Dr. Kelly Twomey Sanders

  • Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Southern California

Kelly Sanders joined the University of Southern California’s Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in January 2014 as an assistant professor following the completion of her PhD from the University of Texas at Austin. Her research seeks to increase the sustainable development of urban and agricultural systems through three major focus areas: the energy-water nexus, sustainable waste management, and low-impact food production. In addition to a doctorate in Civil Engineering, Sanders earned her bachelor's degree in Bioengineering from the Pennsylvania State University and her Master's degree from the University of Texas’ Department of Mechanical Engineering. She teaches classes related to energy and the environment.

Research Topics

The Energy Water Nexus


Energy and water are both vital to the US economy and quality of life. Together they enable such things as an ample food supply, electricity production, and safe drinking water. Insufficient access to energy and water has already placed strain on many societies abroad as well as within the US. My research investigates various aspects of the energy-water nexus to inform better decision making using tools such as synthesis, lifecycle assessment, geographic information systems, and power market modeling.

to come
  • Ph.D., Civil, Architectural, & Environmental Engineering, expected December 2013
The University of Texas at Austin (Advisor: Professor Michael E. Webber)
Topic: Strategies on using the energy-water nexus to achieve cross-cutting efficiency gains
  • M.S., Mechanical Engineering, 2010, The University of Texas at Austin (Advisor: Professor Michael E. Webber)

Thesis: The Energy Water Nexus: An Examination of the Water Quality Impacts of Biofuels

B.S., Bioengineering Engineering (B.S. Minors: Engineering Mechanics and Kinesiology), 2007, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA

  • Nationally recognized in Forbes’ Magazine’s “30 under 30: Today’s disrupters and tomorrow’s brightest stars” feature (Published December 2012)
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (2009-2012)
  • Article selected to appear in Environmental Research Letters’ monthly highlights collection; (Sanders & Webber, “Evaluating the energy consumed for water use in the United States.”)
  • Best Student Paper Award at the 2010 ASME 4th International Conference on Energy Sustainability  (Twomey & Webber, “The Cost of Food in a Carbon Constrained Economy”)
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram