Dr. Smith is an Emeritus Senior Research Scientist at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and a Research Professor at the University of Florida. Her research focus is on coastal hydrodynamics, including nearshore waves and currents, wave-current interaction, shallow-water wave processes, and storm surge. Her projects include theoretical and numerical studies as well laboratory and field experimentation. She is a Board-Certified Diplomate in coastal engineering through the Academy of Coastal, Ocean, Port and Navigation Engineers (ACOPNE).
One of her most significant contributions to the profession has been her work with predicting storm waves and ocean surges. This is a complicated physical problem incorporating physics, mathematics, and engineering to provide adequate predictive and analytical analyses. Her early research in this arena was with coastal hydrodynamics, including nearshore waves and currents, three-dimensional structure of nearshore currents, wave-current interaction, wave generation, and shallow-water wave transformation. Much of this involved large multi-institutional laboratory and well-known national, field campaigns. Her work in this area has been critical to a much better understanding of these physics.