notable alumni profile: debby prigal, mba'87

The DC Alumni Association will be recognizing notable, local alumni each month.

Debby Prigal received her MBA in 1987 from Booth (then the GSB) and is now a statistician at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, where she builds econometric models and develops forecasts to determine needed staffing for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).


Debby first came to Washington after finishing her Peace Corps service as a math teacher in Ghana, West Africa. She worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics before heading to UChicago. After receiving her MBA, Debby returned to Washington to work in finance and consulting — common MBA jobs. After 10 years, she took the unusual step of returning to school full-time and moved to Atlanta for a year to get an M.S. from Georgia Tech in Operations Research (a subgroup of Industrial Engineering) in 1998. As she received her A.B. from Bryn Mawr in 1981 in economics and mathematics, she is thus one of a very few people who attended both a liberal arts college and engineering graduate school.


Upon her return from Atlanta, Debby worked in the aviation field. She worked in Boeing’s Air Traffic Management unit and was then a TRW and SAIC consultant to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) before becoming a federal employee at the FAA in 2007. She stayed at the FAA until 2013 when she moved to USCIS.


Debby has been a long-time active member of the UChicago Alumni Club of DC. For seven years she was the representative to the Ivy Singles Social Club. She also organized volunteer and Jewish singles groups. Upon her marriage to Randy Rosenfeld 10 years ago, Debby missed the camaraderie she had experienced and saw that the UChicago Club had an active young alumni group but not much after people “graduated” from it.


Thus, Debby took the lead in organizing “Boomers to Busters” for those who were undergrads during the '70s, '80s and '90s. Nine years later the group now includes more than 30 colleges and universities and an email list of over 400. With one or two events every quarter, Boomers to Busters is one of the DC club's most successful groups and has been a model for other in groups in DC and elsewhere.