A woman with long wavy brown hair wearing a blue-green sweater
Mortenson Faculty Fellow

Grace Burleson is an Assistant Professor in the Mechanical Engineering department, where she leads the Burleson Global Design Group. Through experimental and ethnographic human subjects research, her work seeks to advance engineering design theory and methods so that solutions lead to improved social and environmental outcomes. Specifically, her research goals focus on developing new engineering design methods across all design stages, including problem framing, decision making, requirements engineering, detailed design, and validation.

Dr. Burleson is a multi-disciplinary researcher with a variety of experiences in engineering in social impact and global development applications, including five years as an ASME Engineering for Change Fellow. She has worked for NASA’s Convergent Aeronautics Solutions Project, which aims to investigate problems related to the social and environmental impact of aviation solutions. In 2019, she co-founded the Mbale Center for Innovation and Design (led by MAPLE Microdevelopment) in eastern Uganda, which empowers and equips communities to design and test solutions to challenges related to clean water, energy, reforestation, and livelihood development. She earned a dual-M.S. in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Anthropology and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Oregon State University.



  • PhD in Design Science, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
  • Dual-MS in Mechanical Engineering & Applied Anthropology, Oregon State University
  • BS in Mechanical Engineering, Oregon State University

Recent Publications

  • Burleson, G., Lajoie, J., Mabey, C., Sours, P., Ventrella, J., Peiffer, E., Stine, E., et al. (2023). Advancing Sustainable Development: Emerging Factors and Futures for the Engineering Field. Sustainability, 15(10), 7869. https://doi.org/10.3390/su1510786

  • Sánchez-Parkinson, L., Moses, N., Burleson, G., Daly, S., Holloway, J., Conger, A., Sienko., K., Meadows, L. (2023). Intercultural experiences of engineering students during immersive design projects. International Journal of Service Learning in Engineering, Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship. Vol. 18:1, pp. 35-51. https://ojs.library.queensu.ca/index.php/ijsle/article/view/16083

  • Burleson, G., Herrera, S. V. S., Toyama, K., and Sienko, K. H. (2023). Incorporating Contextual Factors Into Engineering Design Processes: An Analysis of Novice Practice. Journal of Mechanical Design. 145(2): 021401. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4055780

  • Burleson, G., Toyama, K., Sienko, K. (2023). Supporting Engineering Students’ Incorporation of “Context” into Global Health Design Processes. American Society of Engineering Education Conference Proceedings. https://peer.asee.org/44362

  • Rieken, E., Bond, K., Best, R.M., Burleson, G., Brubaker, E.R. (2023). A Spectrum of Stakeholder Perspective-Taking in Early-Stage Design. Proceedings of the Design Society, Volume 3: ICED23, pp. 395 – 404. https://doi.org/10.1017/pds.2023.40

  • Rodriguez, N.M., Burleson, G., Linnes, J.C., & Sienko, K.H. (2023). Thinking Beyond the Device: An Overview of Human-and Equity-Centered Approaches for Health Technology Design. Annual Review of Biomedical Engineering, 25, 257-280. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-bioeng-081922-024834

  • Rodríguez-Calero, I., Daly, S.R., Burleson, G., and Sienko, K.H. (2023). Prototyping Strategies to Engage Stakeholders During Early Stages of Design: A Study Across Three Design Domains. Journal of Mechanical Design. 145(4): 041413. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4056815