Twelve Alumni Present Career Talks

Steve Davenport, Erin Duffy, John Speed Meyers, Diana Gehlhaus, and Ifeanyi Edochie shared their career experiences with students. (Assistant Dean Stefanie Howard and Career Services director Sandy Buchan are also pictured)

June 8, 2021

Twelve alumni shared their experiences with current students this spring through interactive Career Services webinars and discussions, taking advantage of one silver lining of our virtual world.

Career Pathways of Recent Graduates

The quarter began with five alumni — Steven Davenport, Erin L. Duffy, Ifeanyi Edochie, John Speed Meyers, and Diana Gehlhaus — discussing "Career Pathways of Recent Graduates: Stories from Cohort 2015."

They shared their career histories, experiences, and tips for navigating the job market with a newly minted Pardee RAND Ph.D.

Davenport is executive director of the Center for New Data and founder of Aperture Research. Duffy is a postdoctoral fellow with the Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics at USC. Edochie is a data scientist in the Poverty and Equity Global Practice at the World Bank. Meyers is also a data scientist, with IQT (In-Q-Tel) Labs. And Gehlhaus, who moderated the conversation, is a research fellow at the Center for Security and Emerging Technology.

Adventures in Academia

Student Joan Chang (cohort '18) then moderated three different conversations focused on health care, government, and international careers. Bill Gelfeld ('14) and Jeremy Ghez ('06) discussed "Adventures in Academia: Alumni Professors in Mexico and France."

Gelfeld is a professor of political science and international relations at Tecnológico de Monterrey and Ghez is a professor of economics and international affairs at HEC Paris.

Careers in Government

The second panel Chang moderated featured Gordon Bitko ('02) and Ricardo Basurto-Davila ('03), who spoke on "Careers in Government – From Los Angeles County to the FBI."

Bitko is senior vice president of Policy for Public Sector at the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) and previously was chief information officer of the FBI; Basurto-Davila is a researcher of public health, health economics, policy analysis, and economic evaluation with the Los Angeles County of Public Health.

Alumni in Health Care

Chang's third panel featured Sai Ma ('02) and Abdul Tariq ('10) joined Chang for "Alumni in Health Care: Different Careers and Different Ways of Caring."

Ma is managing director/senior technical advisor for quality measurement at the National Quality Forum, and Tariq is director of machine learning at Geisinger Health and an adjunct professor at Columbia Business School.

And... Cat Herding?

Additionally, Mark Perry ('92) gave a humorous and informative guest presentation titled "That Herding Cats Thing: A New Paradigm about Leading Highly Educated Colleagues."

A faculty member of the US Army-Baylor University Graduate Program in Health and Business Administration, Perry said that herding cats is not the best metaphor for working with and leading highly educated colleagues. Rather, based on his experience in hospitals, research & development, academia, and other similarly complex organizations, he suggested a more appropriate description would be running a pest control business with cats for labor. The effective leader or manager must demonstrate the skills needed to get cats to be productive predators while avoiding management decisions which result in what he calls "bad cat behavior."

—Monica Hertzman