Sara Katherine Oliver


Director, Climate and Sustainability Engineering Master's Program

Sara Oliver is the director of Duke's Master of Engineering in Climate & Sustainability Engineering. She is passionate about empowering engineering leaders of the future with the technical knowledge and skills needed to innovate and design solutions to climate challenges within our uncertain and rapidly changing world.  Through her career working on large-scale infrastructure projects and in partnership with communities that are impacted both by those infrastructure projects and climate change – she has a unique perspective on the increasing demand for engineers equipped to synthesize the big picture of the climate landscape with the technical skills expertise required to implement engineering solutions.

Oliver started her career as a civil highway design engineer working on major highways and bridges in the NYC area such as the Staten Island Expressway and the Long Island Expressway.  After receiving her Professional Engineering License, she moved to Texas and was a Project Manager at an environmental engineering firm managing compliance projects for coal power plants.  Oliver returned to NYC to work on the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge (Tappan Zee Bridge Replacement).  The focus of her career pivoted to resilience and sustainable design when she became the Project Manager for the PANYNJ World Trade Center Flood Resiliency Program project, after Hurricane Sandy.  Most recently, she was the Deputy Program Director for the FEMA Community Engagement and Risk Communications (CERC) contract, serving as the Program Manager for Michael Baker Engineering in a joint Venture with Ogilvy.  The CERC contract works in partnership with communities to help them understand their unique risk to natural disasters and equip them to take action to protect themselves through a unique variety of (100s of) projects ranging from mitigation planning to engineered solutions to art installations. 

She received her undergraduate degree with distinction from Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering (BSE in Civil Engineering) and a Master of Urban Planning from NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service.  She is licensed as a Professional Engineer (NY) and a Project Management Professional.

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Executive In Residence in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Contact Information


  • M.U.P. New York University, 2011
  • B.S. Duke University, 2006

Courses Taught

  • CEE 690: Advanced Topics in Civil and Environmental Engineering

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