Skip to content



Prof. Zoe Szajnfarber

Professor of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering

Office: 800 22nd St NW, rm 2670, Washington D.C. 20052
Phone: (202) 994-7153

I am a professor of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering (EMSE) and of International Affairs, affiliated with the Space Policy Institute (SPI) at the George Washington University. I currently serve as the inaugural Director of Strategic Initiatives for GW Engineering, after my term as Chair of the EMSE Department. I also maintain research affiliations with the MIT Institute for Data Systems and Society (IDSS) and the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard (LISH), where I spent my sabbatical.

I have an interdisciplinary academic and professional background. I joined GW in 2011 after earning a PhD at MIT in Engineering Systems, dual MS degrees in Aeronautics & Astronautics and Technology & Policy, also from MIT, and an BASc in Engineering Science (specializing in aerospace) from the University of Toronto. Outside of Academia, I have worked as a system engineer in large (MDA Space Missions) and small (Dynacon Inc) space contractors and as an innovation advisor to NASA and ESA.

My research focuses on the design and development of complex systems in their socio-technical context. My group publishes across aerospace, systems, design, and management journals. Our work has been recognized by several best paper awards and competitive interdisciplinary grants from the NSF, including a $3M NRT and a $1M INSPIRE award. I currently serve as the Chair of the Council of Engineering Systems UNiversities (CESUN), have held associate/guest editor roles at several major journals and have served on the program committees of CESUN, TMP, IISE and ISA conferences, including serving as general chair for CESUN 2016 and TMP 2019.

I have developed and taught core courses at every level, and have also led several curriculum development efforts. I regularly teach (or taught) undergraduate foundations of system engineering courses (EMSE 1001/2801) masters level management of technical organizations (EMSE 6001) and doctoral lever research methods (EMSE 8000).

Research Team

Richard Oladele Adeyeye Jr.,

PhD Student

Research Interests: decision-making, AI for complex systems design


Richard Adeyeye Jr. received his BS and MS in Systems Engineering from the University of Lagos, where he also serves as a Research Assistant and Teaching Assistant. He also served as a Research Assistant at King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals in Saudi Arabia. His research is focused on how system decision problems can be segmented to allow different types of experts and solvers usefully apply their knowledge. He is also interested in how AI/ML techniques can be used to aid decision makers.

Jason Crusan, DEng Student

Research Interests: crowd sourcing, concept evaluation



Jason Crusan received Bachelor's Degrees in Electrical Engineering and Physics, and a Master's in Computer Information Systems from Cleveland State University. His research focus is understanding how open innovation can be utilized to support the design of complex systems. Outside of academia, he holds the current position of Vice President Technology at Woodside Energy in Perth Australia. Previously he spent over 20 years at NASA with his last position being the Director, Advanced Exploration Systems Division for NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters. Crusan was previously the Director for the Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation, a virtual center of excellence that enables the acceleration of U.S. Government implementation of new models of problem solving using collaborative innovation methodologies such as crowd sourcing and open innovation to meet agency requirements.

Chris Kreuger, PhD Student

Research Interests: decision-making, AI explainability & interpretability


Chris Kreuger holds a BS in Engineering Management from the United States Military Academy, an MS in Project Management from Drexel University, and an MS in Operations Research from Northeastern University. She was commissioned into the United States Army in 2008 as an aviation officer. One of her first assignments was a Blackhawk pilot for the 82nd Airborne Division which included a deployment to Afghanistan. In 2015, she changed roles in the Army from a pilot to an Operations Researcher and Systems Analyst (ORSA). Chris' ORSA positions have included Assistant Professor at the United States Military Academy and Force Structure Analyst at the Center for Army Analysis.

Suparna Mukherjee, PhD


Research Interests: engineering knowledge, system decomposition


Suparna Mukherjee received her Masters from Columbia University in Applied Physics, studying magnetic confinement fusion devices. She holds dual undergraduate degrees in Mathematics, from NYU; and in Mechanical Engineering, from the Steven's Institute of Technology. Outside of academia, Suparna has significant experience developing planetary spacecraft as a mechanical systems engineer and a technology manager. Working within the private aerospace community as well as NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, her work has included contributions to the last three landed missions to Mars. Her experiences in commercial and civilian space industries motivate and inform her current research interests in technology innovation and infusion processes.

Shweta Mulcare, DEng


Research Interests: system safety, AI/ML integration


Shweta Mulcare received her BS in Physics and MS in Systems Engineering from The George Washington University. She currently serves as the Director for Data Science Futures at SAIC. Prior to joining SAIC, Shweta worked at MITRE for over a decade, holding numerous positions, most recently serving as Outcome Lead of the Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing (ASIAS) and Advanced Analytics Evolution team. Her research is focused on how complex engineered systems are certified for safety.

Aditya Singh, PhD Student

Research Interests: changeability, autnomous system control


Aditya Singh received his B.S. in Systems Engineering and Economics with a minor in History from The George Washington University. Currently, he is a Fellow on the university's National Science Foundation Research Traineeship "Co-Design of Trustworthy AI Systems". Prior to becoming a Fellow, Aditya worked in the aerospace industry, with positions at Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems. Additionally, he worked at CNA, a federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) affiliated with the United States Navy.

Doctoral Alumni

Ademir Vrolijk, PhD 2022

Postdoctoral Fellow - University of Toronto

Dissertation title: Towards a Better Understanding of Solving Complex Problems through Innovation Contests.

Lt. Col. Dr Stephen Sapol, PhD 2021

US Army, Analysis Branch Chief, CENTCOM.

Dissertation title: Change is Hard: Flexibility "of" as a strategy to mitigate implementation uncertainty in design for flexibility.

Dr. Zachary Pirtle, PhD 2019

NASA Program Executive to the NASA Deputy Administrator for Exploration

Dissertation title: Generative Independence: A Programmatic Analysis Framework for Complex Systems Engineering

Dr. Samantha Brainard, PhD 2018

Operations Research Analyst, Department of Defense

Dissertation title: The Impact of Government Oversight on Engineering Work: Insights from a Large Aerospace Contractor

Lt. Col. Prof. Amy Cox, PhD, 2016

Program Chair and Assistant Professor, Air Force Institute of Technology

Dissertation title: Functional Gain and Change Mechanisms in Post-Production Complex Systems.

Dr. Isabel Bignon, PhD, 2015

Associate Project Analyst, IPA

Dissertation title: Scientists, Engineers, or Both? Motives and Preferences of Technical Professionals in Today’s Scientific R&D Organizations.

Dr. Morgan Dwyer (MIT: co-advised with E. Crawley), PhD, 2014

Assistant Director for Defense Science and Technology

Dissertation title: The Cost of Jointness: Insights from Environmental Monitoring Systems in Low Earth Orbit

Former Research Assistants

Several BS and MS students have also spent time working on research in SzajnLab

GW is committed to digital accessibility. If you experience a barrier that affects your ability to access content on this page, let us know via the Accessibility Feedback Form.

Skip to toolbar