First Corps Woman Elected To National Academy Of Engineering

Dr. Jane McKee Smith, a senior research scientist with the Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory (CHL) at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), one of the highest professional honors that can be bestowed to an engineer. The NAE is a private, independent, nonprofit institution that provides engineering leadership in service to the nation. It consists of more than 2,000 peer-elected members and foreign members, who are among the world’s most accomplished engineers.

Dr. David Pittman, director of the ERDC, said that only four other ERDC or Waterways Experiment Station professionals have served as distinguished members of the Academy. “Jane also holds the distinction of being the first female Academy member from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,” said Pittman.

Smith was recognized for her research breakthroughs in hydrodynamic phenomena and her leadership in coastal engineering research and development resulting in improved infrastructure resilience. Her research focuses on nearshore waves and currents, wave-current interaction, shallow-water wave processes and storm surge.

Smith is the co-developer of the Steady-State Spectral Wave Model, a numerical model used throughout the world for coastal project planning and design. She was the wave modeling lead investigator for the Interagency Performance Evaluation Task Force evaluation of Hurricane Katrina, and also led development of a system to quickly forecast hurricane waves, storm surge and inundation for the Hawaiian Islands.

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She has more than 200 professional publications to her credit and serves as chair of the American Society of Civil Engineers Coastal Engineering Research Council and on the editorial boards of Coastal Engineering and the Journal of Waterway, Port, Coastal and Ocean Engineering. She is an adjunct professor at Mississippi State University and serves on the Ph.D. committees at MSU, the University of Florida, Louisiana State University and Texas A&M University.

“It is a great honor to be elected to the National Academy of Engineering,” said Smith. “I’m very thankful for the opportunities that ERDC has given me to research waves and coastal processes, solve engineering challenges, collaborate with the international community, and most of all, work with both great mentors and colleagues. Engineering is all about solving problems, and it is very rewarding to focus on solving problems with national and international impact as part of the Corps of Engineers team.”

As part of the ERDC, CHL addresses an entire spectrum of water resource challenges in groundwater, watersheds, rivers, reservoirs, estuaries, harbors, coastal inlets and wetlands.