Logo: University of Southern California

Viterbi Faculty Directory

Kelly Sanders

Profile picture

Dr. Teh Fu Yen Early Career Chair and Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering


  • 2013, Doctoral Degree, Civil, Architectural & Environmental Engineering, University of Texas - Austin
  • 2010, Master's Degree, Mechanical Engineering, University of Texas - Austin


Dr. Kelly Twomey Sanders is an Associate Professor in the University of Southern California’s Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Her research aims to ease tensions between human and natural systems, with particular emphasis on reducing the environmental impacts of providing energy and water services and anticipating the risks that climate extremes impose on energy systems. She has authored more than two dozen publications and has given dozens of invited talks on topics at the intersection of engineering, science, and policy. Sanders has been recognized in Forbes’ 30 under 30: Today’s disruptors and tomorrow’s brightest stars and MIT Technology Review’s 35 Innovators Under 35 for her contributions to the energy field. In 2019, she was granted an NSF Early CAREER award. Her research and commentary have been featured in media outlets such as Forbes, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal and Scientific American. Sanders received her B.S. in Bioengineering from the Pennsylvania State University, as well M.S.E and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Environmental Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, respectively. She teaches classes related to energy and the environment.

Research Summary

Research thrusts consist of system-level analyses that seek to resolve issues with technical, political, and societal significance to inform better decision making in regards to energy and water resource management. Current projects include using computational modeling to quantify the environmental impacts (i.e. water, air, and land) of electricity generation for various climate, policy, and technological scenarios, as well as how climate change impacts electricity usage and electricity generators.


  • 2016 MIT Technology Review 35 Innovators Under 35
  • 2016 Orange County Engineering Council Outstanding Educator Award
  • 2016 Society of Petroleum Engineers Regional Health, Safety, Security, Environment & Social Responsibility Award
  • 2012 Forbes Magazine 30 under 30: Today's disrupters and tomorrow's brightest stars
  • 2010 2010 ASME 4th International Conference on Energy Sustainability Best Paper Award
  • 2009 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship
  • Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

  • KAP 200B
  • Kaprielian Hall
  • 3620 South Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90089
  • USC Mail Code: 2531

Contact Information
  • (213) 821-0095
  • ktsanders@usc.edu


Return to Faculty Directory