Erin MacDonald is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University and a leader of the MS Design Impact degree program. She received an M.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan; and a B.S. with Honors in Materials Science and Engineering from Brown University. She was Postdoctoral Associate and Instructor at MIT from 2008 to 2009 and an Assistant Professor at Iowa State University from 2009 to 2014. MacDonald spent several years designing hiking products before returning to graduate school, and holds two patents on consumer product designs. She is the 2012 ASME Design Automation Committee Outstanding Young Investigator and a former NSF Graduate Fellow. MacDonald’s research integrates concepts from psychology, economics, and marketing into engineering design methods to better represent the user; an effort she terms "quantified cognitive empathy in design engineering." A main goal of her research is to increase the success of sustainable products and technologies by improving the representation of the consumer and other stakeholders in the design process.