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Pittsburgh District’s Nakita Smith selected for ERDC University

Nakita Smith, lead realty specialist with the Pittsburgh District, was selected as a participant for the ERDC University Class of 2023. Her six-month project with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Reachback Operations Center at ERDC will focus on developing technical skills in GIS mapping and compliance inspections.

Posted on September 11, 2023

Researchers from 10 U.S. Army Corps of Engineer (USACE) Districts have been selected for the 2023 session of the Engineer Research and Development Center University (ERDC-U).

Nakita Smith, lead realty specialist with the Pittsburgh District, was chosen to participate in the detail program, now in its eighth year.

The 12 selectees were announced by ERDC-U Program Manager Antisa Webb, who serves as Chief of the Office of Research and Technology Transfer (ORTT), Technology, Knowledge and Outreach (TKO) Division. The Class of 2023 orientation session was held February 27 through March 2 at ERDC headquarters.

“ERDC-U offers partnerships between USACE Division and District participants and relevant laboratory mentors for six-month research projects, resulting in technical solutions benefitting their workplace, the Corps and the Nation,” Webb said. “Working with these subject-matter experts from ERDC’s seven state-of-the art laboratories, participants will focus on real-world solutions, as they also develop leadership skills for their home organization.”

A Pittsburgh District team member since 2016, Smith serves as the lead for the Realty Services Branch. She is responsible for several real estate civil works projects, including the City of Johnstown Navigation Channel Improvement project, and the Mahoning Ecosystem Restoration Project. Her duties included GIS mapping support, land acquisition, project development support, compliance inspections, and file and record management.

She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Maryland University College and obtained a Masters of Geospatial Information Science and Technology from North Carolina State University.

Her areas of expertise and interest focus on Real Estate Land Acquisition, CADD and Geospatial practices. Working with mentors Jerry Rushing and Jeff Powell from the USACE Reachback Operations Center (UROC), based in Vicksburg, Smith will further develop technical skills in GIS mapping and compliance inspections.

The program is co-sponsored by ERDC’s Directorate of Human Capital (DHC) through an application and selection process. Program funding is split between the selectee’s Division or District for choice of labor costs or travel with the other funded by ERDC.

In his letter of endorsement for the 2023 USACE Engineer Research and Development Center University Program, Col. Adam Czekanski said, “I hereby endorse Nakita Smith for the 2023 Developmental Assignments at the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC). Nakita’s commitment to excellence reflects great credit upon the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of the Army, and the Department of Defense.”

“ERDC-U experiences build a collaborative and continuing partnership with ERDC team members as an investment in the future of the Corps, along with career-long problem-solving contacts,” Webb said.

The ERDC University Program specifically seeks individuals with interest and experience in general scientific and engineering fields encompassing one of the following areas:

  • Civil Works and Water Resources
  • Environmental Quality and Installations
  • Geospatial Research and Engineering
  • Information Technology
  • Military Engineering

Participants serve as a member of the interdisciplinary Research and Development team reporting to Lead Project Managers and/or R&D Direct Program Managers. The incumbent supports and possibly leads any number of activities to develop R&D.

In his welcome to the new class, ERDC Director Dr. David Pittman said selectees will “have the opportunity to make great relationships that can help you the rest of your career, and we can learn about District needs from you.”

For program questions, contact  Applications for the 2024 program will open October 1 for GS-7-13 team members through the “Opportunities” icon at:


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