Jacqueline Gibson


Dr. Jacqueline MacDonald Gibson is head of the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering.

She conducts interdisciplinary research on the quantification of risks due to environmental contamination and on the quantitative comparison policy options for controlling environmental risks. As an example, she served as the principal investigator for a study to assess public health risks due to environmental contamination in the United Arab Emirates and to develop a national strategy to reduce those risks.

Dr. MacDonald Gibson earned a dual Ph.D. degree from the Department of Engineering and Public Policy and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University in 2007. Prior to returning to school in 2003 to study for her Ph.D., she was a senior engineer at The RAND Corp., a nonprofit public policy research organization. While at RAND, she served as liaison to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. She also previously was associate director of the Water Science and Technology Board, a unit of the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, a nonprofit organization that advises Congress and the federal government on science policy matters.

In these previous positions, she led a range of studies of issues at the interface between environmental science and public policy. Examples of studies she has led included assessment of options for improving potable water service to small U.S. communities, evaluation of regulatory requirements for the remediation of contaminated groundwater, assessment of research priorities for new environmental remediation technologies, evaluation of research on alternative methods for detecting and cleaning up landmines, and evaluation of risk assessment methods for sites contaminated with unexploded military ordnance. She has given briefings on these and other topics to a variety of federal officials, members of Congress and their staffs, and institutional advisory boards. Dr. MacDonald Gibson earned an M.S. degree from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and a B.A. in mathematics from Bryn Mawr College.


Ph.D. 2007

Engineering and Public Policy, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Carnegie Mellon University

M.S. 1990

Environmental Science in Civil Engineering

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

B.A. 1986


Bryn Mawr

Research Description

Research Interests: Interdisciplinary research on the quantification of risks due to environmental contamination and on the quantitative comparison policy options for controlling environmental risks

Honors and Awards

  • RTI University Scholar, 2017
  • IBM Junior Faculty Development Award, University of North Carolina, 2014
  • Newton Underwood Award for Excellence in Teaching, Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2013
  • Mentored Research Scientist Development Award, Public Health Systems and Services Research, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2012
  • Graduate Research Fellowship, National Science Foundation, 2003
  • Merit Bonus Award, RAND Corporation, 2003
  • National Research Council Individual Staff Award for Distinguished Service, 1996
  • National Research Council Group Recognition Award, 1995
  • National Research Council Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources Certificate of Appreciation for Outstanding Service, 1993
  • University Fellowship, University of Illinois, 1988
  • Brundage Scholarship, University of Illinois, 1989
  • Scott Math Prize, Bryn Mawr College, 1986
  • Alumnae Regional Scholarship, Bryn Mawr College, 1982


Center for Leadership in Environmental Awareness (CLEAR)
National Institutes of Health (NIH)(9/08/22 - 6/30/23)
CRISP 2.0 Type 2: Collaborative Research: Water and Health Infrastructure Resilience and Learning (WHIRL)
National Science Foundation (NSF)(10/01/22 - 10/31/23)