I am a civil engineer and environmental sociologist working on ways to make decision making more just, effective, and informed. Specifically, I study how community and societal priorities can be better incorporated into multicriteria policy and project decisions, mainly related to energy, water, and infrastructure systems. I am particularly interested in changing the decision making-paradigm from relying on a decision maker’s value judgments to routinely assessing and incorporating diverse worldviews from affected communities and society at large. If you are here to check in on my study of socioenvironmental priorities in energy-producing communities: welcome, and thank you! You can find more information on that project here.
My community research suggests that water and energy are major priorities, which motivates my other major research focus: I have been studying the water-energy nexus for about 10 years, in part because of energy and water’s crucial roles in societal functioning. My recent effort with Kelly Sanders of USC to characterize the water needs of the US energy system is now published, supporting the finding that 10% of US water is consumed for energy systems with a full Excel workbook including data for 126 unit processes across 17 fuel cycles, in addition to the paper and full documentation. We’re now looking into spatial and temporal aspects of US water for energy.
Methodologically, I use both quantitative and qualitative methods, including life cycle assessment, surveys, interviews, and text mining tools. As a computational social scientist brought up by Stanford’s Literary Laboratory, I’m particularly interested in investigating ways to use computational social science and digital humanities techniques to measure socioenvironmental attitudes expressed in fiction, nonfiction, and both present-day and historical ephemeral texts like community meeting minutes, court cases, newspapers, and social media.
You can find links to and pdfs of my papers here. I’m also on Google Scholar, ResearchGate, and LinkedIn, and enthusiastic about potential collaborations–some of my datasets include survey and interview data from coal-, oil-, natural gas-, and solar-producing communities in the US and Australia, detail on water use for the US energy system, and flow data for US hydropower.
I am currently an Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering (in the Construction and Infrastructure Systems Engineering Group), with a courtesy appointment in Public Policy, at the Georgia Institute of Technology. I did postdoctoral work at Berkeley, working on a triple bottom line decision support tool for stormwater management in the United States and investigating carbon intensity of electricity systems. I completed my PhD in Environment and Resources at Stanford in 2017, where I was an NSF Graduate Research Fellow. Before my PhD, I was at McKinsey & Company, where I mostly worked on strategy and operations for large natural resource companies. And before that, I worked on integrated water and energy management issues in Texas and Hawaii with Michael Webber at The University of Texas at Austin while completing an MA in Energy and Earth Resources (as one of two of UT’s Masters-level Harrington Fellows) and an MS in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering. As an undergrad, I double majored in Math and Atmosphere/Energy Engineering, with a minor in Biological Sciences, at Stanford. I’m an Environmental Engineer-in-Training and a LEED AP (BD&C). Reach me at email@example.com or on Twitter @emilygrubert. if you can’t find me, I’m probably in the field talking to people about their hopes and needs while looking at power plants and water infrastructure, hopefully with students in tow.