Kat Smith
Ph.D. Student, Mechanical Engineering

Kat Smith


Kat joined TESLa and CU in the fall of 2013 to pursue a PhD in Mechanical Engineering. After graduating from SFSU with a BS in Mechanical Engineering, she worked as an R&D Scientist for the DOE Idaho National Lab. In this position, she discovered an interest in complex environmental fluid flows and after obtaining her PhD, Kat plans to pursue a career in both industry and academia where she hopes to inspire the next generation of engineers and scientists through fluids research and education. In her spare time, Kat likes to trail run, bike, backpack, ski, climb, play soccer, ride motorcycles, spastically dance, or anything else that involves burning off excess amounts of energy, will possibly lead to her getting hurt, and the outdoors.


Research Interests

Kat’s research interests lie in computational modeling of turbulent reactive flows, in particular geophysical flows. Since joining the TESLa group, Kat has worked on both the characterization of unsteady flows of rotational and pulsed detonation engines (RDEs/PDEs) and examining the effects of turbulence on reactive tracers within the upper mixed layer of the ocean through the use of numerical simulations. Currently, her research focuses on large eddy simulations of reactive tracers, such as carbon dioxide, phytoplankton, and nutrients, within the upper ocean in order better understand the effects of submesoscale and small-scale turbulence on tracer distributions. In particular, she is interested in how multi-scale turbulence contributes to the heterogeneous, or “patchy”, distributions seen in both field and numerical observations of these tracers. Results from this research will help enable more accurate predictions of global carbon estimates by improving sub-grid scale parameterizations within large-scale global circulation models. In addition to her research for TESLa, Kat is interested in science outreach through both local and state wide youth science programs.

Teaching Assistant Positions

For a list of publications and presentations, please refer to my CV