Molly Wright Steenson is an associate professor in the School of Design and is the chair of the Doctor of Design (D.Des) program.
She researches the history of design, architecture, computation and artificial intelligence from the 1950s to the present, and is the author of the forthcoming book The Verb of Architecture: A History of Architects and Digital Designers in a Computational Age (MIT Press, 2017) that explores these linkages, with a focus on the practices of Nicholas Negroponte, Cedric Price, Christopher Alexander, and Richard Saul Wurman. At CMU, she teaches Seminar 1, the theory/concepts seminar for Master of Design students, courses related to service design, and doctoral courses.
Molly holds a PhD in architecture from Princeton University and a Master's in Environmental Design from the Yale School of Architecture. She was a resident professor at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea in Ivrea, Italy, where she led the Connected Communities research group (early 2003–late 2004), and was an adjunct professor at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena in the Media Design Practices Program. From 2013–15, Molly was an assistant professor in the School of Journalism & Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she taught data visualization, digital studies, and communications courses, and led Mellon-funded research projects in the digital humanities.
Molly has also worked with the web for 22 years at such companies as Reuters, Scient, Netscape, and Razorfish. She cofounded Maxi, an award-winning women's webzine, in the 90s. As a design researcher, she examines the effect of personal technology and digital media on their users, including projects in India and China for Microsoft Research and ReD Associates for Intel Research.