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Megan Ryerson

Megan S. Ryerson was named associate dean for research at Penn’s School of Design earlier this fall. Ryerson is an assistant professor in the department of City and Regional Planning as well as in the department of Electrical and Systems Engineering at Penn Engineering.

Ryerson is also a senior fellow at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, a member of the Penn Center for Neuroaesthetics, and the Research Director of the Mobility21 Transportation Research Center, a national University Transportation Center.

The Penn Almanac reported that Ryerson’s appointment comes as part of PennDesign’s effort to further enhance its research programs. In addition to Ryerson’s appointment as associate dean for research, PennDesign welcomed four new members to its research staff this fall.

In April, The Daily Pennsylvanian reported that PennDesign is the most tuition-dependent school at Penn and, consequently, faces unique financial challenges. 

Architecture professor William Braham said one of the reasons for PennDesign’s limited funding is the relatively small amount of research produced by the school. With less research than the other schools at Penn, there are fewer opportunities to obtain external research grants. 

“There’s not as much obvious forms of research that get done in the school, just because of who we are,” he said.

Ryerson’s appointment as the new associate dean of research, along with the general expansion of the school’s research staff, stands in contrast to PennDesign’s previously limited research program.

Ryerson’s own research includes the development of algorithms addressing both the challenges of introducing self-driving cars into traffic and general pedestrian safety in roadways. Her research also involves the study of air transportation systems, including recent projects on airport infrastructure planning and intercity transportation network geography evolution.

“Along with an impressive track record in her own research, Professor Ryerson brings tremendous energy and vision to her new role,” PennDesign Dean and Paley Professor Frederick Steiner said.

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