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Barbara A. Karanian

Barbara A. Karanian

Lecturer and previously visiting Professor, Mechanical Engineering


Peterson Building, 550-157


  • Ph.D. in Educational Studies in Organizational Behavior, Lesley University
    • Dissertation: “Gender and Leadership: Men and Women’s Stories”
  • M.Ed. in Art Therapy, Lesley University
    • Thesis: “The Warm-Up Phase in the Psychotherapeutic Treatment of Adolescents”
  • B.A. Double Major: Experimental Psychology; Fine Arts, College of the Holy Cross

Research Interests

Barbara's research focuses on the role of motivation and emotions in four areas: 1) grounding a blend of theories from social-cognitive psychology, engineering design and art to show how cognition affects design and entrepreneurship decisions; 2) changing the way people understand the emotion behind their work with the intent to do something new; 3) shifting norms of leaders involved in entrepreneurial minded action; 4) developing teaching methods with a storytelling focus in engineering education.

Professional Affiliations and Organizations

  • American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE)

Honors & Awards

  • Best Research Paper,  Entrepreneurship and Innovation Division, ASEE 2019
  • Best Teaching Strategies Paper, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, ASEE 2012
  • Teaching Fellowship in Power and Leadership,  GSE, Harvard University, 1990/91

Selected Publications/Presentations

2019 “Provoked Emotion in Student Stories Reveal Gendered Perceptions about What it Means to Be Innovative in Engineering.” B. A. Karanian,  A. Parlier, V. Taajamaa, M. Eskandari.

2018 Stanford Mobility Project: Bringing Comfort and Joy to the Multimodal Transportation Journey. G. Greenwald, A. Uppender, D. Chan, C. Patterson &  B.A. Karanian, FIE, San Jose, October.

2016 Storytelling with a Stranger. TriBeCa Film Festival, Interactive Main stage, April, New York City.

2013 “The Power of First Moments in Entrepreneurial Storytelling,”  M. Eskandari, J. Liao, & Z  Ahmed, & B. A. Karanian,  ASEE, Atlanta, GA.

2011 “Designing for Social Participation in the Virtual Universe,” B.A. Karanian, G. Kress, R. Getz-Kikuchi, T. Price, & C. Nass, ASEE, Vancouver, BC. June.

2010 “Engineering Leader Design Stories-Predicting Engagement,” B.A. Karanian,  G. Kress, J. Cox, D. Ike, D. Green & C. Nass.  FIE, Washington, DC. October.

2009  “Entrepreneurial Leadership: Similarities from Stanford to Silicon Valley to Hollywood,” New England Society for Applied Psychologists Annual Meeting

2007 “Entrepreneurial Leadership: A Balancing Act in Engineering and Science,” ASEE global colloquia, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, October.

Hobbies and Interests

Barbara likes to paint pictures.