SMU Lyle environmental engineering alumna makes it her mission to ensure access to clean water

SMU Lyle alumna Lizzie Wilson (’18) recently lead a project to study Tanzania’s water distribution plan and share critical engineering knowledge as part of her role with Engineers without Borders.

Lizzie is now president of Engineers Without Borders’ Austin chapter and a project engineer in the Central Texas Public Works department at a national civil engineering consulting firm. She brings expertise in storm water and wastewater management to her role, helping the city to continue operating no matter what Texas weather throws at them.

Lizzie double majored in French Language & Literature at SMU Dedman and Environmental Engineering at SMU Lyle. Her experience at Lyle steered her toward focusing on engineering as a profession, so she stayed and earned a master’s degree that would prepare her for one of society’s most important roles – engineering and regulating public water works to ensure access to clean water for all.

Access to water for all is Lizzie’s personal and professional passion.

“Every human being has the right to clean water and access to clean water,” she says. “That is the mission of Engineers without Borders, and it’s my personal mission every day.”

Learn more about SMU Lyle's graduate programs.

During her time at SMU Lyle, Lizzie held an internship at LCA Environmental in Farmers Branch, where she participated in the firm’s expert management of waste residuals, environmental impacts, and remediation. She also interned at CP&Y, a Dallas-based civil engineering firm with a nationwide footprint. Amid the academic rigor of environmental engineering at SMU, she continued to find time for cooking, playing sports, and even participating in quidditch competitions.

As a graduate student, she served as a research assistant with Dr. Andrew Quicksall in the Soil and Water Research Lab, and in 2018 she completed her master’s thesis by researching trace metals in the soil and water of the Bolivian Altiplano.

About the Bobby B. Lyle School of Engineering 
SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering, founded in 1925, is one of the oldest engineering schools in the Southwest. The school offers twelve undergraduate and 29 graduate programs, including master’s and doctoral degrees, in the departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Computer Science; Electrical and Computer Engineering; Engineering Management, Mechanical Engineering and Operations Research and Engineering Management. As a Lyle student, you have 24/7 access to the unique Deason Innovation Gym, which provides the tools and space to work on immersion design projects and competitions to accelerate learning, innovation and leadership. In addition, we have multiple student-led clubs, including Mustang Rocketry, Hilltop Motorsports, Society for Women Engineers, National Society of Black Engineers, Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers, and more. What sets Lyle apart is our intention to build engineers who are not only technical experts, but excellent communicators and leaders. Part of the way we do that is to offer participation in centers and institutes to help students pursue personal passions. Lyle’s centers and institutes include the Hart Center for Engineering Leadership, which helps cultivate engineering leaders by providing leadership training, mentorship, community outreach opportunities, networking, professional development, and career services; Hunt Institute for Engineering & Humanity, which is dedicated to developing and scaling sustainable and affordable technologies and solutions to address challenges facing under-resourced communities; Darwin Deason Institute for Cyber Security, which conducts real-world research to achieve fundamental breakthroughs in cybersecurity; and Caruth Institute for Engineering Education, which strives to increase the number and diversity of students interested in pursuing engineering to meet the ever-increasing demand for a well-educated high-tech workforce.

About SMU 
SMU is the nationally ranked global research university in the dynamic city of Dallas. SMU’s alumni, faculty and nearly 12,000 students in eight degree-granting schools demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit as they lead change in their professions, community and the world.