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Daniel R

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at Columbia University


Judgement and Decision Making, Consumer Psychology, Prosocial Behavior, Product Development, User Experience, Human Centered Product Design, Mechanical Engineering


Hi there, I'm a manufacturing and design engineer turned consumer behavior and decision making researcher. I've always been fascinated with how things work. An interest in the technical side of products led me to study product development and work in consumer products as a mechanical engineer and program manager for 5 years. In my industry career I often worked on user experience focused projects in a new product development or research setting, primarily within the automotive interiors space. Since leaving the automotive industry in 2020 I've pivoted to a business and psychology research focus and am pursuing a PhD in consumer behavior within the Marketing Department at Columbia Business School. I'm interested in how people make decisions and how the context and framing of the decision settings, dictated by firms, governments or other bodies lead to slightly different decisions. From my days working as a program manager, I'm also interested in how people work to accomplish goals.

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Why does it seem like everyone wears our school colors on Mondays after a football win?

In this project you will learn how to conduct research into your proposed subject of interest. You will start with fact finding: literature reviews and preliminary data gathering. You will learn about different research methods and ways to test out your hypothesis. We will follow that up with conducting basic analyses to prove or disprove your hypothesis.

What are the most important features to customers when buying a car?

This project will take you through the steps to evaluate the car buying experience and formulate a hierarchy of car purchasing priorities. You will start with fact finding: literature reviews and preliminary data gathering. You will learn about different research methods applicable to your question of interest and basic data analyses to provide insight and conclusions.

What makes people happy and/or healthy?

Why do some people meditate but others don't? Exercise? Floss? How do consumer preferences, goals and motivations dictate their product and activity choices and how do they define what it means to be "healthy"? We can use a mix of qualitative and experimental methods to better understand meaning and choice in the health domain.

Coding skills

Basic to Intermediate: Python, R, Matlab, C/C++, Intermediate to Advanced: NX/Solidworks/Catia 3D modeling

Languages I know

Intermediate Spanish

Teaching experience

I mentored a group of professionals for 2 seasons (summer 2017 and 2018) in the TechStars Mobility program while an employee at Ford Motor Company. I worked with a group of graduate students as a Launchpad Apprentice mentor at Stanford in 2018. I mentored a group of undergrads in the Segal 2020 Design-A-Thon. I was a TA in Northwestern's intellectual property and innovation course in spring of 2016. As a high school student I was a math tutor for 2 years.


Work experience

Columbia Business School (2021 - Current)
PhD Candidate/Researcher
Ford Motor Company (2016 - 2019)
Product Development Engineer
Lucid Motors (2019 - 2020)
Technical Program Manager


Northwestern University
BS Bachelor of Science (2016)
Manufacturing and Design Engineering, Psychology
Columbia University
MASt Master of Advanced Study candidate
Columbia University
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate
Marketing - Consumer Behavior

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