Jesse Thorson


Jesse Thorson is a Special Project Coordinator at the Center for Sustainable Development. In the Director’s Office, he manages several writing and convening projects with a focus on ethics, religion, and happiness, and provides administrative support to Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs.

At CSD, Thorson helps to manage the Science and Ethics for Happiness and Well-being Project, an interdisciplinary convening initiative on the intersection of psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, theology, and well-being sciences. He also oversees the production of a compendium based on the proceedings of the Ethics in Action initiative, featuring contributions from various philosophers, theologians, economists, and other practitioners. Thorson’s academic interests include environmental ethics, theology, and philosophy of religion.

Thorson graduated from Columbia University (Columbia College) with his B.A. in Sustainable Development in May, 2018 (magna cum laude). He graduated with departmental honors, and conducted qualitative research for his senior thesis on electricity access in Nicaragua (fieldwork supported by the Earth Institute, the Global Policy Initiative, and the Institute of Latin American Studies). Upon graduation, Thorson was awarded the Henry Evans Travel Fellowship to meet and interview Nicaraguan revolutionary, poet, ecological activist, and theologian, Ernesto Cardenal, in his home in Managua.

As an undergraduate, Thorson worked as a research intern at the Columbia Water Center (2015, under Dr. Michelle Ho and Professor Upmanu Lall) and as an administrative intern at the Earth Institute’s main offices (2018). He also worked as a business analyst at a Manhattan-based solar energy start-up for nine months (2016).