Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award 2013

Heidi M. Nepf '87Heidi M. Nepf
Class of 1987
2013 Award Recipient


Dr. Heidi M. Nepf attended Bucknell University as a member of the Class of 1987, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. She continued her studies at Stanford University, and earned Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Civil Engineering in 1988 and 1992.

Since graduation from Bucknell, Nepf has distinguished herself professionally as an educator and researcher in the field of Civil and Environmental Engineering. After graduating from Stanford, she was selected for a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in 1992-1993 where she studied estuarine dynamics. In 1993 she became an Assistant Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2000 and in 2005 she was promoted to Professor. At MIT, Nepf teaches fluid mechanics, surface water transport processes and physical limnology and leads the Nepf Environmental Fluid Mechanics Laboratory.

She is internationally known for her research work on the impact of vegetation on flow and transport in rivers, wetlands, lakes and coastal zones. In recognition of her research in understanding the role of aquatic vegetation in cycling nutrients, creating habitats, controlling erosion, and protecting coasts, Nepf was awarded a U.S. National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 1997. She has published in excess of 65 peer-reviewed papers in top engineering journals and was awarded the Harold Jan Schoemaker Award of IAHR for the best paper in 2011 and 2012.

Nepf has served on the National Research Council panel charged with the review of the Army Corps of Engineers' plans for restoration and protection of the Louisiana coastline. She was a member of the Fluid Mechanics Steering Committee of the International Association of Hydro-Environmental Engineering & Research (IAHR) and has served or is serving on the editorial boards of Limnology and Oceanography, Water Resources Research, Environmental Fluid Mechanics, and the Journal of Hydraulic Engineering.

She is a dedicated teacher and has received eight teaching awards during her career at MIT. In particular, she has been chosen as a Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellow, for exemplary contributions to undergraduate teaching, the highest teaching honor at MIT, as well as the Earl Murmann Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising.

In addition to her outstanding scholarship and teaching, Nepf has co-directed Education Outreach for MIT's Center for Environmental Health Sciences and served as a technical advisor for event and educator guides for the PBS program, "Design Squad: Inspiring a New Generation of Engineers."

Nepf's accomplishments, service and dedication to her profession and to society have earned her the respect and gratitude of Bucknell University's engineering alumni. It is therefore with the highest regard and warmest affection that on October 26, 2013, the Bucknell University College of Engineering and the Bucknell Engineering Alumni Association present to Heidi M. Nepf '87, the Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award.