Harold and Colene Brown Faculty Chair
The Brown Faculty Chair is a prestigious honor at Pardee RAND bestowed upon up to three faculty members each year. Being selected to the chair enables faculty to spend up to a month in residency at the Pardee RAND campus to engage with students across a range of mentoring activities, including office hours and one-on-one meetings, workshops, and lectures. Because social activities can stimulate creative thinking and build bonds of trust, faculty are encouraged to socialize and connect with students over meals, cultural events, or outdoor activities. Faculty also have time to pursue an independent research topic or activity of their choosing.
These generous fellowships were endowed in 2015 by RAND trustee emeritus and former U.S. Secretary of Defense Harold Brown and his wife, Colene.
Note: prior to 2016-2017, these faculty were called the Harold and Colene Brown Faculty Fellows
Andrew Lohn took up residence as Brown Faculty Chair in October 2019, but COVID-19 precluded faculty members from fully participating as Brown Faculty Chairs for the second half of the 2019-20 academic year. We therefore invited a select group of researchers, including all former Brown Faculty Chairs, to submit ideas for groundbreaking exploratory research. Five outstanding proposals, described below, received Brown Faculty Chair support.
Andrew Lohn is an engineer at RAND who works primarily in areas of technology policy, often within a national or global security context. His approaches tend to be technically oriented involving proof-of-principle demonstrations, mathematical and computational modeling, or data-intensive methodologies. Prior to joinng RAND he built a nanotechnology lab at NASA, was a visiting researcher at Hewlett-Packard Labs, a post-doc at Sandia National Labs, and started two companies to commercialize his nanotechnologies for energy generation. His work has received wide coverage in both technical spheres such as MIT Technology Review, TechCrunch, and Gizmodo as well as policy arenas such as Foreign Policy, BBC, and Politico.
Residency: October 2019.
Activities Funded by the Brown Faculty Chair Endowment
Workshop on the Modern Racial Justice Movement: Velocity, Coverage & Impact
A videoconference on August 28 provided a snapshot of how this movement has evolved so quickly, what’s its goals are, and how to sustain it. The guest speakers were Dr. Omar Wasow, assistant professor, Princeton University Department of Politics; Dr. Shom Mazumder, social scientist, writer, and fellow at Data for Progress; and Dr. Allissa Richardson, assistant professor at the USC Annenberg School of Journalism.
Maynard Holliday worked with Mike Gaines (cohort '17) to organize the event.
Workshop on Understanding the Case for Reparations Through an Examination of Black Household Wealth and Income
America’s history of persistent racial impediments has resulted in Black families holding just a few percent of the average wealth of white households with negative impacts on health, education, productivity, safety, international competitiveness, community resilience, and perceptions of the U.S. internationally — and by its own citizens. This virtual workshop will examine what is necessary to reverse these systemic injustices and eradicate the wealth gap in the U.S. The invited speaker is William A. ("Sandy") Darity Jr., the Samuel DuBois Cook Professor of Public Policy, African and African American Studies, and Economics and the director of the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University
Jonathan William Welburn, Kristin Warren, Maynard Holliday, and Steven Popper proposed and are organizing this event on September 23, 2020, with the assistance of Michael Gaines ('17).
Virtual Bridges: Networking and Collaboration across RAND and Pardee RAND Programs
The goal of this activity is to build meaningful connections between Pardee RAND students, RAND researchers, Faculty Leader alumni, and Summer Associates and to strengthen ties between the Faculty Leaders Alumni and the leadership of Global Research Talent.
Kerry Reynolds and Malcolm Williams proposed and are organizing this activity.
Commentary on Race Matters: Building a Bigger Table
This piece will challenge the notion that to uplift one group, there must be a harm or a limiting of another and instead urge us to ask, how do we include Black people by building a bigger table, by inviting and exalting different perspectives, by framing the conversation in a way that would raise up Black talent?
Tepring Piquado, Pardee RAND's Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Advisor, will be writing this commentary.
Laying the Groundwork to Address COVID-19 Disparities in South Los Angeles
It is clear that COVID-19 has a disproportionate impact on people of color, and we know from the most recent prior influenza pandemic (H1N1) that African Americans and Latinos in South Los Angeles will be less likely than residents in other parts of the county to get a vaccination when one is available or to be able to take advantage of other mitigation resources and activities. Building on partnerships developed with churches, public health agencies, and health care agencies in and around South Los Angeles, the coordinators of this project will engage Pardee RAND students in exploratory work to help inform the intervention that they will field when they secure funding.
Katie Derose and Malcolm Williams requested this seed grant and will be leading the research effort.
Jeffrey Wasserman is a professor of public policy at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. For over 30 years, he held a variety of positions at RAND, including vice president and director of RAND Health, assistant dean for academic affairs at the Pardee RAND Graduate School, and senior policy researcher. He led projects related to a wide range of health policy issues, including health care reform, tobacco control, public health emergency preparedness, health care safety nets, and quality of care. Wasserman received his B.A. in political science and his M.S. in public policy analysis from the University of Rochester; his Ph.D. in public policy analysis is from the Pardee RAND Graduate School.
Residency: October 2018.
Malcolm Williams is a senior policy researcher at RAND. His background is in health services research, including access to care, disparities in health and health care, and community resilience to disasters. He has extensive experience developing and assessing community-based projects addressing population health and health equity. He recently co-led an NIH-funded study bringing together a partnership of over 60 churches in South Los Angeles with the Los Angeles Department of Public Health and various community-based health centers to address obesity and diabetes disparities among Latinos and African Americans. He has worked extensively with state and local public health departments around many issues relevant to chronic and infectious disease and health care delivery. Prior to these activities he participated in a study of the public health implications of prisoner reentry.
Residency: January 2019.
Tepring Piquado, a neuroscientist and former teacher, is interested in a variety of areas including employment transitions, cognitive abilities, and health and well-being. She is a physical scientist at RAND and received her Ph.D. in neuroscience from Brandeis University and her B.S. in computer science from Georgetown University. She is also Pardee RAND's Diversity and Inclusion Advisor and serves as a mentor of mentors.
Prior to joining RAND, her research focus was on language comprehension and retention across the lifespan. During the 2012-13 legislative session, she worked at the California State Capitol for the Senate Human Services committee working on expanding access to and improving social programs and foster care issues. She also worked in a State Senator’s office as a legislative aid working on mental health initiatives and a transportation bill.
Residency: Mid-February to mid-March 2019.
Kathryn Pitkin Derose
During her tenure as Brown Faculty Chair in November 2017, Kathryn Pitkin Derose held student seminars on the roles of religious congregations in addressing health disparities and immigrant health and healthcare advantages and disadvantages. She also had "Walk and talk Wednesdays" at lunch, took students to Olvera Street for Dia de los Muertos, and organized a salsa and bachata lesson. A member of RAND's Human Subjects Protection Committee, her research focuses on understanding and addressing health disparities. She has expertise regarding faith-based organizations, community-based participatory research, Latinos, and Latin America.
A long-time member of the Pardee RAND faculty, Sebastian Linnemayr has served as a reviewer of dissertation proposals and as chair/member on many dissertation committees. His research focuses on the use of behavioral economics for behavior change, for chronic conditions such as HIV. Sebastian's residence at Pardee RAND coincides with a course he’s teaching with Sean Grant on Behavioral Insights for Policy Design. He will also overlap for about a week at the end of February with our third Brown Faculty Chair, Andrew Parker.
Andrew Parker is co-director of the Center for Decision Making under Uncertainty, a senior behavioral and social scientist at the RAND Corporation, and a member of the Pardee RAND Graduate School faculty. His research applies core concepts in behavioral decision research to the understanding of decisions in complex, real-world situations. He was in residence at Pardee RAND in March 2018.
Senior Behavioral Scientist Lisa Meredith met one-on-one with students to discuss topics ranging from getting through the first year of the program, planning the dissertation, dry-running conference presentations, and even decompressing post-presidential election. She also presented two seminars, one on dissertations and another on research experiments — including her own randomized trial of collaborative care for PTSD.
Senior Information Scientist John Davis held a two-part workshop that explored the recent rise in cybersecurity incidents and their associated geopolitical implications. During one of his recreational events, he hosted a "first annual" bike ride down the Santa Monica/Venice beach bike trail, where he proved that even a leisurely bike ride can inspire policy discussions: Davis and students stopped by a SnapChat kiosk to learn about SnapChat Spectacles, which of course led to a discussion about the product’s privacy implications.
During her July residency, Senior Economist Christine Eibner presented two seminars for students —"Health Reform Debate in Congress" and "Using Simulation to Estimate the Effects of Policy Changes" — and held office hours for one-on-one student interactions. She also had two delicious and engaging lunches with small groups of students, as well as a fun happy hour with a larger group.
Behavioral and Social Scientist Bill Marcellino highlighted his research using RAND-Lex and social media analysis, and led a workshop for Pardee RAND teaching assistants.
Senior Economist Steven Popper conducted student workshops on “half-baked ideas.” An overarching theme of these sessions was that policy analysis in both method and application is entering a new and exciting realm. Steven also introduced several international students to the lively pastime of American baseball.
Senior Policy Researcher Chapin White’s main focus was on the dissertation-writing process. While writing a dissertation is almost always a challenging experience full of false starts and dead ends, Chapin hoped his insights could lay the groundwork for overall success.
Senior Engineer Dave Baiocchi met with students to learn about the policy problem or research area that led them to pursue a Ph.D. at Pardee RAND. His intensive interviews have made him a resource for researchers trying to find students for their projects and also prepared him to serve as a Dissertation Workshop leader.
Senior Physical Scientist Aimee Curtright, building on her work in the area of energy and technology policy, led a series of workshops on the topic of hydraulic fracturing (i.e., fracking).
Senior Policy Researcher Beau Kilmer focused on updating his 2012 book, Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press)—a nonpartisan primer on the subject published before nonmedical marijuana was legal anywhere—and on introducing students to new forms of engaging with policymakers, such as Twitter and other social media.
Senior Economist Nick Burger received the first Harold Brown Faculty Fellowship for exploratory work on the relationship between shale gas resources and greenhouse gas emissions. At the time, the fellowship was a two-year grant for a professor working with students. In the first year, Burger, working with students Zhimin Mao and Kun Gu, focused on understanding the existing models and the literature on modeling the GHG implications of resource development. In the second year of the grant, they worked to develop a new model to estimate the GHG implications of shale gas development