Marlon Graf '12, Richard Krop '92, Mark Schuster '91, Mike Thirtle '95, and Jon Wong '12 presented career talks this quarter — a record number of alumni! — but the Career Services team is working hard to break that record in the near future. More »

Dean Marquis and Jeffrey Wasserman at a Pardee RAND Commencement

Alumni Help Plan 50th Anniversary

Eighteen terrific alumni are joining Jeffrey Wasserman Cohort '85 on a task force to help plan activities and events to celebrate Pardee RAND's 50th anniversary throughout 2020. More »

on your (relatively) new job or career milestone

Sinduja in the soundbooth

Sinduja Srinivasan
Cohort '09

Sinduja is now an evaluation officer at the United Nations, where she also started a new podcast, UNcomplicated, to explain how the UN works.

David Apgar

David Apgar
Cohort '80

is now director of venture banking at Lighthouse Bank.

Gordon Bitko

Gordon Bitko
Cohort '02

Gordon is now senior vice president of policy, Information Technology Industry Council.

Jennifer Curtis

Jennifer Curtis
Cohort '96

Jennifer recently celebrated her one-year anniversary as vice president of advisory services at Optum.

Brandon Dues

Brandon Dues
Cohort '07

Brandon is now a 2019-20 White House Fellow working at the U.S. Export-Import Bank.

Katya Fonkych

Katya Fonkych
Cohort '00

Katya is coming up on two years as a senior researcher at Health Policy Commission.

Kim Hale

Kim Hale
Cohort '09

Kim recently celebrated her one-year anniversary as a data scientist at Slack.

Simon Hollands

Simon Hollands
Cohort '15

Simon is now an engineering data scientist at Snap Inc.

Steve Kiser

Steve Kiser
Cohort '01

Steve was promoted earlier this year to vice president of the Engineering and Analysis End Market at Valiant Integrated Services.

Christopher Lau

Christopher Lau
Cohort '10

Christopher is now director of customer analytics and insights at Grand Rounds, Inc.

SungHo Lee

SungHo Lee
Cohort '00

SungHo founded the Korean company Inno D-Lab earlier this year.

Mollie Rudnick

Mollie Rudnick
Cohort '11

Mollie is now a senior data strategist for the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Mike Scarpati

Mike Scarpati
Cohort '10

Mike is now a senior machine learning scientist at Microsoft.

Ken Thorpe

Kenneth Thorpe
Cohort '80

Ken was elected to the Board of Directors of Sanara MedTech, Inc.

Eric Warner

Eric Warner
Cohort '10

Eric is now a data scientist at Facebook.


Lorne Teitelbaum Cohort '95

Lorne recently celebrated his one-year anniversary as speechwriter for the Director and Deputy Director of National Intelligence.

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Research, Commentary & Interviews

Gordon Bitko Cohort '02 was featured in "The FBI's Ex-CIO Made It His Mission To Pit Big Data Against Bad Guys," in Forbes.

Benjamin Bryant Cohort '05: "Global Modeling of Nature's Contributions to People" in Science.

Jeremy Ghez Cohort '06: Architects of Change: Designing Strategies for a Turbulent Business Environment published by Palgrave Macmillan.

Owen Hill Cohort '03: "Bipartisan Solution to Prescription Drug Costs," a commentary in The Gazette (Colorado Springs).

Jeff Luck Cohort '91: "Can Accountable Care Divert the Sources of Hospitalization?" in The American Journal of Managed Care.

Brian Maue Cohort '03 was interviewed for "What Is AFWERX, the USAF's New Cultivator of Innovation?" for the British defense business website Shephard.

Bob Nordyke Cohort '92: lead author of "Estimating the Impact of Novel Digital Therapeutics in Type 2 Diabetes and Hypertension: Health Economic Analysis," in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

Claire O'Hanlon Cohort '13 and Cheryl Damberg Cohort '89: "Access, Quality, And Financial Performance Of Rural Hospitals Following Health System Affiliation," in the journal Health Affairs. O'Hanlon also participated in the journal's Forum on Rural Health on December 4.

Sarah Outcault Cohort '07: "Ventilation Rates in California Classrooms: Why Many Recent HVAC Retrofits Are Not Delivering Sufficient Ventilation," in the journal Building and Environment.

Kartika Palar Cohort '06: lead author of "Nutrition and Health Improvements After Participation in an Urban Home Garden Program," in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.

Neeraj Sood Cohort '06: "What the Trump Administration Gets Right about Hospital Price Transparency," a commentary in The Conversation.

Read more Alumni News, Research & Commentaries online!

Newest Alumni

Gursel Aliyev

Gursel Aliyev
Cohort '13

Dissertation: Taxpayers' Misperceptions and Two Novel Behavioral Interventions to Counter Tax Evasion.

Amber Jaycocks

Amber Jaycocks
Cohort '08

Dissertation: Climate Finance & Green Bond Evolution: Informing Policy Using Machine Learning Text Analytics. Amber is head of data science at Morningstar Inc.

Ben Goirigolzarri

Ben Goirigolzarri
Cohort '16

Dissertation: A Need for Speed? Identifying the Effects of Space Acquisition Timelines on Deterrence and Conflict. Ben is now an Acquisition Officer with the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base.

Felix Knutson

Felix Knutson
Cohort '16

Dissertation: People First: Evaluating Equitability for Air Force Recruiting Operations. Felix is now an Operations Research Officer with the Air Force Warfighting Integration Center in Washington D.C.

Congratulations and welcome to the Pardee RAND Alumni Association!

Recent & Upcoming Events

Pardee RANDites network at the school's annual APPAM reception

APPAM Fall Conference Celebrates Diversity

A few dozen Pardee RAND students, alumni, and faculty attended the annual APPAM Fall Research Conference in Denver November 6-9. The theme was "Rising to the Challenge: Engaging Diverse Perspectives on Issues and Evidence." More »

Students and donors at An Evening with RAND

An Evening with RAND Honors Philanthropy

More than a dozen students, alumni, and faculty had the opportunity to express their appreciation for RAND and Pardee RAND's philanthropic supporters at "An Evening with RAND" on November 14. More »

Pardee RAND Events

Our annual Holiday Party is December 12, 4–6 p.m. at Pardee RAND. We hope you can join us! For more information, email

View All Events »

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