Kate Whitefoot is an associate professor in the Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University. She is an associate editor of the Journal of Mechanical Design, a Fellow of Carnegie Mellon University’s Scott Institute for Energy Innovation, and a member of the NextManufacturing Center for additive manufacturing research. 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.

Professor Whitefoot’s research bridges engineering design theory and analysis with that of economics to inform product development, manufacturing, and policymaking. Her research interests include sustainable transportation and manufacturing systems, the influence of innovation and technology policies on engineering design and production, product lifecycle systems optimization, and automation with human-machine teaming.

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.

322 Scaife Hall
Google Scholar
Kate Whitefoot
Katie Whitefoot’s lab website

Clean Air as a Human Right

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


Whitefoot talks increasing electric vehicle popularity

MechE/EPP’s Kate Whitefoot spoke to Nautilus about what’s behind the latest uptick in consumer interest in electric vehicles, breaking down several factors, including environmental impact and the influence of Tesla.

GO Banking Rates

Whitefoot talks cost of EVs, policy incentives

MechE/EPP’s Kate Whitefoot said there are many policy incentives available to lower the cost of purchasing electric vehicles (EVs).

CMU Engineering

Tech advances will drive the transition to electric vehicles

Researchers found that advances in EV technology will likely bring significant growth to the market, relative to gasoline powered automobiles.


Whitefoot talks future of electric vehicles after California’s ban on gasoline vehicles

EPP/MechE’s Kate Whitefoot discussed future uptake of electric vehicles in Vox after California passed a measure banning the sale of fossil fuel-powered cars by 2035. “It is expected that EVs will dominate the new vehicle market nationwide in the future,” she said. “The uncertainty is exactly when this will occur.”

CMU Engineering

Engineering faculty featured in events at GCEAF

Many faculty from across the College of Engineering will be featured at events during this year’s Global Clean Energy Action Forum.

Whitefoot honored for work in design automation

EPP/MechE’s Kate Whitefoot has been recognized with the Young Investigator Award by the 2022 ASME Design Automation Committee.


Whitefoot quoted on electric vehicles

EPP/MechE’s Katie Whitefoot was quoted in a Vox article for her expertise in electric vehicles in public policy. “Efficiency regulations are still really important even as automakers are making pledges to electrify their fleets,” Whitefoot said.

Detroit Free Press

Whitefoot quoted on electric vehicle industry

EPP/MechE’s Kate Whitefoot was quoted by the Detroit Free Press on competition in the electric vehicle industry.

The Dispatch

Whitefoot quoted on electronic vehicle demand

EPP/MechE’s Kate Whitefoot was quoted in The Dispatch on electronic vehicles (EV).

National Academies

Whitefoot reports on fuel economy

MechE/EPP’s Katie Whitefoot will be speaking about improving the fuel economy of light-duty vehicles for the National Academies committee she serves on.

Mechanical Engineering

Driving ahead

From ensuring the supply quality of powertrain plastics to project managing Ford's new electric pickup truck, master's alumna Stephanie Jennings is applying the analytical and problem-solving skills she learned in MechE to her career.

Carnegie Mellon University

Whitefoot named to World Economic Forum Global Future Councils

MechE/EPP’s Kate Whitefoot has been named to the World Economic Forum’s network of Global Future Councils, where she will serve on the Clean Air council.