Kathleen Smits, Ph.D., P.E.

Assistant Professor

Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering

Smits Research Group

Research Interests

The world faces many critical challenges to include population growth, climate change and food shortages. Water security is central to these challenges, affecting both humans and nature alike. Solutions to water security issues require that we overcome critical knowledge gaps on the interaction between water, soil and air, thus addressing current and emerging environmental problems that are of near and long-term interest to our nation and the world.

The motivation of Smits’ research group is to provide answers to questions of importance to many current and emerging problems such as the management of water resources in dry land, the transport of pollutants through unsaturated soils, understanding the environment in which landmines and unexploded ordinances are placed, and increasing the efficiency of soil borehole thermal energy storage systems.

The basic aim of Smits’ research is to combine theoretical, numerical and experimental approaches to address hydrological processes occurring near the earth's surface. Her group’s main focus is performing detailed and highly controlled experiments at various scales that they then use to develop and test theories and numerical multiphase models of flow and transport alike.

Please visit our research interests and about the team pages to learn more about our current projects. Our publications page highlights our growing contribution to our field. Visit our facilities pages to get an idea of our capabilities. Please contact Dr. Smits directly if you are interested in discussing potential opportunities.

Group News

Student Opportunities

If you're interested in becoming a member of our team as an undergraduate, graduate student, postdoctoral scholar, or even as a high school intern please feel free to inquire with me directly. Information about admission to the MS or PhD in either Civil and Environmental Engineering or the Hydrology Program.


The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

The Hydrologic Science and Engineering Program

The Center for Experimental Study of Subsurface Environmental Processes