Samer Atshan

Samer Atshan
Assistant Policy Researcher; Ph.D. Candidate, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica Office


M.P.A. in public affairs, The University of Texas at Austin; M.S. in energy and earth resources, The University of Texas at Austin; B.Eng. in mechanical engineering, American University of Beirut


Samer Atshan is an assistant policy researcher at RAND and a Ph.D. student at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. His research focuses on understanding social and psychiatric epidemiological outcomes relating to mental health, behavioral health, well-being, loneliness, and social isolation. He is experienced in a range of quantitative methods, such as econometric and psychometric analyses, social network analysis, text mining, complex systems analysis, and machine learning. His most recent work uses survey panels to understand changes in perceptions, behaviors, and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Past project work investigated how trauma and socio-ecological factors affect Palestinian youth's mental and behavioral health in the West Bank. He is also interested in text-mining attitudes from conversations on social media. He is part of the team developing RAND-Lex, RAND's proprietary text analytics suite.

He has an M.P.A. from the University of Texas, Austin, and a B.Eng. in mechanical engineering from the American University of Beirut. Prior to joining Pardee RAND, he was a research associate at the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service at the University of Texas, Austin, where he worked on developing the Austin Area Sustainability Indicators. He previously worked at the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality in Austin, Texas, and at the United Nations Development Programme in Beirut, Lebanon.

Recent Projects

  • Evolution of Public Risk Perception and Mental Models Regarding COVID-19
  • Employer and Employee Behaviors, Experiences, and Perceptions of the Ongoing Pandemic
  • How Built and Social Environments Affect COVID-19 Impacts in the Gulf of Mexico
  • Modeling the Coupled Dynamics of COVID-19 Transmission and Protective Behaviors
  • Disparities in Social Security Knowledge and the Role of Social Capital

Honors & Awards

  • The Anne and James Rothenberg Dissertation Award, Pardee RAND Graduate School