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Jane McKee Smith

Jane Smith
Jane McKee Smith

Distinguished Engineer

Hometown: Rapid City

Civil Engineering ,

After graduating from South Dakota State University in 1983 with a degree in Civil Engineering, Jane McKee Smith accepted a job with the Coastal Engineering Research Center of the Waterways Experiment Station in Vicksburg, Mississippi. She spent her career with the Corps of Engineers learning and advancing the field of Coastal Engineering. She earned a master’s degree from Mississippi State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Delaware, both in Civil Engineering, while working for the Corps of Engineers. McKee’s research focus was on coastal hydrodynamics, including near shore waves and currents, wave-current interaction, shallow-water wave processes and storm surge. She was the co-developer of the STWAVE numerical spectral wave model that is used throughout the world for coastal project planning and design. McKee was the wave modeling lead investigator for the Interagency Performance Evaluation Task Force evaluation of Hurricane Katrina. She also led development of a system to quickly forecast hurricane waves, storm surge and inundation for the Hawaiian Islands which have been transitioned to local emergency managers and the Central Pacific Hurricane Center. 

She wrote 180 professional publications. McKee was chair of the prestigious Coastal Engineering Research Council of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and served as President of Governing board of the Coasts, Oceans, Ports and Rivers Institute of ASCE (2013-14). Her honors included ASCE Distinguished Member (2014), SDSU Distinguished Alumni (2013), ASCE Government Civil Engineer of the Year (2010), Coastal Engineering Diplomat, Waterways Experiment Station Woman of the Year (1987), Army Achievement Medal for Civilian Service, ERDC R&D Achievement Award and Army Superior Civilian Service Award. Jane’s husband, Ernest Smith, is a 1983 graduate of the SDSU College of Engineering.