Winslow Burleson | CV | Motivational Environments

As a social inventor, I lead Motivational Environments, a 20-person research group advancing human-centered technology and design strategy to improve quality of life through increased creativity, learning, and health. I have been recognized by Arizona State University (ASU) as an outstanding professor and by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) as “one of the nation’s leading engineering researchers and educators” for my service and leadership roles in advancing world-class transdisciplinary research and education for minority and underserved learners. I have raised $3.4 million in collaborative funding and received the best paper award at the 2009 International Conference on Artificial Intelligence, the field’s top conference, showing Affective Learning Companions’ ability to have large-scale societal impact on thousands of students, by bringing cyber-enabled learning research into classroom settings. I trace my passion for service and leadership to my mother’s work in international relations with the World Council of Churches and my father’s work in women’s health as an international civil servant with UNESCO. My enthusiasm for learning and challenging environments has helped me overcome a personal struggle with learning disabilities to earn a BA in Bio-Physics from Rice; an MSE in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford, where I taught courses in product design, creativity, and visual thinking; and a Ph.D. from the MIT Media Lab’s Affective Computing and Life Long Kindergarten research groups.  Service with the Entrepreneurial Management Unit at Harvard Business School, volunteering with the Center for Women and Enterprise, and launching UNICEF’s Healthy Lifestyles for Youth Program serving over 140 countries further expanded my horizons.

I have been awarded 10 patents, four inventor and innovator awards from IBM Research, two Time Magazine Awards for the top 10 and top 50 inventions of the year, authored over 70 scientific publications, exhibited at the Pompidou Centre and performed in Carnegie Hall. I received MIT’s Student Leader Group Award, NASA’s Public Service Group Achievement Award, served as a Co-Principal Investigator on the Hubble Space Telescope, and was named a Kavli Fellow by the National Academy of Science (NAS) for contributions to the Chinese-American Frontiers of Science Symposium. My collaboration with Future Generations advanced the Green Long March, China’s first grassroots national environmental assessment.  Having been a National Finalist for the Boy Scouts of America -- NSF Antarctic Science Program and as a Life Member of the National Eagle Scout Association, I served as the World Scout Bureau’s Youth Representative to the UN and created the first international Drug Awareness Merit Badge.

Throughout my career working across the top levels of federal and international agencies and universities, I have advanced Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education and innovation with the NAE, NASA, NAS, and NSF and served as an international academic ambassador connecting government ministries and industry to academia and NGOs, in Nepal, Denmark, Finland, Germany, and China. With endorsement by the NAE and support from our Dean of Engineering, I launched ASU’s Inventors’ Workshop, to systemically transform STEM learning and innovation through active citizenship and life-long learning—providing access to the highest-end tools and mentorship to train the engineer of 2020 and 2100, today.

My other interests and activities have included designing museum exhibits, sailing tall ships from Hawaii to Seattle and Norway to Denmark, winning the MIT 2002 mahjong championship, exploring Antarctica, inventing expedition technologies for rainforest canopies and saturation diving, creating pop-up books, glass blowing, cooking and gardening.


Portfolio of Prior Work (circa 2004)