The Pardee RAND Graduate School Alumni Newsletter — Fall 2021 | Web version

Fall 2021


Message from the Dean

Nancy Staudt

Thank you for helping to make my first few months at Pardee RAND absolutely incredible! I am thrilled to have met and talked with so many of you and look forward to many future interactions.

As always, this newsletter features only a small snapshot of the activities taking place in our Pardee RAND community—you can find much more on our website and social media channels. In the new year, expect to see new and different communications, too.

And a special note to our Pardee RAND alumni receiving this newsletter: please share your news with us so we can celebrate your achievements!

Wishing you a peaceful holiday season,

Nancy Staudt

Nancy Staudt
Frank and Marcia Carlucci Dean, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Vice President, Innovation, RAND Corporation

Follow me: Facebook ǀ Twitter ǀ Instagram ǀ LinkedIn

Hackathon Explores Options for a More Equitable Pandemic Recovery

People wearing masks

Alexandra Gl/Adobe Stock

COVID-19 hit vulnerable communities especially hard. To identify promising policy solutions for a more equitable recovery from the pandemic — and engage aspiring young activists — Pardee RAND students worked with undergraduates from Morehouse, Clark Atlanta, and Spelman in a three-week virtual hackathon sponsored by the Tech + Narrative Lab and RAND's NextGen Initiative. More »


Introducing Pardee RAND Cohort '21

Pardee RAND was excited to welcome 25 new students this year, 36% of whom are international students. Cohort '21 ranges in age from 22 to 51, and 76% of them arrived already having advanced degrees. The cohort is 44% female, and 24% were first-generation college students (64% are first-generation grad students). As a whole, our student body hails from 20 countries across the globe. View our new students' bios »

Faculty mentors

Five Faculty Win Awards for Mentoring

RAND recently recognized five Pardee RAND faculty members — Brien Alkire, Cheryl Damberg, Julia Kaufman, Michael Mazarr, and Aaron Strong — for their valuable contributions in mentoring junior researchers and advising colleagues. More »

Dia de los Muertos ofrenda

Ofrenda Honors Día de los Muertos

To commemorate Día de los Muertos, Mexico’s Day of the Dead, RAND’s Latinx y Más employee resource group invited staff and students to contribute to an inaugural community ofrenda—an altar or offering to honor the departed—that they built in the Santa Monica office. More »

Student Research & Commentary

Green bonds

With support of the Cazier Initiative for Energy and Environmental Sustainability, students David Catt Cohort '16, Nihar Chhatiawala '20, Karishma Patel '17, and Brian Wong '20 worked with RAND colleagues on a trio of blog posts focused on green bonds. They examined how environmental investing can itself be made sustainable, and how it can help support climate resilience. More »

Tara Laila Blagg Cohort '19 with professors Christopher Nelson and Douglas Yeung: "Tech Assets Might Help Make Public Health Data More Equity-Centered," a commentary in Inside Sources

David DeSmet Cohort '19 and colleagues: "Disaster Risk Creation and Cascading Disasters Within Large Technological Systems: COVID-19 and the 2021 Texas Blackouts," in the Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management

Priya Gandhi Cohort '20 and colleagues: Addressing Anti-Asian Racism in the Era of COVID-19: Next Steps for a Research Agenda, a RAND research report

Heather Gomez-Bendaña Cohort '19 and Rachel Perera '16: a Q&A with RAND President and CEO Michael Rich on their research, "The Compounding Effects of Racism," published in The RAND Blog

Lucas Greer Cohort '20 and colleagues: Identifying Supports for Struggling Students: Findings from the 2021 Learn Together Surveys a RAND research report, as well as accompanying technical documentation and survey results

Tim McDonald Cohort '16 and Professors Paul Davis, Ann Pendleton-Jullian, Angela O'Mahony, and Osonde Osoba: "Reforming the Teaching and Conducting of Policy Studies to Deal Better with Complex Systems," an article in the Journal on Policy and Complex Systems

Carlos Villegas Cohort '20 and colleagues: "Lessons from Harvey Improving Traditional Damage Estimates with Social Media Sourced Damage Estimates," in the journal Cities

Explore all student publications and blog posts.

Alumni News

Randy Ross

In Remembrance

Randy Ross Cohort '82 passed away on October 31. An economist and associate director of the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education's Independent Analysis Unit for several years, Ross was also a composer, playwright, novelist, and jazz saxophonist. More »

on your new job or career milestone

Gursel Aliyev

Gursel Aliyev
Cohort '13

Gursel is now a postdoctoral researcher at the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability.

Brian Dille

Brian Dille
Cohort '07

Brian is now an assistant public defender in Hall County, Georgia.

Alumni Research & Commentary

Alexis Huynh Cohort '06 was the lead author of on "Veteran Experiences with Telehealth," in the journal Health Services Research.

Jodi Liu Cohort '12 coauthored "Temporary Safety Net Policies Prevented Mass Insurance Loss During the Pandemic," a commentary in The RAND Blog.

Arnab Mukherji Cohort '01 was the sole author of "Securing the Future: Strategizing Child Development in Karnataka in the Aftermath of COVID-19," in the journal Indian Public Policy Review; he also coauthored the chapter "Household adjustments in India," in the book Coping with Covid-19 and Its Consequences.

Denise Quigley Cohort '91 mentored four Pardee RAND students — Hamad Al-Ibrahim '18, Annie Chen '19, Kelsey O'Hollaren '19, and Nabeel Qureshi '18 — coauthoring several studies, including Research Funding for Women's Health: Modeling Societal Impact, a RAND research report, and First Responder Claims for PTSD in Workers' Compensation, a RAND research brief.

Read more Alumni news, research, and commentary online!

Newest Alumni

Hilary Reininger

Hilary Reininger
Cohort '16

Dissertation: #KeepingItReal: Improving Social Media Users’ Resistance to False Information during Elections. Hilary is now a consultant at Anthro-Tech.

Uzaib Saya

Uzaib Saya
Cohort '16

Dissertation: Three Essays on HIV Investments in sub-Saharan Africa. Uzaib is now an associate fellow at the GSA Office of Evaluation Sciences.

Congratulations and welcome to the Pardee RAND Alumni Association!

Recent and Upcoming Events

Students at Santa Monica Beach

Beach Day Returns!

Beach Day is an annual student tradition at Pardee RAND to welcome the new cohort. We had to skip a year last fall, so it was great to be back.

(Also, this gives us the opportunity to share the launch of the Pardee RAND Instagram channel — follow us for more!)

Nancy Staudt with alumni at DC dinner

Dean Visits D.C., Pittsburgh

Dean Nancy Staudt traveled back East in October to meet with colleagues and alumni. She looks forward to meeting with more of the Pardee RAND community in 2022 and is actively planning additional trips and meetings — stay tuned!

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