Ilka Rodriguez-Calero is an Education Program Design and Management Lead at the Center for Socially Engaged Design. At C-SED, she leads the design of an education program focusing on the technical and social considerations of bioenergy technology development. In her role she also supports the integration of socially engaged design and diversity, equity, and inclusion in engineering curricula.
Prior to this role, Ilka was a facilitator at C-SED since the inception of the graduate facilitator program in 2018, delivering over 40+ core workshops and supporting other efforts and partnerships, including the Innovation in Action program. She holds a Ph.D. in Design Science from the University of Michigan where she was a Rackham Merit Fellow and Dean’s Named Fellow. Her research investigated practicing designers’ and engineers’ prototyping methods during front-end innovation processes, with special interest in stakeholder engagement, medical device design, and product design and development more generally. An engineer by training, Ilka has in-house and consulting experience in assistive technology design and medical device design with an emphasis in design research, strategy, and human factors and ergonomics. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez and a Master of Science in Design Science from the University of Michigan with an interdisciplinary focus across Engineering Design & Social, Behavioral, and Cognitive Sciences.
Outside of C-SED, Ilka enjoys doing STEM outreach and engagement with different audiences in topics about design and designing. She is passionate about sharing personal and professional stories from her engineering journey with an interest in creating spaces and experiences of belonging for aspiring engineers who may share parts of her personal and social identities.