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Bethany Gordon

Faculty Photo

Assistant Professor
Civil & Environmental Engineering

Pronouns: she/her


I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of Washington. I specialize in applications of behavioral science and psychology to improve design processes for a more equitable built environment. My research also focuses on climate justice and addressing designer positionality (i.e., framing assumptions, stakeholder perspective-taking) in large-scale infrastructure design.


  • Ph.D. in Civil Engineering, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, 2022
  • B.S. in Civil Engineering, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, 2017

Research Statement

Designers’ perceptions of the world shape the decisions they make and, in turn, the decisions they make determine how the next generation perceives the world. This is problematic in a system where designers profess objectivity, but in reality, are subject to prejudice and bias like everyone else. My goal is to find ways to disrupt these behavioral systems by uncovering the biases that most affect designers’ ability to create in ways that align with equity and climate justice. As an interdisciplinary researcher, working across subdisciplines of civil engineering and behavioral science, I aim to increase knowledge about how individuals or teams: 1) conceptualize collective identities in increasingly diverse spaces, 2) can overcome the environmental cues that restrict inclinations for equitable and resilient decision-making, and 3), can leverage climate adaptation to remediate past harms enacted by the built environment.

Select publications

  1. Gordon, B., & Klotz, L. (2022). Community involvement in coastal infrastructure adaptation should balance necessary complexity and perceived effort. Iscience, 104852.
  2. Fletcher, S., Hadjimichael, A., Quinn, J., Osman, K., Giuliani, M., Gold, D., ... & Gordon, B. (2022). Equity in water resources planning: a path forward for decision support modelers. Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, 148(7), 02522005.
  3. Carroll, T., Gordan, B., Hancock, P., Stenger, K., & Turner, S. (2022). Cultivating solidarity for action on social justice in engineering: A collaborative autoethnography. International Journal of Engineering, Social Justice, and Peace, 9(1), 61-90.
  4. Chaban, R. A., Dudt, D. W., Gordon, B., & Ostrowski, E. T. Preventing Increased Air Pollution in Pennsylvania’s Environmental Justice Communities. Journal of Science Policy & Governance. 18(4).
  5. Hobbs, S. R., Gordon, B., Morton, E. V., & Klotz, L. (2019). Black women engineers as allies in adoption of environmental technology: Evidence from a community in Belize. Environmental Engineering Science, 36(8), 851-862.
  6. Klotz, L., Weber, E., Johnson, E., Shealy, T., Hernandez, M., & Gordon, B. (2018). Beyond rationality in engineering design for sustainability. Nature Sustainability, 1(5), 225-233.
  7. Gordon, B., Genuario, K., Mayfield, L., Roca, S., Jones, M., Kha, L., Yacoubian, L. (2018). Restructuring Resilience: Sustainable housing solutions in Gyumri, Armenia. Conflux Journal.

Honors & awards

  • Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Graduate Fellowship (NAE), 2021
  • NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, 2019