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Dr. Daniel Smith

IGC FELLOW ALUMNI   |   Global Change Center

VT Alumni 2022  •  Biological Systems Engineering

Advisor: Dr. Tess Thompson


Dr. Daniel Smith graduated from the Biological Systems Engineering Department at Virginia Tech in 2022 and was a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences with Dr. Brian Badgley’s research group from 2022-2024. As of Jan. 2024 Dr. Smith started a position with Davids Engineering out in Northern California as a Water Resources Engineer.

Daniel’s research interest sits at the intersection of fluid mechanics, geomorphology, and soil microbiology. Specifically, he wants to understand how “tiny soil bugs” (soil microorganisms) can influence large-scale processes like soil erosion and sediment transport. Daniel’s career goal is to become an experienced research scientist and mentor, who studies and trains up-and-coming scientists to pursue “nature-based solutions” or “bio-inspired engineering” research. This is the area of research that seeks to weave natural processes into the built environment to promote adaptation and resilience.

Daniel joined the Biological Systems Engineering Department as a PhD student with Dr. Tess Thompson in August 2017 and his research project focused on how plant roots and soil microorganisms impact streambank soil resistance to fluvial erosion. Prior to his time at Virginia Tech, Daniel received a B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering and Minor in Soil Science at UMD (’17).

Last updated January 2024.