Faculty Directory

Knight, Sandra

Knight, Sandra

Senior Research Engineer
Civil and Environmental Engineering

Sandra Knight is a senior research engineer in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and an affiliate of the Center for Disaster Resilience and Project Management Center for Excellence. Her work focuses on the development of disaster and water policy, building disaster resilient communities, and promoting flood risk management initiatives. She is also the founder and president of WaterWonks LLC in Washington, D.C.

Knight completed her federal career in October 2012 as the deputy associate administrator for mitigation for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In that role, she was responsible for the nation’s floodplain mapping, management and mitigation grants supporting the National Flood Insurance Program, environmental compliance for the agency, and oversight of the National Dam Safety Program. Before joining FEMA, she was responsible for the development of policies and strategies to ensure scientific excellence at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and she spent most of her federal career as a research hydraulic engineer working on navigation, environmental, and flood risk management projects around the country with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.


  • Ph.D., University of Memphis, 1996
  • M.S., Mississippi State University, 1988
  • B.S., Memphis State University, 1980



  • Disaster resilience
  • Water and disaster policy
  • Research to operations
  • Coastal and hydraulic engineering

How COVID Complicates a Historic Hurricane Season

As Sally Aims for Gulf Coast, Expert Urges Broader Thinking About Disaster Resilience, and Believing the Science

UMD Resilience Experts Host Project Management Training for Disaster Responders

The training was a collaboration with FEMA's Insurance and Mitigation Readiness Division

CEE Experts Active at TRB 97th Annual Meeting

Faculty, staff, and students gave more than 50 presentations during the four-day event.

UMD Resilience Experts Offer Insights Throughout Active Atlantic Hurricane Season

The season was among the most active in records dating back to 1851.

UMD Engineers Answer Questions about Record-Breaking Harvey, Flooding

National and local news outlets turned to University of Maryland engineers for their disaster expertise.

Rethinking Coastal Retreat

Senior Research Engineer Sandra Knight says community relocation doesn't have to mean loss.

UMD Center for Disaster Resilience Leads Hill Discussion on D.C. Flood Risk

CEE faculty partner with Congresswoman Holmes Norton to emphasize importance of resilience in the nation's capital.

Center for Disaster Resilience Issues "Building Blocks for National Resilience Assessment"

Study outlines best practices for the development of a national resilience scorecard.

National Media Highlights UMD Hurricane Research, Wind Tunnel

Clark School, AOSC Experts Caution, "It Only Takes One Storm"

“It Only Takes One Storm,” Caution UMD Disaster Resilience Experts

Despite below-average hurricane forecast, questions of community resilience remain.

UMD Center for Disaster Resilience Leads Efforts to Create a National Resilience Scorecard

CEE researchers host "Building Blocks for a National Resilience Scorecard" workshop.

Knight, Link Share Insights on White House Flood Zone Standards

Center for Disaster Resilience researchers quoted in Engineering News-Record article

UMD Clark School Highlights Disaster Resilience at Mpact Week

Five-day event focused on role of engineers in disaster prevention, mitigation, and response.