2022 ISD IDEAS Summit – Shaping the Future: Infusing DEI in Our Research

Thank you to ISD students, faculty, staff, and others who joined together on January 10 during the ISD DEI Action Summit: Shaping the Future: Infusing DEI in Our Research

The Summit began with an introduction from Alec D. Gallimore, former Dean of the College of Engineering, where he spoke about the role of equity-centered engineering in research. Alec’s talk was followed by a wide variety of speakers exploring topics of DEI in Integrative systems and design research. 

Participants were given the opportunity to ask questions to a panel and explore ideas for improved DEI in their own research and areas of focus. They were then asked to break up into groups to discuss and brainstorm the top DEI best practices to strengthen research through infusing DEI.

ISD IDEAS Summit Details

Opening Speakers

Alec D. Gallimore, PhD

Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering

Richard F. and Eleanor A. Towner Professor of Engineering

Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, Aerospace Engineering

Dr. Alec D. Gallimore is a rocket scientist. In 2019, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering – among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. He is a leader in the field of advanced electric propulsion and has excelled in research, teaching, and service. His experience and creativity have led to program innovations to assist the growth of faculty and students. He is passionate about creating an inclusive environment and ensuring all individuals are treated with equity.


Diann Brei, PhD

Chair and Professor of Integrative Systems + Design

Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Dr. Diann Brei has led synergistic teams of faculty, students, GM engineers, and researchers to mature smart materials, and, through design science, bridge the gap to successfully incorporate revolutionary smart devices into automotive platforms. Dr. Brei has long served as a national leader, earning the ASME dedicated service award, being named fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME and an Associate Fellow by the American Institute of Aeronautics). Most notably, in recognition of her lifetime contributions, Dr. Brei is the recipient of the most prestigious ASME award for lifetime of achievement and sustained impact in adaptive structures and/or materials systems, the 2018 ASME Adaptive Structures and Material Systems Award

ISD Summit Speakers


Grace Burleson

Doctoral Candidate, Design Science

Grace Burleson is passionate about improving the way we design technologies intended for social and economic impact. Her research interests include cross-cultural user and design research and methods of incorporating social impact parameters and contextual factors into the engineering design process. Soap-Making Process Improvement: Including Social, Cultural and Resource Constraints in the Engineering Design Process, Rapid ethnographic and engineering evaluation of a high-efficiency thermal water treatment technology in Uganda are just a few examples of projects accomplished. She co-authored book chapters: Engineering for Change Fellowship Program and  Engineering and Other Engaged Technical Practices – Volume 2: Initiatives of Professional Training.


Panos Papalambros, PhD

James B Angell Distinguished University Professor of Engineering

Professor of Integrative Systems + Design

Donald C Graham Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Professor of Architecture, A Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning

Professor of Art, Penny W Stamps School of Art and Design

Dr. Panos Papalambros is the parent of the design optimization of products and systems and  founder and former chair of U-M’s Integrative Systems + Design. Through his research and teaching, Dr. Papalambros established the scholarship and use of mathematical design optimization as a standard tool in modern design practice. His research reflects the evolution in design optimization that integrates engineering, business, computer, behavioral, social, and public policy sciences, primarily through mathematical modeling while explicitly recognizing the limitations of this design paradigm. Dr. Papalambros is the recipient of the highest academic and research distinctions internationally. He is the co-author of the book, Principles of Optimal Design: Modeling and Computation, Editor-in-Chief of the Design Science Journal


Sita Syal, PhD

ISD Alumni, Energy Systems and Engineering

Incoming Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering

Dr. Sita Syal is a Stanford and University of Michigan twice alumni. Dr. Syal’s research focuses on quantitatively modeling the uncertainty of humans in renewable energy systems. She is interested in how human uncertainty can be mathematically modeled and how that uncertainty influences engineering design outcomes of large solar and wind projects. Additionally, Dr. Syal has worked with communities to redesign how solar energy is implemented through co-design processes and co-founded a community solar developer startup, Shake Energy Collaborative. She was awarded a Morris K. Udall scholarship in 2012 for her work in sustainability and clean energy. Additionally, she completed a semester abroad at Delhi University and studied rural and urban solar implementation throughout India. Her experience spans energy, from biofuels development to topsides process engineering. 

Miki Banu

Miki Banu, PhD

ISD Associate Chair of Doctoral Education & Research

Research Professor Integrative Systems + Design

Research Professor, Mechanical Engineering

Dr. Miki Banu is a core contributor of the American Lightweight Material Manufacturing Innovation Institute – LIFT, the flagship manufacturing institute headquartered in Detroit, UM being a co-founder. Dr. Banu’s research interests are in advanced manufacturing processes of lightweight and sustainable materials. She pioneered the concept of bamboo fibers as reinforcement for composites, 40% lighter than glass fiber composites yet have the same properties, with potential to save 3 Mil ton CO2 emissions per year, i.e. 4.3% of current CO2 industrial emissions in the USA. Through her research in manufacturing, she demonstrates how human-centric design of the technologies can establish equity among communities. She is the recipient of the 2017 Kenneth M. Reese Outstanding Research Scientist Award, the 2019 OVPR Research Faculty Achievement Award, and the 2021 Willie Hobbs Moore Achievement Award. She is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Manufacturing Processes and an Editorial Board member of Scientific Reports.

ISD Summit Panelists

Alison Bailey, PhD

Intercultural Corporate Project Manager, Bronson Healthcare and Lecturer, Center of Entrepreneurship, University of Michigan

Dr. Alison Bailey is an organizational psychologist who specializes in executive coaching, organizational development, and improving internal culture by incorporating sustainable diversity and inclusion practices into the workplace. With 20 years of senior-level human resources experience in the nonprofit field, Dr. Bailey has developed, led, and managed policies, and practices centered on career counseling, strategic planning, hiring, diversity, and inclusion. Currently, she works at a south-central Michigan hospital offering consultation, employee assistance services, and organizational development.
Bailey earned her Bachelor’s degree with honors in psychology from the University of Windsor, Master’s degree in Communication Studies from Wayne State University, and achieved her PhD from Capella University in Industrial/Organizational Psychology.

Elishae Johnson, PhD

System Director, Business Health Services, Bronson Hospital HelpNet

Dr. Elishae Johnson has provided training and educational workshops on trauma, substance abuse, interpersonal violence, equity and inclusion, and mental health in marginalized communities for community organizations and school districts, including Western Michigan University, the Michigan Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, the Prosecuting Attorney’s Association of Michigan, and the African American Mental Health Symposium. Dr. Johnson is an expert in engaging various communities and working within an intercultural frame of mind when supporting and collaborating with various diverse communities.

Matthew Nelson

Matthew Nelson

Doctoral Candidate, Design Science, University of Michigan

Matthew Nelson is a U-M alumnus twice over and a candidate to the ISD Design Science PhD program. In April 2017, he completed his MS in Design Science and will begin doctoral work this fall. He has a long list of accomplishments, including becoming the first African-American to participate in the U-M Multidisciplinary Design Project program and earning the Region IV Academic Improvement Scholarship. 


Alexander Salazar

Master Student, Energy Systems Engineering, University of Michigan

Alexander Salazar is a Systems Engineering and Design Graduate Student in ISD. Alexander has four years of industry experience working as a design engineer for the automotive industry.

ISD Summit Panel Moderator

Diana Wong, PhD

Associate Professor, Strategy, Entrepreneurship, & Organization Development, Eastern Michigan University

Futrell Faculty Fellow, Center for Professional Development

CEO & President, Sensei Change Associates, LLC

Partner, Firerooks LLC

Dr. Diana Wong’s expertise is in strategy and developing learning programs for improving organizational performance. She earned a PhD in organizational strategy from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and an MBA in Finance and International Business from Dalhouse University, Halifax. With an extensive international background, Dr. Wong focuses on supporting leaders and management teams with strategic planning and meeting facilitation, organization development, leadership development, executive coaching, training and development, cross-cultural competency development, and organizational learning systems. Her 25 plus years of consulting encompass industries related to health care, automotive, management consulting, manufacturing, nonprofit organizations, and faith-based organizations.

ISD DEI Committee

  • Abheek Abhijit Maiti, Master’s Student in Global Automotive and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Dr. Miki Banu, ISD Associate Chair of Doctoral Education and Research
  • Dr. Bob Bordley, Systems Engineering + Design Program Director
  • Michelle Hornbacker, Human Resources Generalist
  • Amy Hortop, ISD Associate Chair of Masters Education and Student Experience 
  • Dr. Nigel Mellville, Design Science Program Director
  • Lisa Rendall, Executive Assistant