Policy Streams Welcome New Leaders

Gonzalez and Armour

October 1, 2020

The 33 students of the 2020 cohort weren’t the only new members of the Pardee RAND community on September 21. They were joined by Cynthia Gonzalez, the new director of our Community-Partnered Policy and Action academic stream and the Community Partner program.

Additionally, earlier this summer, Phil Armour was tapped to be director of the Research, Analysis, and Design stream, and the school hired Aaron Lucas as an on-site lab assistant for the Tech + Narrative Lab, a key component of the Technology Applications and Implications stream, and selected leaders for three TNL "lablets."

Gonzalez wasn't entirely new to Pardee RAND. Her introduction came in the summer of 2015, when she was selected for Pardee RAND's Faculty Leaders Program as a professor at the College of Science and Health at Charles Drew University. Over the ensuing years, she continued at Drew while also joining the L.A. Housing Authority to lead the Watts Rising, a groundbreaking Transformative Climate Communities program.

Like our new cohort, Gonzalez brings new expertise and talent to the Pardee RAND community. Her degrees are in public health, Chicana/o studies, biostatistics and epidemiology, and social and cultural anthropology from UCLA, USC, and the California Institute of Integral Studies. She is also in her second year of the three-year Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Leaders fellowship program, a program analogous to the Clinical Scholars Program.

“I am excited to join such a collaborative team and innovative design to policy development,” she said. “Pardee RAND is taking its resources to elevate wellbeing through equity, social justice, and partnership by weaving major streams for critical policy development. I look forward to implementing a rigorous academic program that bridges research and action with community priorities at the center.”

Gonzalez is gradually transitioning from her external responsibilities and will be full time at Pardee RAND as of December 21.

Armour is, of course, a well-respected member of the Pardee RAND faculty and two-time recipient of the student-selected Huddleson Outstanding Teacher award. He teaches Microeconomics II and has mentored several students and alumni.

Lucas came to Pardee RAND from CEIVA Energy, where he was head of additive manufacturing. He works onsite in Santa Monica to keep our technology current and available to all of the school community, including RAND researchers and technologists.

TNL directors Todd Richmond and Osonde Osoba also appointed the TNL's first “Lablet Leads.” Gavin Hartnett is the lead for AI/ML, Jonathan Welburn heads up Digital Gaming, and Tim Marler leads VR/AR. Their roles are to mentor Tech Stream students and coordinate and watch over RAND Researcher Residencies, experiments, projects, workshops, and hackathons.

To date, TNL activities have included nearly 30 faculy and RAND researchers, including Samantha McBirney, Luke Matthews, Patricia Stapleton, Tim Gulden, and Kristin Warren. A full list of projects and residencies is available on the Tech + Narrative Lab website.

—Monica Hertzman