Kelly Smith

Kelly Smith

  • Contact Information
  • My Story
  • Publications & Presentations
  • Background
  • Interests
  • Grants
  • Courses Taught
  • Outreach

Title Communications and Drought Resources Specialist
Address 820 Hardin Hall
3310 Holdrege Street
Lincoln NE
68583-0988
Phone 402-472-3373
FAX 402-472-2946
E-mail ksmith2@unl.edu
Office Hours

M - F 8 am to 5 pm

Hi, I'm Kelly Smith, communications and drought resources specialist at the National Drought Mitigation Center, which is based at UNL's School of Natural Resources.

I grew up in Springfield, Missouri, where I started my working life in high school at Baskin Robbins, and enjoyed the miraculous stay-thin powers of youth as I vigorously sampled my way through all 31-plus flavors, with special attention to Jamoca Almond Fudge. The summer after high school I had the good fortune to get a job with the Youth Conservation Corps at Wilson's Creek National Battlefield, where I built split rail fencing and cleared poison ivy in the height of the hot, humid Ozarks summer. I loved it. Later I worked at a newsstand, which I felt kept me grounded in the basics of life, at a women's clothing store in a mall, which was not me, to put it mildly, and as a waitress at a German restaurant, where I felt I acquired a basic life skill that made me employable anywhere.

I graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 1984 with a B.A. in history and a minor in French, and then went on to the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, where I received a master's degree in 1985 with a concentration in print - the ancient art of arranging ink on paper in ways that are informative, timely, not likely to get anyone sued, serving the idea that a well-informed electorate is crucial to proper functioning of democracy, all that sort of thing. My first couple of "real" jobs were at daily newspapers, the Belleville (Illinois) News-Democrat, and the Waukesha (Wisconsin) County Freeman. I then made the jump to corporate public relations, working for a big printing company in Wisconsin for several years. Among other things, I ghost-wrote for Gruff, the company's real live goat and environmental mascot.

When we moved to Nebraska in 1994 I went to work for Don Wilhite. I became the first official employee of the National Drought Mitigation Center in 1995, and I brag that I helped invent the U.S. Drought Monitor. After several years I could no longer resist the siren song of further graduate studies, so I took what turned out to be a six-year leave of absence in the early 2000s, and got a master's in Community and Regional Planning with a focus on social planning. I ended up working with Lincoln's African refugee populations on behalf of various faith-based and non-profit organizations. I found this work extremely absorbing but after several years of increasingly altruistic effort, my husband suggested, rather reasonably, that perhaps I could seek work that paid a little more consistently, so I found myself with the incredible good fortune to be back at the Drought Center in 2006. Part of my appointment followed Don Wilhite to the School of Natural Resources in 2007, where I wrote news releases, edited the Director's Report and Inside SNR, helped with web content, and took on other projects as they came up. In 2012, all of me returned to the Drought Center.

Selected Publications

Bachmair, S., Stahl, K., Collins, K., Hannaford, J., Acreman, M., Svoboda, M., Knutson, C., Helm-Smith, K., Wall, N., Fuchs, B., Crossman, N. D., Overton, I. C. 2016. Drought Indicators revisited: practice in monitoring and early warning and the link to drought impacts. 3(4):516-536. Online

Educational Background

  • MS - Northwestern University (1986)
  • BA - Bryn Mawr College (1984)
  • MS - UNL- Lincoln, Community & Regional Planning (2005)

SNR Mission Area(s)

  • Applied Climate and Spatial Science

Affiliations (index)

Notable Websites

Areas of Interest

  • Science communication
  • Stakeholder involvement
  • Science-policy connection
  • Drought impacts, planning

Currently this page only displays grants that were awarded on 1/1/2009 to the present. If a grant was awarded prior to 1/1/2009 and is still active, it will not be displayed on this page.

Grant Title Development of the Middle East and North Africa Network of Water Centers
Starting Date 2/1/2015
Principal Investigators
Mike Hayes
Co-PIs
Brian Fuchs
Mark Svoboda
Tsegaye Tadesse
Kelly Smith
Ending Date 12/31/2015
Funding Level $40,052.00
Funding Source Develoment Alternatives, Inc.

 
Grant Title Tech Assist on Drought Preparedness
Starting Date 7/1/2014
Principal Investigators
Mike Hayes
Co-PIs
Brian Fuchs
Cody Knutson
Kelly Smith
Mark Svoboda
Ending Date 6/30/2015
Funding Level $25,000.00
Funding Source World Bank Group

 
Grant Title Tech Assist on Drought Preparedness
Starting Date 10/3/2013
Principal Investigators
Mike Hayes
Co-PIs
Brian Fuchs
Cody Knutson
Kelly Smith
Mark Svoboda
Ending Date 6/30/2014
Funding Level $40,000.00
Funding Source World Bank Group - IBRD