Elizabeth Thornton

Photo of Elizabeth Thornton
Policy Analyst
New Orleans Office


M.A. in climate and society, Columbia University; B.A. in mass communication, Loyola University New Orleans


Elizabeth Thornton is a policy analyst at the RAND Corporation. She also serves as the program coordinator for the RAND Water and Climate Resilience Center (WCRC). Her expertise is in risk communications and outreach, particularly surrounding approaches for communicating physical and socioeconomic impacts of climate variability and change to diverse stakeholder groups. Much of Thornton's project work focuses on developing capacity-building strategies and decision-support tools to improve adaptive planning and resilience of physical, economic, and societal systems.

She serves as the outreach coordinator for the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative's Consortium for Resilient Gulf Communities (CRGC), examining the human dimensions and community resilience attributes of areas heavily impacted by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Thornton is also the co-program manager of operations & outreach for the NOAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (MARISA) program.

Prior to joining RAND, Thornton was the regional development director for a long-term disaster recovery organization's Hurricane Sandy Recovery Program. She was also a working group manager at the Clinton Global Initiative, where she managed a cross-sectoral, multi-stakeholder working group surrounding energy efficiency and infrastructure resilience.

Thornton holds an interdisciplinary M.A. in climate and society from Columbia University and earned her B.A. in mass communication from Loyola University New Orleans.

Recent Projects

  • Consortium for Resilient Gulf Communities
  • Supporting Resilience Capacity as Part of the Gulf Region Health Outreach Program's Emergency Management Initiative
  • Retrospective Outcomes Evaluation of Energy Efficiency and Affordable Rental Housing
  • NOAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (MARISA) Center