Dr. Sebastian is an Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she holds appointments in both the Department of Earth, Marine and Environmental Sciences and the Environment, Ecology and Energy Program (E3P). Sebastian’s primary research interests involve the application of interdisciplinary methods in socio-hydrology and engineering, with a particular focus on understanding how flood risks are evolving in response to changing human and environmental conditions. Her recent work investigates the combined impacts of climate and land use change on flood hazards in Eastern North Carolina and Southeast Texas, as well as the financial risks posed by flooding to households and communities located in coastal plain watersheds. Dr. Sebastian is currently engaged in projects funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Texas General Land Office and the North Carolina State Legislature.
Dr. Sebastian serves as a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Scientific Committees on Adaptation to a Changing Climate (CACC) Task Committee on Hydroclimatology and Engineering Adaptation (HYDEA) and Coastal Engineering Sciences. In 2020, she was selected as a Fellow by the National Science Foundation (NSF)’s Enabling Program to support early career scientists researching natural hazards and disasters.
Prior to joining UNC, spent two years as an Associate Research Scientist at Texas A&M University at Galveston where she served on the Governor’s Commission to Rebuild Texas after Hurricane Harvey and helped to establish the Institute for Texas Disaster Resilience. She was also a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Hydraulic Engineering at Delft University of Technology. Dr. Sebastian holds a Ph.D. and B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Rice University and is a former Netherlands-America Foundation (NAF)/Fulbright Fellow in Flood Management.