Bio


Sita Syal is a PhD student in mechanical engineering and design at Stanford. Her research focuses on quantitatively modeling the uncertainty of humans in sustainable systems. She is interested in how human uncertainty can be mathematically modeled and how that uncertainty influences engineering design outcomes of large solar and wind projects as well as electrified transportation systems. Sita is a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow. Additionally, Sita has worked with communities to redesign how solar energy is implemented through co-design processes and co-founded a community solar developer startup, Shake Energy Collaborative. She currently serves as their advisor.

Sita grew up in Michigan and completed a B.S.E. in chemical engineering and an M.Eng in energy systems engineering, both from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She was awarded a Morris K. Udall scholarship in 2012 for her work in sustainability and clean energy. Additionally, she completed a semester abroad at Delhi University and studied rural and urban solar implementation throughout India. Her experience spans energy, from biofuels development to topsides process engineering. Before graduate school, Sita worked in the energy industry and served as a process engineer onshore and an operations engineer on one of the largest oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. Outside of her academic life, Sita is passionate about supporting women in STEM fields and enjoys running long distances and playing her violin.

Education & Certifications


  • M.Eng., University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, Energy Systems Engineering (2014)
  • B.S.E., University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, Chemical Engineering (2013)

2019-20 Courses


All Publications


  • Quantifying the Importance of Solar Soft Costs: A New Method to Apply Sensitivity Analysis to a Value Function JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN Syal, S. M., MacDonald, E. F. 2020; 142 (12)

    View details for DOI 10.1115/1.4048456

    View details for Web of Science ID 000591557800004

  • Agent-Based Modeling of Decisions and Developer Actions in Wind Farm Landowner Contract Acceptance JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN Syal, S. M., Ding, Y., MacDonald, E. F. 2020; 142 (9)

    View details for DOI 10.1115/1.4047153

    View details for Web of Science ID 000561232600008

  • QUANTIFYING THE UNCERTAINTY OF SOLAR PHOTOVOLTAIC SOFT COSTS IN THE “COST OF RENEWABLE ENERGY SPREADSHEET TOOL” (CREST) MODEL Proceedings of the Design Society: DESIGN Conference Syal, S. M., MacDonald, E. F. 2020: 2157–2166

    View details for DOI 10.1017/dsd.2020.171

  • AGENT-BASED MODELING OF DECISIONS AND DEVELOPER ACTIONS IN WIND FARM LANDOWNER CONTRACT ACCEPTANCE Syal, S. M., Ding, Y., MacDonald, E. F., ASME AMER SOC MECHANICAL ENGINEERS. 2020