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Posted 8/22/2014

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By Michelle Steward, ERDC Public Affairs


VICKSBURG, Miss. - Jane McKee Smith, a civil engineer at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory (CHL), was recently named a Distinguished Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). 

Smith will be recognized for her pioneering work developing the STWAVE (Steady State Spectral WAVE) numerical wave transformation model, used by engineers around the world for advancing the knowledge of sediment transport, storm surge and wetland inundation that enables the safety, health and welfare of coastal communities.

“The STWAVE is the Corps workhorse model for calculating ocean waves near the coast,” said Smith, whose specialty is coastal engineering.  “The latest application is in the North Atlantic Comprehensive Study.  Another USACE product I've work on is the SWIMS (Surge and Wave Island Modeling System) inundation fast forecast tool for Hawaii.  SWIMS was recently applied by the Central Pacific Hurricane Center during Hurricanes Iselle and Julio.”

The Kerrville, Texas native began her career in 1983 at ERDC, then known as the Waterways Expiriment Station (WES). Throughout her career, Smith has contributed to major research advancing the knowledge of coastal waves.  After Hurricane Katrina destroyed portions of the Golf Coast, Smith made monumental contributions in the analysis of wave dynamics and the impact of storm surge on coastal areas.  She was a leading member of the Interagency Performance Evaluation Task Force (IPET), serving as team leader for wave modeling.  Her efforts played a major role in the design and construction of the rebuild project.

In addition to her work on STWAVE and wave dynamics, Smith has also made contributions to better predictive and descriptive capabilities of hurricane inundation for island environments. This research has led to better designs for evacuation and emergency planning, and is used by many government organizations, academics and project engineers.

“I feel very honored to be selected as an ASCE distinguished member,” Smith said.  “My achievements are really the achievements of great teams that I’ve worked with and result from great opportunities that I’ve had working at ERDC.”

As an ERDC researcher, Smith has shaped research in the United States and abroad through journal publications.  She has authored 133 proceedings papers and reports and 36 refereed journal publications. She has also served as editor of the International Coastal Engineering Conference Proceedings from 2003-2012, and currently sits on the editorial panel for the Maritime Engineering Journal.

 Smith holds a bachelor’s degree from South Dakota State University, a master’s degree from Mississippi State University and a doctorate from the University of Delaware.

Smith will receive the award at the ASCE Global Engineering Conference in Panama City, Panama, Oct. 7-11.

CHL