First female USACE member elected to US Academy of Engineering

Dr. Jane McKee Smith, a senior scientist in the Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory, is an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering. USACE
Dr. Jane McKee Smith, a senior scientist in the Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory, is an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering

Dr. Jane McKee Smith, a senior research scientist with the Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory at the US Army Engineer’s research centre for Research and Development (ERDC), has been elected to the US Academy of Engineering. Election to the academy is one of the highest professional distinctions bestowed to an engineer.

“This is an impressive career accomplishment,” said Dr. David Pittman, Director of the ERDC. Only four other ERDC or waterways experiment station professionals have served as members of the academy.

“McKee Smith also holds the distinction of being the first female academy member from the US Army Corps of Engineers,” Pittman added.

Smith was recognised 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 that is used throughout the world for coastal project planning and design. She was the wave modelling 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.

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 PhD 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.”