The Edward and Estela O'Brien Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Award

Soledad O'Brien and Pardee RAND's inaugural O'Brien IDEA Scholar, Ingrid Estrada-Darley

Photo by Diane Baldwin/RAND Corporation

The Edward and Estela O'Brien Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Award (IDEA) is funded through the generous support of award-winning journalist Soledad O'Brien, a longtime Pardee RAND Graduate School supporter and member of the Pardee RAND Board of Governors, in honor of her parents.

The O'Brien IDEA program provides full-tuition scholarships annually to entering Pardee RAND graduate students. In addition to two years of tuition support, O'Brien IDEA scholarship recipients will also be provided with a specially assigned faculty mentor and other professional development support.

O'Brien IDEA scholarships will be awarded to students whose background or experience, when evaluated holistically, suggests they are uniquely able to contribute to the diversity of the Pardee RAND community and to the academic profession as a whole. The scholarship is intended first and foremost for students who are underrepresented in the student body population, have overcome obstacles such as socioeconomic or educational disadvantage, or are the first generation in their family to attend college and/or pursue an advanced degree.

Elements of the O'Brien IDEA Scholarship

Tuition scholarship

Students receiving the O'Brien IDEA scholarship receive a two-year tuition scholarship of $26,500 in both their first year and second year, for a total of $53,000. This scholarship allows recipients more time to focus on research and academics.

Faculty mentoring

The faculty mentoring program offers O'Brien IDEA Scholars supplemental formal mentoring, in addition to the academic advising, career services, and peer support resources that all students receive to assist with the completion of their Ph.D. program. It is designed to improve mentoring for students who are not yet at the dissertation stage and have not yet advanced to candidacy.

Conference support

Dedicated funding is available to O'Brien IDEA Scholars with the goal to present at one conference each year for four years starting in the second year. The conference support funding includes travel costs, conference fee, and payment for poster printing, as applicable.

How to Apply

For consideration, interested applicants should mark the O'Brien IDEA Scholarship checkbox when filling out the Pardee RAND application.

For more information please contact us at or visit our Statement on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

O'Brien IDEA Scholars

Ingrid Estrada Darley

Ingrid Estrada-Darley

Ingrid Estrada-Darley (cohort '19) has research interests that include early education, community-based health care, mental health, child and family resilience, immigration, and social determinants of health.

"As the daughter of immigrant parents, I have come to realize my life could have taken a different turn without the alignment of a network of complex social forces that swayed in my favor," she says of her O'Brien IDEA Scholarship.

Prior to joining Pardee RAND, she was development director at Clinica Romero, a federally qualified health clinic, and director of an Early Head Start program. She is an adjunct lecturer in the Child and Family Studies Department at California State University Los Angeles and an appointed commissioner on the Los Angeles City Commission on Community and Family Services. Estrada-Darley has an M.S.W. with a specialization in community organizing, planning, and administration from the University of Southern California and a B.S. in psychobiology from the University of California, Los Angeles.