Pugel headshot
PhD Graduate
Civil Systems • Science and Technology Policy

Program analyst in practice and civil engineer by training, Kimberly (she/her) centered her PhD research on international development programs that bring stakeholders and government together to collaboratively provide reliable, sustainable water and sanitation services in Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, and Cambodia as a part of the 5-year, $15.3 M USAID Sustainable WASH Systems learning partnership. Her research increased the representation of low-income country contexts in the established theories of interorganizational collaboration and collaborative governance, calling attention to the understudied topics of government buy-in, startup funding, stability, and convening power. Research updates are also detailed here.

Kimberly received her PhD and Masters in Civil Systems Engineering at CU Boulder in 2021 with a certificate in Science and Technology Policy. She received her B.S. from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in Environmental Engineering in 2017 with a minor in Gender, Race, Culture, Science, and Technology. She also supported and coordinated science-policy related workstreams within UN intergovernmental frameworks and allied processes, such as for the High Level Political Forum, for the United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth (MGCY) for four years (2015 - 2019). Previously, she worked in groundwater remediation and innovative solutions for water reclamation and energy reuse using algae biomass as the primary research assistant on projects for the National Science Foundation Global Waste Research Institute and the U.S. Department of Energy.


  • PhD in Civil Systems Engineering, University of Colorado Boulder, 2021

  • MS in Civil Systems Engineering, University of Colorado Boulder, 2021

       - Certificate: Science and Technology Policy (2019)

  • BS in Environmental Engineering, California Polytechnic University San Luis Obispo, 2017 

       - Minor: Gender, Race, Culture, Science and Technology


  • ASCE New Face in Civil Engineering - Professional 2021 (read interview here)

  • Best Presentation Award, Engineering Projects and Organizations Conference 2018

  • University of Colorado Boulder College of Engineering and Applied Science Doctoral Assistantship for Excellence Award, 2017

  • College of Engineering Top Graduating Senior for Academic Excellence, Cal Poly, 2017 (read press release here)

  • Outstanding Woman in Engineering – Nominee, Cal Poly, 2017