Katherine M. Steele

Picture of Kat in purple shirt.Dr. Katherine M. Steele is the Albert S. Kobayashi Endowed Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Washington. She earned her BS in Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines and MS and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University. Her research focuses on using novel computational and experimental tools to enable human movement, in all its forms to improve treatment and quality of life for individuals with cerebral palsy, stroke, and other neurological disorders.

Her team strives to connect engineering, medicine, and accessible design to create solutions that can advance our understanding of human mobility and translate research results to the clinic and daily life. She has previously worked as an engineer in multiple hospitals including the Cleveland Clinic, The Children’s Hospital of Colorado, and Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital.

For her research and innovations, she has been awarded a Career Development Award in Rehabilitation Engineering from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation CAREER Early Faculty Development Award, and the American Society of Biomechanics Young Scientist Award. In 2020, she co-founded and serves as Associate Director of CREATE (create.uw.edu), the Center for Research & Education on Accessible Technology & Experiences with partners from industry and academia in engineering, rehabilitation medicine, disability studies and information sciences supported by an inaugural $3 million investment from Microsoft. She is also the co-founder of AccessEngineering (uw.edu/doit/accessing), an NSF-supported program that supports individuals with disabilities to pursue careers in engineering and trains all engineers in principles of universal design and ability-based design to create more inclusive products, environments, and experiences. She serves as the Director of the AMP Lab, a shared motion analysis laboratory between Mechanical Engineering, Electrical & Computer Engineering, and Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Washington.



  • PhD, Mechanical Engineering – Stanford University
  • MS, Mechanical Engineering – Stanford University
  • BS, Engineering with a Mechanical Specialty (Minors in Bioengineering and Public Affairs) – Colorado School of Mines


  • Professor, Mechanical Engineering – University of Washington (2013-present)
  • Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering – University of Washington (2018-2023)
  • Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering – University of Washington (2013 – 2018)
  • Acting Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering – University of Washington (2012 – 2013)
  • Research Associate, Sensory Motor Performance Program – Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (2012 – 2013)
  • Biomechanical Engineer, Gait & Movement Analysis Laboratory – Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital (2009 – 2012)
  • PhD Candidate, Neuromuscular Biomechanics Laboratory – Stanford University (2007 – 2012)
  • Bioengineer, Center for Gait & Motion Analysis – The Children’s Hospital of Colorado (2006 – 2007)
  • Research Assistant, Lerner Research Institute – Cleveland Clinic (Summer 2006)

Awards & Recognitions

  • DO-IT Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking & Technology Trailblazer Award, 2020
  • University of Washington Faculty Career Education & Training (FACET) Award, 2020
  • University of Washington College of Engineering Team Teaching Award, 2018
  • Colorado School of Mines Young Alumni Award 2017
  • American Society of Biomechanics Young Scientist Award 2016
  • University of Washington College of Engineering Junior Faculty Award 2016
  • NSF Faculty Early Career Development Award, 2015
  • Best Paper & Best Poster (mentor), Gait & Clinical Movement Analysis Society, 2015
  • Finalist David Winter Young Investigator Award, 2015
  • Outstanding Presentation, 2014, Neural Engineering Track, Biomedical Engineering Society
  • BTS Congress Prize, 2014, Clinical Movement Analysis World Conference
  • UW Rogel Faculty Support Award, 2014
  • OpenSim Fellow, 2014, National Center for Simulation in Rehabilitation Research
  • 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award, 2014, 3M Company
  • Rehabilitation Engineering Career Development Award, 2013, National Institutes of Health
  • Baskin Award for Excellence in Research 3rd Place, 2013, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
  • Aspen Ideas Festival Nominee, 2012, Stanford University
  • Kevin Granata Young Investigator Award, 2012, Gait & Clinical Movement Analysis Society
  • Outstanding Student Podium Presentation, 2011, Biocomputation at Stanford
  • Student Travel Fellowship, 2011, International Society of Biomechanics
  • Outstanding Student Poster Presentation, 2011, Biomechanics at Stanford
  • Student Travel Award, 2010, 2011, 2012, Gait & Clinical Movement Analysis Society
  • Graduate Research Fellowship, 2008, National Science Foundation
  • National Nagel Fellow, 2007, Tau Beta Pi
  • National Dodson Scholar, 2006, Tau Beta Pi