The Pardee RAND Graduate School Alumni Newsletter — Winter 2020 | Web version

Winter 2020


Message from the Dean

Susan Marquis

When we planned this issue of Findings we were eager to share news of our Commencement plans and honorary degree recipients, our new development campaign, and many more exciting things going on around campus. Unfortunately, campus is rather quiet these days, as are many places around the world.

But as I noted in an email to students and staff, "In a society where individuals feel increasingly isolated and alone, we need community and we need each other. The school is being creative in providing that community in new ways and is prepared for a range of contingencies as the situation continues to evolve." You can learn more about that in our COVID-19 article below, and read our alumni contributions to coronavirus research in the Alumni News section.

Of course, we may be working (and studying) from home, but excitement over our 50th anniversary and our part in RAND's major development campaign continues to grow. We are especially grateful to new Board of Governors chair Jim Lovelace, longtime benefactor Marcia Carlucci, and many others for their philanthropic support. We are also busy planning our (eventual) biennial Commencement and Alumni Weekend — now scheduled for September 11-12. We look forward to welcoming you back to campus and hope we'll see you at other commemorative events later this year as we honor our past and celebrate our future.

Until then, be well, and keep in touch — virtually, of course.


Susan Marquis
Frank and Marcia Carlucci Dean, Pardee RAND Graduate School

School Achieves 50 Years of Policy Impact

Pardee RAND homepage honoring the 50th Anniversary

Fifty years ago, RAND led the charge for a new approach to public policy and the new field of policy analysis. This year — through a series of events across the country, a major development campaign, and the full-scale launch of three policy engagement streams — Pardee RAND Graduate School is celebrating 50 years of education and impact and once again leading the way in redefining the field of policy analysis. More »

Regina Benjamin

School Responds to Novel Coronavirus

Although no one at Pardee RAND, or in RAND's Santa Monica headquarters, has been diagnosed with COVID-19, the school and RAND are taking numerous proactive measures — including encouraging students and staff to stay home, and converting all courses to videoconference format — in response to guidelines from the CDC and state and local public health agencies. More »

Gaby Alvarado and Susan Marquis in Sitka Sound, photo courtesy Susan Marquis

Sitka Visit Focuses on Future Externship, Landslide Research

Students Gabriela Alvarado Cohort '19, Max Izenberg Cohort '18, and Sara Turner Cohort '15 visited Sitka in February with the Dean and faculty members. Alvarado met with local leaders to plan a community-partnered externship, while Izenberg and Turner took part in a research workshop on landslide early warning systems. More »

James Lovelace, Susan Marquis, and Joe Greer

Governors Thank Greer, Welcome Lovelace

At its meeting last week, Pardee RAND's Board of Governors thanked Pedro José "Joe" Greer for nearly 9 years of service as chair — and many more years supporting the school and RAND. The Board also welcomed new chair Jim Lovelace. More »

Faculty answer admitted students' questions via Teams videochat

Virtual Preview Day Welcomes Admitted Students

In lieu of the normal in-person Preview Weekend, Pardee RAND hosted a Virtual Preview Day on Friday. More than three-fourths of our admitted students attended from locations around the world, as did many current students, staff, and faculty. With video sharing and real-time Q&A sessions, it was a rousing success. More »

Campaign for RAND Highlights School

RAND Campaign website

Pardee RAND has a crucial role to play in fulfilling the mission of "Tomorrow Demands Today: The Campaign for RAND." It will be an engine of ideas and talent, as well as a vital platform for novel tools and strategies, catalyzing a new era for problem solving. More »

Student Publications


Students wrote commentaries based on their explorations in the Policy Design Studio: Sustainability elective; they were supported by the Cazier Initiative.

  • Green infrastructure beyond stormwater (Chang, Lamb, García-Bode)
  • L.A. River revitalization (Zhu, Irwin, Tanverakul), and
  • Measure W and development for the 2028 Summer Olympic Games (Johnson, Patel, Catlin)
  • Jalal Awan Cohort '17 and Karen Lee Cohort '16: How to Analyze the Cyber Threat from Drones, a RAND research report

    Nicholas Broten Cohort '15: Wage Loss Monitoring for Injured Workers in California's Workers' Compensation System, a RAND research report

    Annie Brothers Cohort '18: A Database of Criminal Justice Needs for Innovation: Requirements for Developers and Funders, a RAND tool and user guide

    Diana Gehlhaus Carew Cohort '15: The Department of Defense Posture for Artificial Intelligence, a RAND research report

    Rebecca De Guttry Cohort '18: Evaluation of Los Angeles County's 2019 Moral Injury Conference, a RAND research report

    Ifeanyi Edochie Cohort '15: Online Outsourcing: Prospects for Increasing Youth Employment and Reducing Poverty in Indonesia, a RAND perspective written with support from the Pardee Initiative

    Moon Kim Cohort '18 and Diogo Prosdocimi Cohort '16: U.S. Airport Infrastructure Funding and Financing, a RAND research report

    Jesse Lastunen Cohort '15: Selecting and Evaluating Case Studies of the Economic Benefits of Research and Services at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, a RAND research report

    Lindsey Polley Cohort '16: U.S. Army North in the Hurricane Maria Response, a RAND research report

    Explore all student publications and blog posts.

    Alumni News

    Zhimin Mao and 99 of her Homeward Bound 4 'Sisters'

    On Antarctic Journey, Alum Discovers... Herself

    Zhimin Mao Cohort '11 took part in the world's largest female expedition to Antarctica, in November-December 2019. But the program for women in STEMM was much more than just a cruise. More »

    Commencement 2020

    New Date for Commencement and Alumni Weekend

    To ensure as many alumni, family, and friends as possible can join us in person, Pardee RAND has decided to postpone its biennial Commencement and Alumni Weekend to September 11-12, 2020. More »

    Thank You, Alumni Ambassadors!

    We are grateful to our many Alumni Ambassadors, who have interviewed more than 800 applicants to Pardee RAND in the last decade. They provide personal feedback on their discussions with applicants, and applicants experience unique conversations. As one 2020 applicant wrote, "Thanks for setting me up with such a great informational interview! My alum was awesome, and doing some really interesting work that I’d love to get involved with. Just wanted to convey my appreciation for the thoughtfulness that goes into this process." Thank you, alumni, for your ongoing commitment to Pardee RAND!

    on your new job or career milestone

    Sam Bozzette

    Sam Bozzette
    Cohort '91

    Sam is now chief medical officer of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) at the National Institutes of Health.

    Jeremy Ghez

    Jeremy Ghez
    Cohort '06

    Jeremy was promoted by HEC Paris and is now an associate professor of economics and international affairs.

    Prodyumna Goutam

    Prodyumna Goutam
    Cohort '13

    Prodyumna is now a technical advisor at Insight Data Science.

    John Haaga

    John Haaga
    Cohort '78

    John retired as director of the National Institute on Aging's Behavioral and Social Research division and has been reappointed by Maryland's governor to the state's Commission on Aging. More »

    Seo Yeon Hong

    Seo Yeon Hong
    Cohort '09

    Seo Yeon, a senior economist consultant at the World Bank, recently co-founded Tezo Analytics.

    Anne Johansen

    Anne Johansen
    Cohort '84

    Anne is now acting head of office for the World Health Organization's European Centre for Primary Health Care in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

    Athar Osama

    Athar Osama
    Cohort '99

    Athar is now program chair of the Grand Challenge Fund at Pakistan's Higher Education Commission.

    Joel Shapiro

    Joel Shapiro
    Cohort '89

    Joel is now chief analytics officer at Varicent and continues to be a clinical associate professor of data analytics at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management.

    Connor Spreng

    Connor Spreng
    Cohort '01

    Connor is principal economist at EBP and recently completed a stint as program evaluation consultant for IFC.

    Henu Zhao

    Henu Zhao
    Cohort '07

    Henu is now a health policy associate at Acumen, LLC.

    Share your news!

    Email or send us your updates using our online form.

    Commentary & Research on COVID-19

    Five years ago, David Howell Cohort '03 coauthored "Assessing the Capacity of the US Health Care System to Use Additional Mechanical Ventilators During a Large-Scale Public Health Emergency," in the journal Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness. Howell is a program analyst with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

    This weekend, Arthur Brooks Cohort '96 wrote "How social distancing could ultimately teach us how to be less lonely," a commentary in the Washington Post. Brooks is a professor of public leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School and senior fellow at the Harvard Business School.

    Last week, Neeraj Sood Cohort '99 wrote "It’s Dangerous to Test Only the Sick," a commentary in the Wall Street Journal. Sood is the vice dean for faculty affairs and research at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy.

    Earlier this month, Jason Wang Cohort '01 was the lead author of "Response to COVID-19 in Taiwan: Big Data Analytics, New Technology, and Proactive Testing," a viewpoint coauthored with Prof. Robert Brook and published in JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association. Wang is an associate professor and director of the Stanford University Center for Policy, Outcomes, and Prevention.

    And in January, Denise Quigley Cohort '91 was the lead author of "Support of Nursing Homes in Infection Management Varies by US State Departments of Health," published in the Journal of Hospital Infection. While not specific to COVID-19, the connections are clear. Quigley is a senior health policy analyst at RAND.

    Other Research & Commentary

    Cheryl Damberg Cohort '89 coauthored "What Are the Determinants of Health System Performance?" published in The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.

    Ashlesha Datar Cohort '99 was the lead author of "Association of Exposure to Communities With High Obesity With Body Type Norms and Obesity Risk Among Teenagers" published in JAMA Network Open.

    John Speed Meyers Cohort '15 coauthored "Minding the Gaps: U.S. Military Strategy Toward China," published in Strategic Studies Quarterly.

    Brian Weatherford Cohort '04 authored an in-depth analysis of California's "Climate Catalyst Revolving Loan Fund," published by the Legislative Analyst's Office.

    A chart featured on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver included Medicare for All cost estimates by Jodi Liu (RAND) and Kenneth Thorpe

    On a somewhat lighter note, two studies by Jodi Liu Cohort '12 and Kenneth Thorpe Cohort '80, which both aimed to estimate the cost of Medicare for All, made a surprising appearance in a chart featured on the late-night comedy-news program Last Week Tonight. The New York Times originally cited the studies last April. Liu was also quoted on the topic recently in Teen Vogue. More »

    Read more Alumni news, research, and commentary online!

    Recent Events

    Melissa Diliberti presents her research at the inaugural Student Research Showcase

    Student Showcase Highlights Research

    At an inaugural event sponsored by Pardee RAND Career Services, 20 students shared their current research or proposals with more than 50 Los Angeles-area executives and entrepreneurs, who in turn shared their thoughts and critiques. More »

    Steve Strongin presents a lunchtime talk

    Distinguished Visitor Offers Lecture Series

    Steve Strongin, head of Global Investment Research in New York, was Pardee RAND's Distinguished Visitor-in-Residence from January 27 through March 12. During his residency he hosted a lecture series with talks on managing disruption, regulatory failure, and more. More »

    Students and staff participate in improv workshop

    TNL Event Explores Learning via Improv

    At a Tech & Narrative Lab-sponsored workshop on March 10, students learned that improv isn't just about comedy; it is about how to deal with uncertainty and improve your ability to convey information. More »

    Students celebrate at annual holiday party

    Holiday Party Recap

    On December 12, students, alumni, faculty and staff "closed out the decade" and celebrated in true Pardee RAND style. Attendees were once again treated to music by Pardee RAND's own band, the Revvies. More »

    Pardee RAND Events

    Commencement and Alumni Weekend have been moved to September 11-12 and will include a special 50th Anniversary Dinner. We'll be honoring our M.Phil. and Ph.D. graduates as well as the 5th Alumni Leadership Award recipient.

    View all Pardee RAND events »

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