Kate S. Whitefoot is an assistant professor in the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University. She is a member of the NextManufacturing Center for additive manufacturing research and a faculty affiliate at the Carnegie Mellon Scott Institute for Energy Innovation. Prior to her current position, she served as a senior program officer and the Robert A. Pritzker fellow at the National Academy of Engineering, where she directed the Academy’s Manufacturing, Design, and Innovation program.

Whitefoot’s research advances the theoretical foundations and computational modeling of engineering design and technology change in the context of market and regulatory systems to inform product development, manufacturing, and policymaking. Her research bridges methods in engineering design and economics to examine a variety of topics, including product variety and product-line design, transportation energy, environmental policies, consumer choice, and automation and parts consolidation in manufacturing.

Whitefoot has gained recognition nationally and internationally for her research and teaching. Her work is featured in the Washington Post, Popular Mechanics, Bloomberg Business, and Business Insider, and referenced in the 2017-2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy rulemaking. She has worked with several companies, including Boeing, Cummins, Ford, and IBM, and has been invited to present briefings at the White House, Capitol Hill, the Department of Commerce, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

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Katie Whitefoot
Katie Whitefoot’s lab website

Improving the Adoption of New Products in the Marketplace


2011 Ph.D., Design Science (mechanical engineering & economics), University of Michigan

2008 MS, Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan

2006 BS, Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan

Media mentions

Mechanical Engineering

There's no stopping MechE

When life throws lemons to mechanical engineers, they make lemonade... and dynamic systems, geometric models, and thermal fluids experiments. There's no stopping mechanical engineers. See what we're planning for the fall semester.

Scott Institute

CMU Engineering faculty awarded Scott Institute seed grants

Eight research projects lead by CMU Engineering faculty have been awarded 2020 Seed Grants for Energy Research by the Scott Institue for Energy Innovation.

CMU Engineering

Pick your own project

Whether CMU engineering teams are given a week or a whole semester, their projects are always innovative and exciting.

The Atlantic

Whitefoot’s paper cited on Trump policy

MechE/EPP’s Kate Whitefoot’s paper was cited in The Atlantic on the Trump administration’s Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient Vehicles Rule policy.

CMU Engineering

Engineering faculty receive CAREER awards

Four College of Engineering faculty members have been awarded CAREER awards by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Frontiers of Engineering

Whitefoot selected to participate in NAE’s U.S. Frontiers of Engineering Symposium

MechE/EPP’s Katie Whitefoot has been selected to participate in the National Academy of Engineering’s (NAE) 25th annual U.S. Frontiers of Engineering (USFOE) symposium.

Scott Institute

Eight faculty receive Scott Institute seed grants for energy research

The Scott Institute recently selected awardees from the College of Engineering for its seventh round of seed grants for energy research.

Mechanical Engineering

Seeding energy research

Three faculty members in the Department of Mechanical Engineering received Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation’s Seed Grants for Energy Research.

CMU Engineering

Entrepreneurship by the numbers

Quantitative Entrepreneurship course offers students a glimpse into how product design and production affect prospects for success in business.

CMU Engineering

Energy Week 2019: What’s next in energy innovation

From March 25 – 28, 2019, the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation at Carnegie Mellon University will hold CMU Energy Week 2019.

CMU Engineering

How long until efficient fuel cells? Ask the experts.

In the quest for alternatives to gas-powered vehicles, experts believe one new method shows great promise: Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells.

Science Magazine

Whitefoot joins group of experts in refuting EPA proposal

MechE/EPP’s Katie Whitefoot recently joined experts from 10 other leading universities and institutions in co-authoring a study challenging the EPA’s 2018 proposal to freeze fuel economy and emissions standards between 2020 and 2025.