Kanokwan earned her Ph.D in Rural Sociology from University of Missouri-Columbia, USA. She also gained a Master of Rural Regional Development Planning at the Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand, and a Bachelor of Community Development at Khon Kean University, Thailand.
Since graduation in 1997, she has been working in the Thailand and Mekong region in many fields such as water government, river basin management, and participatory impact assessment, cross border studies, rural development and agrarian change.
Much of her work has involved policy recommendations on dam and irrigation management in Thailand and the Mekong region. She has been working with a recognition research network, M-POWER (Mekong Program on Water, Resilience and Environment Research), for eight years on the Steering Committee, and now she is the Co-Chair of the network.