"Innovation in Coastal Engineering"

Jane McKee Smith, P.E., D.CE

Senior Research Scientist
U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center
Member, National Academy of Engineers


In keeping with Oregon State University’s commitment to help reduce the risk and spread of COVID-19, we have canceled the Edwards Distinguished Lecture Series presentation with Jane Smith on March 31. The event will be rescheduled for a later date.
OSU continues to collaborate with local and state public health experts to provide response, prevention, services and information to the OSU community. You can stay up-to-date with OSU’s status and planning on the university’s COVID-19 website.   
Please be mindful of your wellness and attend to your health and your family.


Innovation is the introduction of new advancements into practice and can result from incremental advancements or leap ahead ideas. It has been a hallmark of coastal engineering. Advancements are driven by the “pull” of catastrophic events or new policies or the “push” of new technology opportunities, including new measurement and data analysis methods, powerful numerical simulation and computing capabilities, or risk-based techniques. In the past, coastal engineering focused on engineering the coast to maximize economic value, but in the future the focus will shift to managing the coast for quality of life. Future opportunities for innovation include improving coastal system resilience, implementing natural and nature-based features, and adapting the coastal in response to changing climate. Meeting these challenges requires an educated and passionate community of coastal engineers and scientists collaborating with stakeholders and environmental and social scientists.


Jane McKee Smith is the Army Senior Research Scientist for Hydrodynamic Phenomenon, stationed at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory in Vicksburg. Smith’s research focus is on coastal hydrodynamics, including nearshore waves and currents, wave-current interaction, shallow-water wave processes, and storm surge. Her projects include theoretical and numerical studies as well laboratory and field experimentation.

Smith’s honors include National Academy of Engineering (2019), South Dakota State University Distinguished Engineer (2015), ASCE Distinguished Member (2014), SDSU Distinguished Alumni (2013), ASCE Government Civil Engineer of the Year (2010), and Waterways Experiment Station Woman of the Year (1987). 

Smith earned a Ph.D. from the University of Delaware in Civil Engineering with a focus on Coastal Engineering, and a M.S. from Mississippi State University and a B.S. from South Dakota State University, both in Civil Engineering. She is a Professional Engineer, a Coastal Engineering Diplomate (Academy of Coastal, Ocean, Port and Navigation Engineers), and a member of ASCE and the American Geophysical Union.

About the series

The Edwards Lecture Series, initiated by Professor Harry Yeh in 2005, is named in honor of Miles Lowell Edwards, an engineering genius, known for his unique and successful inventions. His remarkable achievements included developing prosthetic heart valves, creating timber industry materials to debark trees, and enabling Boeing B-17 aircraft pumps to operate at high altitudes.  

Past lectures