Sara Turner

Photo of Sara Turner
Assistant Policy Researcher; Ph.D. Candidate, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica Office


M.A. in international studies, University of Denver; B.A. in economics and international relations, Gonzaga University


Sara Turner is a doctoral candidate at the Pardee RAND Graduate School and an assistant policy researcher at RAND. She has an M.A. in international studies, specializing in international political economy, from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, and dual bachelor’s degrees in economics and international relations from Gonzaga University.

Her prior work has dealt with disaster recovery and resilience, energy policy, natural resources management, and planning under conditions of deep uncertainty. Her dissertation applies complex systems analysis methods such as robust decision making and serious gaming to assess wildfire risk management policies in the US.

In 2018, she participated in the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis Young Scientists Summer Program in Laxenburg, Austria, where she analyzed decision making processes for common pool resource management problems. Prior to joining Pardee RAND, she was a research associate at the Frederick S. Pardee Center for International Futures at the University of Denver, where she worked on projects relating to environmental health and food security. She also served as a consultant for the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria, South Africa, where she assessed the achievability of proposed sustainable development goals.

Her research interests include disaster risk reduction, adaptive capacity/resilience, environmental resources management, and energy policy.