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CWRS Alum Profile: Dr. Kaycie Lane

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CWRS Alum Profile: Dr. Kaycie Lane

Dr. Kaycie Lane joined the Centre for Water Resources Studies for her graduate program after completing her undergraduate degree in Engineering Physics from Colorado School of Mines. Dr. Lane’s time abroad volunteering in Nicaragua with Engineers without Borders, showed her the importance of the human and social aspects to engineering, particularly when managing water infrastructure in small and rural communities.

“Basic water and sanitation services are critical to preventing disease and providing dignity to people globally and I decided to change my focus towards water and wastewater studies,” Dr. Lane explains. 

This realization led to Dr. Lane’s decision to work in water engineering in the CWRS lab, with a research focus on risk management and water safety planning. Looking back, she says the most rewarding part about being a water researcher was witnessing the progress made in small communities, even though the research was challenging at times, as she had to work to build strong community connections. Dr. Lane says understanding the importance of relationships is something she continues to prioritize at this stage of her career. 

“Since I primarily work with small communities, the amount of time it takes to establish connections with a community and earn trust can be challenging, especially when your coworkers can move forward with experiments at a faster pace,” she says, adding that the connections she establishes with these communities are what allow her to continue to work on small system solutions.  

“The people I have met through these connections are advocates for the work we do together. While it is often difficult to take the necessary time to forge relationships, it is ultimately rewarding because it cements a working relationship predicated on mutual goals.” 

Following her PhD program, Dr. Lane completed a postdoctoral fellowship at University of Massachusetts, Amherst where her research focused on risk management and sustainability of point of use and point of entry water treatment technologies in small communities. She recently accepted a position at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln in the College of Engineering. In her current role she has been able to pursue her passion for community building in a teaching environment and looks forward to shaping the next generation of engineers. 

“I’m very proud of securing this new Professor of Practice position,” she says. “I ultimately came to the realization that my passion is in teaching, in sharing my experiences working in small communities with students so that they are better prepared for the complicated challenges of being an engineer today.” 

Dr. Lane is currently working towards her Professional Engineer status and is excited about the new connections she’s building with engineering firms in Omaha; she hopes to continue to offer meaningful mentorship to her students and to remain engaged in research as she diversifies her interests within the environmental engineering field.

“I’m hoping to apply my knowledge of risk assessment and community engagement not only to water and wastewater projects but to air quality, agriculture, renewable energy and geotechnical projects as well.” 

Learn more about Dr. Lane's research and publications here.



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