Dr. Jessica Kaminsky

   Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

   University of Washington

   “…the stability and form of artifacts should be seen as a function of the interaction of heterogeneous elements as these are shaped and assimilated into a network….
   I call such activity heterogeneous engineering…” (Law 1987, p.113).

About me

Dr. Kaminsky

I am an Assistant Professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Washington. A scholar of engineering projects and organizations, I conduct research on infrastructure for developing communities with a particular interest in topics of social sustainability. While I am particularly interested in the global south, I am also interested in any context that is experiencing significant change in basic civil infrastructure (or, is developing). The practical goal of my research is to make basic civil infrastructure better serve all the world’s people by enabling increased human capabilities.

Prior to entering academia, I spent 6 years working internationally for one of the world’s largest engineering firms. Other than my work, I enjoy spending time with my family, playing the banjo, and bad science fiction.

Meet the team

Leigh Allison

Leigh Allison, PhD Student

From Charleston, South Carolina, Leigh Allison is a graduate in Biosystems and Civil Engineering from Clemson University. Leigh’s research interests are in social sustainability and sustainable construction. Leigh loves being outdoors, whether that means hiking, swimming, running, or rowing. She was very excited to start her PhD at UW in 2014 and explore the surrounding areas.

Miriam Hacker

Miriam Hacker, PhD Student

A native to the Pacific Northwest, Miriam completed both her undergraduate and graduate studies in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Washington. Her current research interests focus on the relationships between cultural understanding and access to sanitation technology as well as social sustainability in international development. Prior to her doctoral studies, Miriam worked in stormwater regulation for a local municipality. Outside of research, Miriam enjoys volunteering with a local non-profit organization, exploring local coffee shops and watching professional basketball.

Selected Ongoing Research

Visual Methods

Visual Methods are well established in many disciplines; however, they are rarely used in construction research. This research stream includes a study of infrastructure change in Mayan Guatemalan communities and another treating uncertainty avoidance through water supply technology choice in Meru County, Kenya (ongoing).

Disaster Migration and Civil Infrastructure

This research stream explores how normative and cultural-cognitive perturbations, caused by sudden and large population influxes, impact established water and sanitation utilities. The first phase of this NSF-funded research collaboration is exploring changes in the organizational structure and process of utilities in the German cities of Munich, Berlin, and Leipzig in response to the current European refugee crisis. In collaboration with Dr. Kasey Faust at UT Austin.


Engineering With Developing Communities

This design course introduces key technologies, theories, and challenges of infrastructure design for development. We will cover technologies for energy, water, sanitation, and disaster response in low-income contexts. We also explore development theory and cross-cultural communication as they pertain to global infrastructure design.

Construction Engineering

Introduces construction engineering including construction methods, engineering economics, contracts, project delivery methods, plan and specifications, scheduling, estimating, productivity, environmental regulations, safety and green construction. Uses scheduling and estimating software tools and emphasizes the communication of engineering information.

Transportation and Construction Capstone Design Project

Comprehensive design project focusing on planning, design, and construction of a transportation project such as highways, transit, and airports.

Recent Publications

Please contact me for a copy of any article you cannot access.

Kaminsky, J., Faust, K. (2017). "Transitioning from a Human Right to an Infrastructure Service: Water, Wastewater, and Displaced Persons in Germany." Environmental Science & Technology. DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.7b03594 OPEN ACCESS

Kaminsky, J. (in press). "National Culture Shapes Private Investment in Transportation Infrastructure Projects Around the Globe." Journal of Construction Engineering and Management.

Hacker, M., Kaminsky, J. (2017). "Cultural Preferences for the Methods and Motivation of Sanitation Infrastructure Development." Journal of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene for Development. 7(3) pp 407-415, DOI: 10.2166/washdev.2017.188. OPEN ACCESS

Faust, K., Kaminsky, J. (2017). "Building Water & Wastewater System Resilience To Disaster Migration: Utility Perspectives." Journal of Construction Engineering and Management. 143(8), DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)CO.1943-7862.0001352.

Kaminsky, J., Jordan, E. (2017). "Qualitative Comparative Analysis for WASH Research and Practice." Journal of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene for Development. 7(2) pp 196-208, DOI: 10.2166/washdev.2017.240 OPEN ACCESS

Allison, L., Kaminsky, J. (2017). "Safety Communication Networks: Females in Small Work Crews." Journal of Construction Engineering and Management. 143(8), DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)CO.1943-7862.0001344.

Kaminsky, J., Zerjav, V. (2017). Special Issue Editorial. Engineering Project Organization Journal. 6(2), pp 62-63.
OPEN ACCESS for the first 50 clicks via this link

Kaminsky, J. (2016). "Cultured Construction: Global Evidence of the Impact of National Values on Piped-to-Premises Water Infrastructure Development." Environmental Science and Technology. 50(14) pp 7723–7731. DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.6b01107 OPEN ACCESS

Kaminsky, J. (2016). "Cultured Construction: Global Evidence of the Impact of National Values on Renewable Electricity Infrastructure Choice." Environmental Science and Technology. 50(4), pp 2108–2116. DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.5b05756 OPEN ACCESS

Marshall, L., Kaminsky, J. (2016). "When Behavior Change Fails: Evidence for Building WASH Strategies on Existing Motivations." Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Development. 6(2) pp 269-275. DOI: 10.2166/washdev.2016.148 OPEN ACCESS

Kaminsky, J. (2016). "Institutionalising Infrastructure: Photo Elicitation of Cultural Cognitive Knowledge of Development." Construction Management and Economics. 33 (11-12) pp 942-956.
OPEN ACCESS for the first 50 clicks via this link

Lucko, G., and Kaminsky, J. (2015). "Construction Engineering Conference and Workshop 2014: Setting an Industry-Academic Collaborative Research Agenda." Journal of Construction Engineering and Management. 10.1061/(ASCE)CO.1943-7862.0001088 , 04015096

Kaminsky, J. (2015). “Cultured Construction: Global Evidence of the Impact of National Values on Sanitation Infrastructure Choice.” Environmental Science & Technology. 49(12), pp 7134–7141. DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.5b01039 OPEN ACCESS

Kaminsky, J. (2015). “The Fourth Pillar of Infrastructure Sustainability: Tailoring Civil Infrastructure to Social Context.” Construction Management and Economics. 33(4) pp 299-309. DOI: 10.1080/01446193.2015.1050425
Thanks to Editors' Choice for OPEN ACCESS through June 30th 2017

Kaminsky, J. and Javernick-Will, A. (2015). "Theorizing the Internal Social Sustainability of Sanitation Organizations." Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 10.1061/(ASCE)CO.1943-7862.0000933 , 04014071
Green Open Access copy here

Kaminsky, J., and Javernick-Will, A. (2014). “The Internal Social Sustainability of Sanitation Infrastructure: A Set Theoretic Approach.” Environmental Science and Technology, 48(17), pp 10028-10035. DOI: 10.1021/es501608p
OPEN ACCESS for the fist fifty clicks via this link or, Green Open Access copy here

Kaminsky, J., and Javernick-Will, A. (2013). “Contested Factors for Sustainability: Construction and Management of Household On-Site Wastewater Treatment Systems.” Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 139(12), 10.1061/(ASCE)CO.1943-7862.0000757, A4013004
Green Open Access copy here

Get in touch

University of Washington
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
121H More Hall
Box 352700
Seattle, WA, 98195-2700
Telephone: +1 206 221 3058
Fax: +1 206 543 1543
E-mail: jkaminsk at uw.edu
Skype: jeccak
Hablo español
Je parle le français