Arianne X. Collopy, Ph.D.

I am currently a postdoctoral fellow in Design Science at the University of Colorado Denver. I am also a systems innovation lead at the Comcast Media and Technology Center, the home of a design innovation team that brings together students from the colleges of Art and Media (CAM) and Engineering, Design, and Computing (CEDC).

Contact me:

ORCID profile


arianne dot collopy at ucdenver dot edu

I am passionate about understanding and influencing how our society designs the world around us. My focus is large engineered systems and the people that design and operate them. I seek perspective through people, art, and nature.

PhD, Design Science

University of Michigan

Ann Arbor, MI


Design Science is an interdisciplinary degree program that blends social science and engineering methods to study how people design. My dissertation is about coordination activity that occurs during the design of large-scale and complex engineered systems. I worked with researchers in the department of Mechanical Engineering, the School of Information, and the division of Integrative Systems and Design at Michigan on several projects and have been part of the teaching staff for two Design Science courses.

Summer Associate

RAND Corporation

Santa Monica, CA


I was thrilled to have the opportunity to spend 12 weeks at the RAND Corporation as part of the Graduate Student Summer Associate Program, working within RAND's Project Air Force in a multidisciplinary research team to visualize the planning processes behind technical training execution in the Air Force.

MSOR, Operations Research

University of Alabama in Huntsville

Huntsville, AL


My program of study in operations research focused on systems modeling and analysis tools, as well as minor subject areas of systems engineering and statistics.

MS, Aerospace Engineering

University of Maryland

College Park, MD

At Maryland, my research focus was on dynamic force measurement techniques applicable in a hypersonic wind tunnel. I worked jointly with faculty at Maryland and personnel at the Air Force's Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC) as part of the Air Force - UMD Hypersonic Center of Testing Excellence. I was also a teaching assistant for two core undergraduate aerospace engineering courses.


At Caltech I studied physical chemistry, applied physics, and materials science. My undergraduate research was under the applied physics department, focusing on the design and development of novel solid-state and polymeric solar cells. 


Coordination in the Design of Large-Scale and Complex Engineered Systems

My dissertation research focused on coordination activity that occurs during the design of LSCES, particularly in the aerospace sector. The goal of this project was to characterize the impact of systems engineers and coordinators on design performance through a combination of qualitative research and quantitative agent-based simulation modeling.

My advisors were Prof. Panos Papalambros and Prof. Eytan Adar.

Current and Past Research Projects

Socio-technical and Socio-cognitive Aspects of Systems Engineering

I was part of a project focused on the social and cognitive aspects of systems engineering, with goals to develop models of 1) communication and coordination strategies as they relate to technical systems engineering work and 2) cognition behind systems thinking. This work has contributed to the NASA Systems Engineering Consortium, based at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center and the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Game-based study of coordination in design teams

I am part of an ongoing project to study how teams coordinate their design decisions through an online collaborative game to design and fly a quadcopter drone. Using a game to study design work as it happens is fun for the designers and provides a flexible platform for researchers, allowing us to test different conditions of information availability during design and their impacts on design performance. 

Vehicle Agnostic Modular Design

I contributed to a project supported by the Automotive Research Center at the University of Michigan that studies the operational impacts of modularization for fleets of vehicles. The focus of this work is on the functional design of modules (which can be assembled into vehicles) based on fleet-level, not vehicle-level, performance objectives.

Dynamic force measurement for hypersonic wind tunnel testing

I developed structural models to characterize a hybrid force balance measurement technique using piezoelectric sensors. This work contributed to my master's thesis at the University of Maryland, and was completed with support from the Air Force Arnold Engineering Development Center's Hypervelocity Tunnel 9 facility in White Oak, Maryland. 

Solid-state and polymeric solar cell design

My undergraduate research at Caltech focused on the design of solar cells with novel features. We designed inverted polymeric solar cells with nanostructured electrodes to capture more light within the cell, and tested a method for low-temperature growth of silicon solar cells to enable the use of low-cost substrates.

Analytical Product Design (DESCI 501/ME 455) and

Design Process Models (DESCI 502)

I was a Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) for the first and second semester graduate core courses in Design Science at Michigan, taken by first-year graduate students and undergraduates with backgrounds in engineering and non-engineering disciplines. These classes cover methods for making design decisions drawn from many disciplines and an introduction to design science research. My role involved course organization, lecturing, grading, project advising, and weekly office hours.

Teaching Experience

Aerospace Structures (ENAE 324) and Aerospace Systems (ENAE 283, 283H)

I was a teaching assistant for introductory core aerospace courses, taken by 100+ sophomores and juniors at the University of Maryland. My primary responsibility was weekly grading, but I also assisted in developing quizzes, preparing recitation content, and administering quizzes and exams.

Publications & Presentations

Collopy, A. X., Li, C., Liu, T., Adar, E., and Papalambros, P. Y., "Coordination in Design Teams as a Lens to Identifying Team Roles", Proceedings of the 22nd International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED19), Delft, The Netherlands, 05-08 August, 2019.

Collopy, A.X., Greene, M.T., and Papalambros, P.Y., "Individual Attitudes and Interpersonal Communication Preferences in Engineering Design", Poster presented at the 22nd International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED19), Delft, The Netherlands, 05-08 August, 2019.

Bayrak, A. E., Collopy, A. X., Papalambros, P. Y., and Epureanu, B. I., "Multiobjective Optimization of Modular Design Concepts for a Collection of Interacting Systems", Structural and Multidisciplinary Optimization, Vol. 57, No. 1, 2018, 83-94.
(also see conference versions below)

Collopy, A. X., Greene, M. T., Adar, E., and Papalambros, P. Y., "Estimating the Impact of Systems Engineers on Systems Design Processes", Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED17), Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 21-25 August, 2017.

Bayrak, A. E., Collopy, A. X., Epureanu, B. I., and Papalambros, P. Y., "Modular design concept generation for a collection of interacting systems with application to modular vehicle fleet design", Presented at the World Congress on Structural and Multidisciplinary Optimization (WCSMO12), Braunschweig, Germany, 5-9 June, 2017. (also see journal version above)

Collopy, A. X., Adar, E., Papalambros, P. Y., "Multilevel Network Modeling for an Integrative Analysis of Coordination in Systems Design", Poster presented at the 15th Annual Conference on Systems Engineering Research (CSER'17), Los Angeles, CA, 23-25 March, 2017.

Bayrak, A. E., Collopy A. X., Epureanu B. I., and Papalambros P. Y., "A Computational Concept Generation Method for a Modular Vehicle Fleet Design", Proceedings of the 2016 IEEE International Systems Conference (SysCon), Orlando, FL, 18-21 April, 2016. (also see journal version above)


© 2020 Arianne Collopy

Last updated: 2020