After completing undergraduate degrees in mechanical engineering and interdisciplinary social sciences, Dean Nieusma worked as an engineer in the auto industry. He received his PhD from Rensselaer in 2004 in Science and Technology Studies (STS). Dr. Nieusma worked as an assistant professor at University of Virginia before returning to Rensselaer in 2006. His research is interdisciplinary, leading to much collaboration and his current research focuses on increasing public participation in decision making. He is interested in design and the social studies of design, the development of appropriate technologies, and the relationship between expertise and democracy.