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About Sandra


Dr. Sandra K. Knight is a Senior Research Engineer in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at University of Maryland where she works with her other colleagues in the development of water policy and flood risk management initiatives.  She is also the founder and President of WaterWonks LLC in Washington, DC. Her company was formed to capitalize on her extensive experience in federal disaster reduction, flood risk management and marine transportation policies and programs, having spent more than 30 years administering these and other policies at three federal agencies.  Besides teaching courses through the Project Management Center for Excellence, Dr. Knight also serves as a researcher and disaster management expert for UMD’s Center for Disaster Resilience.

Dr. Knight finished her federal career as the Deputy Associate Administrator for Mitigation, Federal Emergency Management Agency, responsible for the nation’s floodplain mapping, floodplain management and mitigation grants supporting the National Flood Insurance Program. She was also responsible for environmental and historic preservation compliance for the agency, oversight of the National Dam Safety Program and emergency management for mitigation. At NOAA, she was the Director of the Office of Policy, Planning and Evaluation where she was responsible for the development of corporate policies and planning strategies, to ensure scientific excellence and improved performance of NOAA’s research portfolio. She spent most of her federal career as a research hydraulic engineer for the USACE Engineer Research and Development Center in Vicksburg, MS. Her last position with USACE was as Technical Director for navigation research where she supported the sustainable development and management of the nation’s waterways infrastructure through innovative research and technology. As a special assignment, she led the development of an asset management strategy for the USACE, establishing accountability and life-cycle guidance for over $200 billion of the

She earned her PhD from the University of Memphis, her MS from Mississippi State University and a BS from Memphis State University, all in Civil Engineering. She is a registered professional engineer in the state of Tennessee and has been certified as a Diplomate, Water Resource Engineer (D.WRE) and as a Diplomate, Navigation Engineering (D.NE). She is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Meteorological Society, the Society of Women Engineers, Sigma Xi and a Fellow for PIANC.


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