Alexandra Bornkessel

Senior Strategist, Center for Communication Science


  • MA, Journalism, Strategic Communications, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO
  • BA, Journalism, Strategic Communications, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO
  • Cross-Cultural Journalism, Tecnologico de Monterrey, Guadalajara, Mexico
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Alexandra Bornkessel, MA, is a Senior Strategist who marries marketing concepts with behavioral science to solve meaningful problems. Ms. Bornkessel leads RTI’s Digital Impact Initiative, a multidisciplinary collaborative across 130 staff that champions social innovation and best practices in designing and delivering digital products and campaigns. Calling upon collaborative methods, she advocates for human-centered approaches that help organizations build empathy and better connect with priority groups to co-design solutions with people, for people. Her work often focuses on supporting the voice of women, children and families, bringing light to topics that can find themselves in the dark—money, sex and injustice—by promoting informed decision-making and transforming knowledge into action.

She’s worked on almost two dozen national campaigns and initiatives across health, finance and the environment. Recent projects include receiving a 2018 Spirit of North Carolina award for the Our Money Needs Calculator, a pro-bono effort to unlock 500,000 data points trapped in PDF tables into a meaningful tool that helps families plan for the future; partnering with Parsons Design School to leverage design thinking in developing tools for surviving spouses, and launching Puerto Rico’s bilingual, communication campaign, This Is How We Stop Zika/Deten el Zika.

Ms. Bornkessel previously taught the course “Social Media and Health” at American University and earned her Masters from the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, where she studied the role of influence in the digital landscape. She also co-founded the still active Rampy MS Research Foundation whose Trifest for MS triathlon festival was named “Best Triathlon in the South” and featured in a 2019 issue of Triathlete Magazine. Ms. Bornkessel is an active board member for Beer & Hymns, a community sing-a-long which raises funds for community-based organizations in Northwest Arkansas (where she lives) and is an active member of the North American Social Marketing Association.