The Pardee RAND Graduate School Alumni Newsletter — Winter 2022 | Web version

Winter 2022


Message from the Dean

Nancy Staudt

In my six short months as dean of the Pardee RAND Graduate School and vice president of Innovation at RAND, I have been fortunate to meet many wonderful students, faculty, researchers, donors, and friends. Our community is warm, thoughtful, and visionary — and I am thrilled to be a part of it!

As you might know, Pardee RAND and RAND are in the middle of a $400 million fundraising campaign. This goal is ambitious, yes, but given our mission and important contributions to policy, it is also realistic. The generosity of our donors and supporters is already truly inspiring.

Please enjoy this quarter’s Findings and don’t hesitate to share your feedback. I hope everyone has a fantastic spring, and I look forward to seeing many of you in June for Commencement!

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

Gearing Up for Commencement 2022

Commencement celebration

Adobe Stock

Pardee RAND is excited to share plans for Commencement Weekend in June. Friday afternoon will feature a panel discussion that includes our honorary degree recipients, followed by a dinner honoring our Ph.D. graduates. The Saturday ceremony will honor four years of Ph.D. and M.Phil. graduates and include a keynote address by the scientist, academic, and groundbreaking leader Wanda Austin. More »

Pathfinder mentoring

School Launches Mentoring Program

Pardee RAND launched the Pathfinder Mentoring Program this year, pairing RAND researchers with first-year students to help them develop the skills needed to become policy analysts and cultivate a network of professionals as they work to complete their doctorates. More »

Patel, Catt, Preston, and Lempert

Students, Faculty Share IPCC Findings

David Catt, Cohort '16, and Karishma Patel, '17, chapter coauthors for the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, presented their findings earlier this month, along with Professors Robert Lempert and Benjamin Preston. More »

Student Research & Commentary

Khrystyna Holynska on KRIS-TV

Khrystyna Holynska, Cohort '20, coauthored three commentaries on Russia's invasion of her home country, Ukraine: two with Ambassador William Courtney for The Hill and one with Professor Marek Posard for Breaking Defense. As the crisis has unfolded, she also shared her expertise with the New York Times and many other news media.

Zara Fatima Abdurahaman, Cohort '21: "A Promising Era for Women of Color in U.S. Elections, but Gains in Broader Workplace Leadership Remain Elusive," a commentary in The RAND Blog

Gaby Alvarado, Cohort '19, and James Syme, '18, along with alumni David Groves, '01, and Edmundo Molina-Perez, '11: A Green Costa Rican COVID-19 Recovery, a RAND research report

Lawrence Baker, Cohort '19, Priya Gandhi, '20, Khadesia Howell, '20, Rebecca Wolfe, '20: The U.S. Equity-First Vaccination Initiative: Early Insights a RAND research report

Jay Balagna, Cohort '20, was the lead author of "To Help Climate Migrants, We Must First Recognize Them," a commentary in The Hill

Sangita Baxi, Cohort '17, Christine Chen, '15, Meghan Franco, '17, Mahlet Gizaw, '17, and Nima Shahidinia, '16: Predictors of PTSD Treatment Retention and Response a RAND research report

Heather Gomez-Bendaña, Cohort '19, and Lucas Greer, '20: "Educating Students with Disabilities: Lessons from the Pandemic," a RAND research report

Jonah Kushner, Cohort '20: "Carve-In Models for Specialty Behavioral Health Services in Medicaid: Lessons for the State of California," a RAND research report

Nathan Thompson, Cohort '20: "Developing Strategic Plans for Defense Human Resource Management," a RAND research report

Explore all student publications and blog posts.

Alumni News

Career connections

Three Alumni Receive RSF Pipeline Grants

Faculty Leaders Program alumni Angie Bautista-Chavez and Nyron N. Crawford, and Pardee RAND alum Ashley Muchow, Cohort '13, each received Pipeline Grants for Emerging Scholars from the Russell Sage Foundation for innovative research on economic mobility and access to opportunity in the U.S. More »


Nominate a Distinguished Alum

The Pardee RAND Alumni Leadership Award recognizes alumni who show passion, leadership, and discipline in their careers; who have made important contributions through public service and/or to public policy; and who are active in the Pardee RAND community. Nominations are now being accepted! More »

on your new job or career milestone

Yilmaz Arguden

Yilmaz Arguden
Cohort '80

Yilmaz, chairman of ARGE Consulting, was elected chairman of Business at OECD's Governance and Regulatory Policy Committee.

Cheryl Damberg

Cheryl Damberg
Cohort '89

Cheryl is a member of the Health Equity and Quality Committee of the California Department of Managed Health Care, in addition to her position at RAND.

Shira Efron

Shira Efron
Cohort '11

Shira is now director of research at Israel Policy Forum.

Hugh Levaux

Hugh Levaux
Cohort '94

Hugh is now vice president of clinical research at Flatiron Health.

Nick Ramphal

Nick Ramphal
Cohort '02

Nick is now a partner at the law firm Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP.

Jack Riley

Jack Riley
Cohort '88

Jack is now the vice president and director of the Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center at RAND.

Jonathan Schachter

Jonathan Schachter
Cohort '98

Jonathan is now a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute's new Center for Peace and Security in the Middle East.

Bob Valdez

Robert Otto Valdez
Cohort '80

Bob is now the director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Alumni Research & Commentary

David Apgar, Cohort '80, wrote a commentary, "The Supreme Court vs. the US: Advantage China," for the online magazine The Globalist.

Arthur Brooks, Cohort '96, has a forthcoming book, From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life, available for preorder on his website.

Tad Daley, Cohort '86, summarized his LOSCON talk, "World Government: Mere Science Fiction—Or Future Possibility?" for Citizens for Global Solutions; the article also includes a video link.

Diana Epstein, Cohort '05, was interviewed about "Using the OMB learning agenda to support the President's Management Agenda" on FedScoop Radio.

David R. Johnson, Cohort '08, was the lead author of "Rapid, risk-based levee design framework for greater risk reduction at lower cost than standards-based design," published in the Journal of Flood Risk Management.

Todi Mengistu, Cohort '07, coauthored "Ethnic disparities in immunisation: analyses of zero-dose prevalence in 64 low- and middle-income countries," a pre-print article in MedRxiv.

Scott Pace, Cohort '85, moderated a panel discussion on space diplomacy hosted by Journal of George Washington University in late February.

Samantha Ravich, Cohort '92, coauthored a commentary, "The U.S. Must Prepare to Withstand a Cyberattack," in The Dispatch.

Brian Weatherford, Cohort '04, as principal fiscal and policy analyst at the California Legislative Analyst's Office, authored a series of reports analyzing elements of the state's 2022-223 budget, including Temporary Limits on Business Tax Provisions, Federal Tax Conformity for Federal Business Assistance, Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development Proposals, and Office of Planning and Research Budget Proposals.

Michele Zanini, Cohort '96, will discuss his book Humanocracy: Creating Organizations as Amazing as the People Inside Them during a virtual book club discussion on March 30, hosted by NovoEd. Zanini and his Humanocracy coauthor also wrote a commentary, "How to create jobs that don’t suck," in Fast Company, as part of their New Human Movement video series that interviews business experts.

Read more Alumni news, research, and commentary online!

Newest Alumni

Sohaela Amiri

Sohaela Amiri
Cohort '16

Dissertation: Exploring the Role of U.S. City Diplomacy in Strengthening U.S. Global Influence: Proposing Policies to Make U.S. City Diplomacy a Robust Practice that Enhances American Diplomacy. Sohaela is a research manager at the USC Center on Public Diplomacy.

Lindsey Polley

Lindsey Polley
Cohort '16

Dissertation: To Disclose or Not to Disclose, That is the Question: A Methods-Based Approach for Examining and Improving the US Government’s Vulnerabilities Equities Process. Lindsey is director, Defense and National Security Accounts, at Starburst Aerospace.

Benjamin Smith

Benjamin Smith
Cohort '15

Dissertation: Learning and Earning in This New Economy: A Study of Rideshare Drivers in Los Angeles. Ben is a Naval Reserve Officer supporting the Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet.

Congratulations and welcome to the Pardee RAND Alumni Association!

Recent and Upcoming Events

APPAM Fall Conference logo

APPAM Conference Includes Many from Pardee RAND

More than two dozen students, alumni, and faculty are presenting their research at APPAM's (delayed) Fall 2021 conference this week in Austin, Texas. The conference theme is "The Power of Inclusion: Incorporating Diverse Voices in Public Policy Analysis and Management." The Fall 2022 conference, "Advancing Policy Research with Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives," will take place in Washington, D.C., this November and is accepting proposals until April 8. More »

SCOTUS webinar

Dean Moderates Webinar on Supreme Court's Future

Justice Stephen Breyer's decision to retire provides President Joe Biden the opportunity to name a new justice to the U.S. Supreme Court. In early February, prior to Ketanji Brown Jackson's nomination, Dean Nancy Staudt moderated a discussion featuring New York Times Supreme Court correspondent Adam Liptak and Lee Epstein, the Ethan A.H. Shepley Distinguished University Professor at Washington University in St. Louis. More »

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