Sarah Kuhn is a Professor in the Psychology department at UMass Lowell.

Sarah Kuhn, Ph.D.

Professor Emerita

College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences


Teaching, Learning, and Cognition. The implications of embodied cognition for teaching and learning. Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math education and the Arts (STEAM). Women in computing occupations.

Research Interests

Transforming learning in the college classroom by focusing on the needs of the embodied learner. Using craft, particularly the fiber arts, to teach STEM concepts. Community engagement in STEAM.


  • Ph D: Department of Urban Studies and Planning, (1987), Massachusetts Institute of Technology - Cambridge, MA
    Dissertation/Thesis Title: "From the Back Office to the Front Lines: the computer software development labor process in a changing business environment."
  • BA: Philosophy and Social Relations, (1974), Harvard University - Cambridge, MA


Sarah Kuhn is Professor Emerita in the Department of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, USA. Before beginning her thirty-year teaching career, she received a Ph.D. in Urban Studies and Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Social Psychology from Harvard University. She is the author of numerous articles, including several on aspects of learning with things in interdisciplinary, studio-based, and community settings. Her current interests include transforming college to better address how students learn, using a thinking with things approach. She is also interested in informal, community-based science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) learning.

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Teaching Award, Department of Regional Economic and Social Development, University of Massachusetts Lowell, 2005-2006
  • Faculty Associate, Center for Women and Work, University of Massachusetts Lowell. 2004-2020
  • CAS Faculty Fellow, IBM Centre for Advanced Studies, IBM Toronto Laboratory, Toronto, Canada. January 2003-June 2004
  • Fellowship, Radcliffe Public Policy Center, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University 2000-2001
  • Teaching Award, Policy and Planning Department, University of Massachusetts Lowell, 1996-97
  • Fellow, Harvard-MIT Joint Center for Urban Studies, 1982-83
  • The Signet Literary Honor Society, Harvard University
  • Bachelor's Degree Cum Laude, Harvard University

Selected Publications

  • Kuhn, S. (2022) Transforming Learning Through Tangible Instruction: The Case for Thinking With Things. Routledge.
  • Kuhn, S. (2019) Mending our Clothing, Mending the World, in Hinda Mandell, ed. Crafting Dissent. Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Kuhn, S. (2016). Fiber Arts and Generative Justice. Teknokultura, 13(2) 461-489.
  • Kuhn, S., Martin, F., Greher, G., Heines, J., Jeffers, J., Kim, H., Roehr, K., Selleck, N., Silka, L., Yanco, H. (2009). Joining Computing and the Arts at a Mid-Size University. Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges, 24(no.6) 87-94.
  • Greher, G.R., Heines, J.M., Kuhn, S. (2009). Music Performamatics: Interdisciplinary Interaction.
  • Kuhn, S. (2008). Blocks (pp. 242-246). In Sherry Turkle, editor. Falling for Science: Objects in Mind. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Heines, J.M., Jeffers, J., Kuhn, S. (2008). Performamatics: Experiences with Connecting a Computer Science Course to a Design Arts Course. International Journal of Learning, 15(2) 9-16.
  • Kuhn, S., Rayman, P. (2007). Software and Internet Industry Workers. In Tom Juravich, editor. The Future of Work in Massachusetts. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press. (pp. 93-109)
  • Kuhn, S., Davidson, J. (2007). Thinking With Things, Teaching With Things: Enhancing Student Learning in Qualitative Research Through Reflective Use of Tools and Materials. Qualitative Research Journal., 7(no. 2) 63-75.
  • Kuhn, S., Rayman, P. (2007). Women on the Edge of Change: Employees in United States Information Technology Companies (pp. 191-210). In Carol Burger, Elizabeth Creamer, and Peggy Meszaros, eds. Reconfiguring the Firewall: A Cross-Cultural Context for Recruiting Women to IT. Wellesley, MA: A.K. Peters, Ltd. (Pp. 191-210)
  • Kuhn, S., Wooding, J. (2003). The Changing Structure of Work in the United States: Implications for Health and Welfare. In Richard Hofrichter, ed. Health, Justice, and Social Policy. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. (pp. 251-261).
  • Kuhn, S. (2001). Learning from the Architecture Studio: Implications for Project-Based Pedagogy. International Journal of Engineering Education, 17(4-5) 349-352.
  • Kuhn, S. (2000). Interstate 495 West: The Challenges of Change in an Information Technology Corridor. Massachusetts Benchmarks, 3(no. 4) 18-22.
  • Kuhn, S. (1998). The Software Design Studio: An Exploration. IEEE Software, 15(2) 65-71.
  • Kuhn, S. (1998). When Worlds Collide: Engineering Students Encounter Social Aspects of Production. Science and Engineering Ethics, 4(4) 457-472.
  • Bucciarelli, L.L., Kuhn, S. (1997). Engineering Education and Engineering Practice: Improving the fit. In Stephen R. Barley and Julian Orr, editors, Between Craft and Science: Technical Work in U.S. Settings. ILR Press/Cornell University Press. (Pp. 210-229)
  • Kuhn, S. (1996). Design for People at Work. In Terry Winograd, ed. Bringing Design to Software. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. (Pp. 273-289).
  • Kuhn, S., Winograd, T. (1996). Participatory Design. "Participatory Design." In Terry Winograd, ed. Bringing Design to Software. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. (Pp. 290-294)
  • Kuhn, S., Muller, M.J. (1993). Participatory Design - Introduction. Communications of the ACM, 36(6).
  • Kuhn, S., Richardson, C. (1993). Standing on the Edge: Engineering Students Encounter Skill-Based Automation (pp. 19-26). in N. Harvey and F. Emspak, eds. Automated Systems Based on Human Skill and Intelligence. Pergamon Press.
  • Kuhn, S. (1989). The Limits to Industrialization: Computer software development in a large commercial bank (pp. 266-278). In The Transformation of Work? Stephen Wood, ed. London: Unwin Hyman.
  • Kuhn, S., Bluestone, B. (1987). Economic Restructuring and the Female Labor Market: The impact of industrial change on women. In Women, Households, and the Economy. Lourdes Beneria and Catharine Stimpson, eds. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. (Pp. 3-32)
  • Shaiken, H., Herzenberg, S., Kuhn, S. (1986). The Work Process Under More Flexible Production. Industrial Relations, 25 (2):167-183
  • Kuhn, S. (1984). High Tech Research Group Massachusetts High Tech: The promise and the reality.
  • Kuhn, S. (1982). Computer Manufacturing in New England: Structure, location, and labor in a growing industry. Cambridge, MA: Harvard-MIT Joint Center for Urban Studies.
  • Bluestone, B., Hanna, P., Kuhn, S., Moore, L. (1981). The Retail Revolution: Market Transformation, Investment, and Labor in the modern department store. Boston, MA: Auburn House.

Selected Presentations

  • 2021 Sarah Kuhn. "To Deepen Learning, Transform the Classroom." Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) Conference on General Education, Pedagogy, and Assessment. February 11. (Virtual live conference).
  • 2017 Sarah Kuhn. Keynote speaker. "Thinking with (Visual) Things." International Visual Literacy Association 49th annual conference. September 14-17. Lesley University, Cambridge, MA.
  • 2016 Louis L. Bucciarelli and Sarah Kuhn. "Engineering and the Liberal Arts: Oil and Water, Dogs and Fleas, or Obligate Symbiosis." Ninth Symposium on Engineering and Liberal Education. Union College, Schenectady, NY. 3-4 June.
  • 2016 Sarah Kuhn, "Inclusion through Textiles: Creating a Pathway to and through STEM." Poster. OPEN 2016, Venture Well 20th Annual Conference. Portland, OR. March 4-5.
  • 2016 Sarah Kuhn. "Why Fiber Arts in your Maker Space?" Post-Conference Workshop "Academic Maker Spaces 101." OPEN 2016, Venture Well 20th Annual Conference. Portland, OR. March 6.
  • 2015 Sarah Kuhn. "From Mathematical Model to Stim Toy and Beyond: Amazing Adventures with the Hyperbolic Plane." Talk and workshop. Asperger/Autism Network (AANE), March 29, Watertown, MA.
  • 2014 Sarah Kuhn. "The Soft Path to Design Science: Hyperbolic Crochet." STEM to STEAM thru Synergy: Bridging Morphology, Biomimicry, Sustainability, and Synergetics. Fourth Biennial Design Science Symposium, Rhode Island School of Design. Providence, RI. January 31-February 2.
  • 2013 Sarah Kuhn. "Tangible Tools for Participatory Evaluation: Deepening Creative Engagement Through Hand-On Materials." (With Dr. Sharon Wasco) Workshop at American Evaluation Association conference, Washington DC. 16 October.
  • 2013 Sarah Kuhn. "The Maker's Mark: Student Agency, Engagement, and the Teaching of Technology." Society for Social Studies of Science 2013, San Diego, CA. 10 October.
  • 2012 Sarah Kuhn. "Feeling Your Way into Computing and Math." Plenary Flash Talk. National Center for Women in Information Technology (NCWIT), May 22-25, 2012; Chicago, Ill.
  • 2012 Sarah Kuhn. Workshop presenter (with Diana Coluntino and Adam Norton, Revolving Museum), "Write your Code/Draw your Artwork." Invited presentation at "Design, Make, Play-Growing the Next Generation of Science Innovators." January 13-14, New York Hall of Science, Queens, NY.
  • 2011 Sarah Kuhn. "Innovation Through Making in the Classroom." Workshop Organizer and Presenter, National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Association. An NSF Tools and Techniques Workshop. Washington, DC; March 24-26.
  • 2011 Kimball, R. A.; Kohler, E. C.; Kuhn, S. "Lego® Learning in Higher Education." 25th Annual Conference on the Teaching of Psychology: Ideas & Innovations. Tarrytown, NY. March 25-26.
  • 2009 Sarah Kuhn. "Lego® Engineering and Girls: Many Paths to the Future." Lego® Engineering Symposium, Tufts University Center for Engineering Education and Outreach. June.
  • 2006 Sarah Kuhn (with Fred Martin.) "Computing in Context: Integrating an Embedded Computing Project into a Course on Ethical and Societal Issues." Association for Computing Machinery Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education (ACM-SIGCSE 2006). Houston, TX.
  • 2005 Sarah Kuhn (with Paula Rayman). "Women on the Edge of Change: Employees in United States Information Technology Companies." Crossing Cultures, Changing Lives: Integrating Research on Girls' Choices of IT Careers. Oxford, England.
  • 2005 Sarah Kuhn. "Coming to our Senses in Higher Education: Using "low technology" to enhance engagement, learning, and embodied knowledge." Workshop, The Teaching Professor Conference, May. Invited as a "Back by Popular Demand" session; workshop repeated three times at conference because of very high demand. Chicago, IL.
  • 2005 Sarah Kuhn (with Paula Rayman). "Software and Internet Industry Workers in Massachusetts: Findings and Implications for the Future of Work." The Future of Work in Massachusetts. Statewide conference sponsored by the Labor Centers of the University of Massachusetts.
  • 2005 Sarah Kuhn (with Robert Rasmussen). "Coming to our Senses in Higher Education: Using "low technology" to enhance engagement, learning, and embodied knowledge." Workshop, The Teaching Professor Conference, May.
  • 2004 Sarah Kuhn. "The Software Engineering Code of Ethics, Participatory Designers, and the Public Good." Workshop creator and facilitator. Full day pre-conference workshop, Eighth Biennial Participatory Design Conference 2004. Toronto, Canada.
  • 2004 Sarah Kuhn. "Chilly Climate, Engrossing Puzzle? Research Results on the Experience of Work in Computing Workplaces." Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, Chicago, IL. October 6-9.
  • 2003 Sarah Kuhn. "What Makes Dick and Jane Run? Examining the retention of women and men in the software and Internet industry," with Joyce Davis. ACM SIGMIS CPR Conference, Philadelphia, PA.
  • 2002 Sarah Kuhn. Panel Co-organizer and Participant. "The Software Studio in Software Engineering Education." CSEE&T 2002 (15th Conference on Software Engineering Education and Training). IEEE Computer Society. Covington, KY.
  • 2001 Sarah Kuhn. "Design of Information Technology: Whose Values?" Institute for Women's Policy Research Conference, "The Status of Women: Facing the Facts, Forging the Future." Washington, DC. June.
  • 2000 Sarah Kuhn. "Introduction to Participatory Design," Tutorial, with Michael Muller. Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, Participatory Design Conference (PDC'2000). New York, NY.
  • 1999 Sarah Kuhn. "Learning from the Architecture Studio: Implications for Project-Based Pedagogy." Mudd Design Workshop II, Designing Design Education for the 21st Century. Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, California. May.
  • 1995 Sarah Kuhn (with L.L. Bucciarelli). "Engineering Education and Engineering Practice: Improving the Fit." National Association for Science, Technology, and Society. Washington, DC.
  • 1994 Sarah Kuhn. "Meeting of the Minds: The Challenges of Interdisciplinary and Inter-Occupational Communication." Workshop (with Marian Williams). Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, Participatory Design Conference (PDC'94). Chapel Hill, NC.
  • 1992 Sarah Kuhn. "Worlds Apart: Engineers, Machinists, and a Skill-Based Approach to Production." Society for the Social Study of Science (joint with EASST). Göteborg, Sweden.
  • 1992 Sarah Kuhn. "Engineers and Machinists: Conceptual Barriers to Skill-Based Systems." International Federation of Automatic Control, Symposium on Automated Systems Based on Human Skill (and Intelligence). Madison, WI.
  • 1992 Sarah Kuhn. "Can We Talk? Engineers, Machinists, and the Barriers to a Skill-Based Approach to Production." Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility. Directions and Implications of Advanced Computing. Berkeley, CA.
  • 1990 Sarah Kuhn. Plenary Panelist, "Gender and Computing." Association for Computing Machinery, Computers and the Quality of Life. Washington, DC.

Selected Contracts, Fellowships, Grants and Sponsored Research

Grant and Contract Activity, funded

2016 “ADVANCE: Institutional Transformation: Making WAVES: Disrupting Microaggressions to Propagate Institutional Transformation.” National Science Foundation. Jacqueline Moloney, PI. With Meg Bond, Julie Chen, Marina Ruths, and Margaret Sobkowicz-Kline, co-PIs. Sarah Kuhn, Senior Personnel. $3,455,590.
2015 Sarah Kuhn, PI. “Lowell Tex: Embracing Lowell’s Cultural, Historical, and Educational Assets to Create Pathways to STEM.” Co-investigators: Chris Hansen, Engineering; David Kazmer, Engineering and UTeach; Ken Levasseur, Mathematics and UTeach; Emmanuelle Reynaud, Engineering; Michelle Scribner-MacLean, Education and UTeach; Sheila Kirschbaum, Tsongas Industrial History Center; Diana Coluntino, New Vestures Fashion Maker Space; Todd Smith, American Textile History Museum; and Chriztine Foltz, Patricia Wilson Nguyen, and Alessandrina Costa, fiber arts experts. UMass President’s 2015 Creative Economy Initiatives Fund. $34,500.
2011 Senior Personnel, “Computational Thinking Through Computing and Music.” Jesse Heines, Principal Investigator. National Science Foundation. Award # DUE-1118435. August 1, 2011- July 31, 2014. $449,995.
2010 Sarah Kuhn, PI. “EAGER: Thinking With Things: Remaking Learning in Higher Education and Beyond.” National Science Foundation. Award # IIS-1042580. August 15, 2010-July 31, 2013. $196,049.
2009 Sarah Kuhn, Senior Personnel. “SLICES: Community and Industry Reaching Into Computer, Lab, and Engineering Sciences.” National Science Foundation #DUE- 0920574. [PI John Duffy; co-PIs Barry, Martin, and Mittler.] 08/1/11 – 07/31/14. $289,999.
2009 Sarah Kuhn, Senior Personnel. “Engineering for the Common Good.” National Science Foundation #EEC-0935185. [PI John Duffy; co-PIs Barry, Gu, Lee, and Willis (UML Engineering faculty).] 08/1/11 – 07/31/14 $399,629.
2007 Sarah Kuhn, Co-PI. National Science Foundation. “Internet System for Networked Sensor Experimentation (iSENSE)” [Fred Martin, PI; Michelle Scribner-MacLean, Co-PI.] $392,796.
2007 Sarah Kuhn, Senior Personnel/Co-PI*. National Science Foundation. CPATH CB: Performamatics: Connecting Computer Science to the Performing, Fine, and Design Arts. [Jesse Heines, PI; Gena Greher, James Jeffers, Fred Martin, Karen Roehr, Wanda Strukus, Co-PIs] Requested Amount: $409,126. Listed in proposal narrative as one of six Co-PIs, but NSF FastLane allows only four. $368,162.
2006 Sarah Kuhn, Co-PI. National Science Foundation. “DRU: Analysis of Current HAZMAT Response Capabilities and the Impact of Human Robot Interaction on Risk Mitigation [Holly Yanco, PI; Jill Drury Co-PI] $124,765.
2004 Sarah Kuhn. Committee on Industrial Theory and Assessment. “Curriculum Module to Support Sustainable Development Learning.” [With Fred Martin] Seed Grant.$5,000
2001/2003 Sarah Kuhn, Co-PI. National Science Foundation. “Women in Information Technology Workplaces” (Award # EIA0089965) [Paula Rayman, PI] $584,674
2001 Sarah Kuhn. Fellowship Stipend. Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Paid through UML Research Foundation.$ 17,500
2000 Sarah Kuhn, PI. National Science Foundation. “Developing and Testing a Method for Using Democratic Design Criteria Within Participatory Technology Assessment.” (Award #SES-0090256) [Richard Sclove, Co-PI; Transferred to new PI Harold Salzman January 2001] $210,166
1999 Sarah Kuhn. US Department of Labor. “Y2K Workers: What Happens on January 2, 2000?” Grant # 12-08494. [With Harold Salzman] $ 9,979
1999 Sarah Kuhn. Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities. “Scenario Workshop on Democracy and Sustainability.” Challenge grant. [With Richard Sclove] $15,000
1998 Sarah Kuhn. Committee on Industrial Theory and Assessment, University of Massachusetts Lowell. “Informational Context Supporting Design for Environment in the Merrimack Valley Region.” [With Elizabeth Harriman and Janet Clark] $3,400
1997 Sarah Kuhn. Committee on Industrial Theory and Assessment, University of Massachusetts Lowell. “Ethical and Infrastructural Issues of University-Community Interaction.” $2,500
1996-97 Sarah Kuhn, PI. National Science Foundation. Career Advancement Award. $50,000
1993 Sarah Kuhn. Committee on Industrial Theory and Assessment, University of Massachusetts Lowell. "Study of Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration." [With Marian Williams] $5,000
1991-94 Sarah Kuhn, PI. National Science Foundation. Principal Investigator. "Engineering Values as a Barrier to the Effective Use of Skilled Workers." [Charles Richardson, Co-PI] $72,000