Elizabeth Festa, Ph.D.  

Managing Director
  (202) 296-2741

Elizabeth Festa serves as Managing Director in the firm’s Research Universities Practice. In this role, Elizabeth supports a range of clients in capacity building, strategic intelligence, project management, and grants consulting.  Outside her work with the firm, Elizabeth is an IRB affiliate at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

Prior to joining McAllister & Quinn, Elizabeth worked as the Assistant Director of the Office of Research Development under the Vice President of Research at Rice University.  In this role, she served as a project manager and comprehensive editor for a range of federal funding opportunities, from early career awards to large, multidisciplinary, center-based grants. In addition, she designed and facilitated faculty proposal writing workshops.  Prior to joining the Office of Research, Elizabeth held several leadership positions in Rice’s academic communication program, including Associate Director of the Program in Writing and Communication; Associate Director of the Center for Academic and Professional Communication; and Lecturer in Academic Communication.  Across these positions, she developed curriculum and assignments; designed and led communication workshops; and assessed multimodal academic communication across all schools of study at Rice.  She was a reviewer for the Fulbright National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship in its inaugural year and assisted in developing criteria and guidance for applicants to this program.   Before entering the academy, Elizabeth served as a quartermaster officer in the 101st Support Group, Fort Campbell, Kentucky. She completed her service as a Captain. 

Elizabeth is active in the National Organization for Research Development Professionals (NORDP) and is Co-Chair of NORDP’s Strategic Alliances Committee (SAC).


  • Asst. Director of Research Development, Rice University
  • Assoc. Director of the Program in Writing & Communication, Rice University
  • Lecturer, Rice University
  • Captain, U.S. Army


  • Research Development
  • Faculty Development & Training
  • Research Writing & Communication
  • Qualitative research


B.A, University of Notre Dame

Ph.D., Vanderbilt University