• Engineering Futures

What can you do with an ISD degree?

ver the last twenty years, ISD has conferred over 2,500 degrees to engineers and leaders who are testing the boundaries of their fields while maintaining the rigor and work ethic instilled during their time at Michigan.

Today's work is defined by problems that are highly complex and socially relevant. these difficult challenges require exceptional leaders who are skilled in multidisciplinary, integrative design, and systems thinking. ISD graduates are these leaders, testing and breaking boundaries with the rigor and work ethic instilled in them by their time at Michigan.

Watch to experience the career paths of these graduates:

Carrie Morton - Master of Engineering in Automotive Engineering (class of 2004) 

Anna-Maria McGowan - Doctor of Philosophy in Design Science (class of 2014)

Alex Burnap - Doctor of Philosophy in Design Science (class of 2016)

Sean Ryan - Master of Engineering in Manufacturing (class of 2016)

Carrie Morton

Graduate, Master of Engineering in Automotive Engineering

Carrie Morton is the deputy director of Mcity, the University of Michigans public-private partnership devoted to advancing the development of connected and automated vehicles. She is actively involved in supporting strategy development and execution, and fosters collaboration among Mcitys industry, government and academic partners. 

Morton joined the university in 2011 after more than a decade in the automotive industry, primarily with the Robert Bosch Corporation. In her last role at Bosch, she was manager of government projects and responsible for leading all publicly funded research projects, with a focus on engine combustion. 

Morton holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master of Engineering degree in Automotive Engineering, both from the University of Michigan.


Anna McGowan

Graduate, Doctor of Philosophy in Design Science

Dr. Anna-Maria McGowan is NASA's Technical Fellow for Complex Systems Design, leading the Agency's initiatives to develop methodologies for designing and engineering complex systems. As a Senior Technologist (ST), she served as an Agency technical advisor and the principal strategist for collaborating with external leaders to advance interdisciplinary research, design, and development of aerospace and non-aerospace methodologies that address increasing complexities in aerospace systems.

She has led and managed several large multidisciplinary aeronautics research projects that include military and commercial aerospace vehicles with advance technologies such as innovative high-lift; micro flow control; tailored, lightweight wing concepts, biologically-inspired flight, and extreme short take-off and landing.

Recently Dr. McGowan served as the Project Manager of NASA's Convergent Aeronautics Solutions (CAS) Project. CAS is a central part of NASA's strategic vision for transformation in global air mobility, seeking to cultivate multi-disciplinary, revolutionary concepts and harness convergence in aeronautics and non-aeronautics technologies.

Anna has a B.S. in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from Purdue University, an M.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Old Dominion University and a Ph.D. in Design Science from the University of Michigan.


Alex Burnap

Graduate, Doctor of Philosophy in Design Science

Design Science PhD graduate Alex Burnap is taking crowdsourcing to the next level. As part of an interdisciplinary team spanning mechanical engineering, statistics, psychology, and computer science, Alex studied methods of crowdsourced evaluation for design processes – and their limitations – in order to better understand end-user preferences.

Entitled Crowdsourcing for Engineering Design: Subjective Preferences and Objective Evaluations, Alex's dissertation focused on the methods of crowdsourced evaluation for design processes in order to better understand end-user preferences. To learn more about his work, watch Alex discuss the fundamentals of his research with ISD chair Panos Papalambros in this 5-minute video.


Sean Ryan

Graduate, Master of Engineering in Manufacturing

Not only has the recent ISD graduate landed a position at Detroit Diesel Corporation, where he'll start full-time this fall, but Sean has qualified for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, one of two American swimmers set to compete in the open-water 10km. Considering his high level of achievement, it's no surprise that the Manufacturing Engineering alumnus delivered inspiring remarks at ISD's 2016 graduation reception.

"All of the graduates in this room could have sat back content with a bachelor's degree," Sean said. "However, we all wanted to gain more knowledge and further our education, striving to become experts in our area of study. In every way."

After graduating from U-M with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering, Sean—a four-year member of the varsity swim team—pressed on both in the water and in the classroom, a dogged ambition that resulted in profound athletic and professional success.

"Although I have made the Olympic team, I am continually training in an attempt to win an Olympic medal," Sean added. "I'm ready to attack the new challenges of joining industry. I challenge each of the graduates here to join me: never settling for anything that is not your best, and relentlessly striving to be the leader and best in every way."