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Photo of Spearing, Lauryn

Lauryn Spearing, PhD

Assistant Professor

Civil Engineering, Environmental Engineering


Building & Room:

ERF 3069


842 West Taylor Street

Office Phone:


Related Sites:


Research Interests: My research is focused on improving people’s quality of life by increasing the level of service received from infrastructure and ensuring access to critical infrastructure systems. My research interests include infrastructure system management during uncertain contexts and understanding sociotechnical infrastructure challenges. I take a systems thinking approach, involving both qualitative and quantitative methods, to understand complex problems at the intersection of technical, social, and natural systems.
Example research projects include:

  • The impact of COVID-19 on water infrastructure systems
  • Identifying challenges to replace lead water infrastructure, considering the social system in addition to technical systems
  • Water access in rural Alaska
  • Aligning Indigenous and technical knowledge in water and housing decision making
  • Understanding sustainable water technology adoption in the chemical industry by exploring the interface between organizational and technical systems
  • The cascading impacts of disasters on infrastructure systems management

Selected Publications

  1. Spearing, L., Bakchan, A., Hamlet, L., Stephens, K., Kaminsky, J., and Faust, K. (2022). “Comparing Qualitative Analysis Techniques for Construction Engineering and Management Research: The Case of Arctic Water Infrastructure.” Journal of Construction Engineering and Management Special Collection on Research Methodologies. 148 (7).
  2. Stephens, K., Powers, C., Robertson, B., Spearing, L., Collier, J., Tich, K., and Smith, W.R. (2022). “Building More Resilient Communities: Communication and Organizing Practices in a Community-Wide Wildfire Evacuation Drill in the U.S.” Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management.
  3. Tiedmann, H., Spearing, L., Sela, L., Kaminsky, J., Katz, L., Kinney, K., Kirisits, M., and Faust, K. (2022). “Modeling in the COVID-19 Pandemic: Overcoming the Water Sector’s Data Struggles to Realize the Potential of Hydraulic Models.” Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, 148 (6).
  4. Berglund, E. Z., Buchberger, S… Spearing, L…Yang, E. (2022). “Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Water Utility Operations and Vulnerability.” Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management. 148 (6).
  5. Spearing, L., Tiedmann, H., Sela, L., Nagy, Z., Kaminsky, J., Katz, L., Kinney, K., Kirisits, M., and Faust, K. (2021). “Human-Infrastructure Interactions during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Understanding Water and Electricity Demand Profiles at the Building-Level.” Environmental Science and Technology Water. 1 (11).
  6. Berglund, E. Z., Thelemaque, N., Spearing, L., Faust, K. M.,… Kadinski, L. (2021). “Water and Wastewater Systems and Utilities: Challenges and Opportunities during the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, 147 (5). *Editor’s Choice, Issue 147(5)
  7. Spearing, L., Stephens, K., and Faust, K. (2021). “Shelter Shopping: Where the Built Environment and Social Systems Meet.” International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 58.
  8. Spearing, L., Thelemaque, N., Kaminsky, J., Katz, L., Kinney, K., Sela, L. and Faust, K. (2020). “Implications of Social Distancing Policies on Drinking Water Infrastructure: An Overview of the Challenges to and Responses of US Utilities during the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Environmental Science and Technology Water, 1.
  9. Spearing, L., Dias, F., Faust, K., and Bhat, C. (2020). “Determining Multi-level Drivers of Perceiving Undesirable Taste and Odor in Tap Water: A Joint Modeling Approach.” Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, 147 (3).
  10. Spearing, L., and Faust, K. (2020). “Cascading System Impacts of the 2018 Camp Fire in California: The Interdependent Provision of Infrastructure Services to Displaced Populations.” International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 50.

Notable Honors

2018, Graduate Research Fellowship, National Science Foundation

2021, Civil and Environmental Engineering Rising Stars Program, MIT

2021, Editor’s Choice Paper, Issue 147, Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management

2020, Best Poster Competition, Engineering Project Organization

2019, Bill Archer Graduate Policy Fellowship, University of Texas

2019, Texas National Security Network Fellowship, Archer Center

2018-2021, Cockrell School Multi-Year Fellowship, University of Texas at Austin


Ph.D., Civil Engineering
University of Texas at Austin, 2021

M.Sc., Civil Engineering
University of Texas at Austin, 2019

B.Sc., Civil Engineering
The University of Texas at Austin, 2017