Jennifer Donahue, Ph.D., P.E.

Jennifer Donahue is a Principal Geotechnical Engineer based in California with more than 20 years of experience focused on managing and supporting a variety of civil and geotechnical projects.

Her geotechnical practice focuses on the planning and implementation of field exploration programs and the evaluation of liquefaction and the settlement potential of sites impacted by seismic activity. Jennifer also conducts thorough analyses of landslides; makes recommendations for the selection of foundation systems; and develops design criteria for various geotechnical solutions. Her seismic and geohazard engineering experience includes participation in two SSHAC Level 3 projects; multiple probabilistic seismic hazard analyses and peer reviews; development of ground motion attenuations parameters; and geotechnical earthquake reconnaissance. Frequently consulting on client issues related to soft-soil, Jennifer focuses on sites where the ground has been permanently displaced as a result of seismic activity. Such sites typically require highly-specialized evaluations and remediation solutions that address challenges presented by soft, sensitive clays or by settlement and lateral displacements due to liquefiable layers.

Currently she is the Project Manager and Hazard Analyst for the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) review of the seismic sources and ground motion characterization for the full inventory of dams. This includes performing Probabilistic and Deterministic Seismic Hazard Analyses for 172 sites throughout northern and central California. The ground motions developed within this program will be used for Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Part 12 evaluations and for State of California, Division of Safety of Dams (DSOD) requirements.

She was named as a member of the Ground Motion Technical Integration (GMTI) team for the Southwest United States (SWUS) Ground Motion Senior Seismic Hazard Analysis Committee (SSHAC), sponsored by Arizona Public Service, PG&E, and Southern California Edison. In this role, she describes the potential for earthquake ground motions at three nuclear power plants in the southwestern United States. As part of the GMTI team, Jennifer collaborated on the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center (PEER)'s NGA-West 2 project, which sought to improve the Next Generation Attenuation models for active tectonic regions, such as those in California. Her model to estimate the important aspect of hanging-wall effects has been widely utilized by NGA-West 2 developers. She is currently working with PEER on a panel to assist engineers and end-users on the use of the recently developed ground motion Directivity models. Jennifer also is an active member of the Geo-Engineering Extreme Events Reconnaissance (GEER) Association for the National Science Foundation.

Contact Jennifer Donahue at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or +1-415-678-1988.

Career Summary: Jennifer Donahue, Ph.D., P.E.

  • Education: Ph.D., Civil Geotechnical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, 2007; M.S., Civil Geotechnical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, 2003; B.S. Ocean Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, 1995
  • Practice Areas: Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering
  • Disciplines: Civil Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Geotechnical Engineering, Engineering Seismology
  • Specialties: Geotechnical and Geostructural Engineering; Earthquake Engineering; Geohazard Evaluation and Mitigation; Seismic Hazard Evaluation/Ground Motion Studies; Levees, Dams, and Subsurface Hydraulic Barriers
  • Registration: California Professional Engineer, C62958; Colorado Professional Engineer, 36880
Geosyntec Consultants
Geosyntec is a specialized consulting and engineering firm that works with private and public sector clients to address new ventures and complex problems involving our environment, natural resources, and civil infrastructure.

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