External Advisory Board

The External Advisory Board brings together experts and professionals from diverse fields—design, engineering, education, urban planning, technology, and more—to provide knowledge and insight to the Master in Design Engineering program. The interdisciplinary expertise of members reflects the innovation, ingenuity, goals, and values of the program, and provides invaluable support to the collaborative nature of MDE.

Paola Antonelli’s work investigates design’s influence on everyday experience. She is a Senior Curator at The Museum of Modern Art in the Department of Architecture & Design, as well as MoMA’s founding Director of Research & Development. She has curated numerous exhibitions, lectured worldwide, and continues to serve on international architecture and design juries. Antonelli is the author of many books, including the exhibition catalogs for Design and the Elastic Mind (2008); Talk to Me: Design and the Communication between People and Objects (2011); and Design and Violence (2015). She is currently working on the exhibition Items: Is Fashion Modern? which opens in late 2017 at MoMA.


Sean Chiao is President of Asia Pacific at AECOM, overseeing strategic growth and business operations in Greater China, Southeast Asia and Australia and New Zealand. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA), a global trustee of the Urban Land Institute, and serves on the Mainland Business Advisory Committee of Hong Kong Trade Development Council and the Board of Governors for the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong. He’s also a member of University of South Carolina’s (USC) Board of Advisors for the American Academy in China (AAC). Sean holds a Master of Architecture in Urban Design from Harvard University and a Master of Architecture from University of California, Berkeley.

Andrew B. Cogan is the CEO of Knoll, Inc. Knoll, founded in 1938, is a constellation of design-driven brands and people that works together with clients to create inspired modern interiors. As the CEO of Knoll Mr. Cogan has led Knoll through significant cyclical and secular changes in the economy and the workplace. He has rebalanced the company’s mix of business in terms of office and residential exposure through organic sales, marketing and design initiatives as well as through acquisitions. Mr. Cogan is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of the Harvard College class of 1984 where he majored in Social Studies. He is a Director and head of the Audit Committee of the American Woodmark Corporation and a Director and member of the Compensation Committee of Interface. In addition Mr. Cogan is the Board Chair of the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas, which is dedicated to preserving the work of the artist Donald Judd and his contemporaries.


Fiona Cousins is an Arup Fellow and a member of Arup Group Board, Arup Americas Region Board, and is the firm’s Digital Council chair. She helps lead the sustainability, building engineering, and data strategies teams in Arup’s New York office, and directs technical and research investments for the Americas Region.

Fiona is a mechanical engineer by profession and has spent much of her career engaged in HVAC design, with an area of specialization in thermal comfort and energy efficiency. She has extensive project experience and has worked on a wide range of projects, including the design of museums, archives, trading floors, laboratories, libraries, and performing art centers. She has also worked on planning projects with a focus on energy and sustainability. Fiona is a frequent presenter on transformative sustainable building design, very low-energy design, resilience, and sustainability. She gave the 2016 CIBSE Annual Lecture: “How building services Engineers can save Civilization.” She is also a LEED Fellow.


Dana Cho is a Partner and Managing Director of IDEO Palo Alto.  As the founder of the Smart Space practice, Dana has led multiple, large-scale projects with clients such as Sam’s Club, Mayo Clinic, Four Seasons, Virgin, and The Ritz-Carlton. She has also served as the Portfolio Director of both the consumer brand and healthcare practices.  Dana holds a Master of Architecture degree from Harvard University’s Graduate School of design and a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Design from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Prior to joining IDEO, Dana has worked at a number of architectural firms.

Alberto De Gobbi, Founder and CEO of FABBRICA

Alberto De Gobbi is the Founder and CEO of Fabbrica, a company specialized in complex building façade projects. Alberto is a recognized leader within the curtainwall industry with over 30 years hands on experience in the design and manufacturing of bespoke building facades.  Prior to founding Fabbrica, Alberto was the CEO of Permasteelisa within the United States, realizing many iconic buildings such as the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, CA as well as the Hearst Tower and the Bank of America buildings in New York, NY.  Alberto has extensive experience in all aspects of realization of complex building projects, from the engineering aspects, to the manufacturing process, to the work logistic/social/regulation challenges surrounding large construction projects.



Karen Harris is the Managing Director of Bain & Company’s Macro Trends Group. The Bain Macro Trends Group (MTG) is the capability group for developing Bain’s insights about global macroeconomics, macro social trends and geopolitics as they impact the results of Bain’s clients.  Karen frequently works with institutional investors to embed macro strategy into their investment strategy and due diligence.

Karen is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the National Committee on US-China Relations, and the Economics Club of New York.  She also serves on the Board of Pencils of Promise, a non-profit which partners with local communities in developing countries to build schools, focusing on early education, high potential females, and building young leadership at home and abroad.

Jonathan Hursh is the founder and executive producer of Utopia, a design and urban planning firm reimagining the future of slums in this century. Utopia is working with city and community leaders to redesign slums into next generation livable microcities. Prior to this he founded INCLUDED, a nonprofit organization that is building a network of one-stop-shop community centers in migrant slums in Asia.

Carrie Johnson is a Design professional with over twenty years of experience in design, development, management, and construction on a variety of projects, including mixed-use developments, high-end residential, retail, office and hospitality structures. Her interest and focus continues to be creating and executing design concepts that make an aesthetic and practical contribution to urban environments.

Dean Kamen is the founder and president of DEKA Research & Development Corporation.  Examples of technologies developed by DEKA include the HomeChoice™ portable dialysis machine, the iBOT™ Mobility System, the Segway™ Human Transporter, a DARPA-funded robotic arm, a new and improved Stirling engine, and the Slingshot water purifier. Kamen has received many awards for his efforts, including the National Medal of Technology in 2000 and the Lemelson-MIT Prize in 2002.  He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2005 and has been a member of the National Academy of Engineering since 1997.  Among Kamen’s proudest accomplishments is founding FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), an organization dedicated to motivating the next generation to understand, use and enjoy science and technology.

Ana Pinto da Silva serves as a Principal UX Design Lead for Amazon. Ana’s work synthesizes her interests in design, storytelling, architecture and emerging technologies with her deep passion for creative collaboration. Ana’s previous experience includes immersive technology envisioning, game development, architecture, and interactive media. She has lead design across a wide array of projects including healthcare, education, civics and workplace productivity. Ana is deeply committed to serving the creative community. She is the founder of the Seattle Pecha Kucha speaker series, one of the longest running PK city series in the world. She currently serves on the board of directors for 4Culture, as board Vice-President for Design In Public, and most recently has been an adviser to the Seattle Waterfront Design Oversight Committee.

At Google, David Radcliffe, VP of Real Estate and Workplace Services, leads the team responsible for creating amazing work environments that inspire and energize employees around the globe to be at their best every day. In addition to managing all aspects of Google’s vast real estate portfolio of offices in more than 150 cities spanning over 60 countries, his Real Estate & Workplace Services team designs, implements and manages Google’s innovative workplace programs that help promote employee health, happiness and productivity.  David earned an MBA with a concentration in Real Estate and Construction Management from the University of Denver and a Bachelor of Engineering from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.

An Austrian entrepreneur and consultant with deep knowledge of concrete and its applications, Wolfgang Rieder is owner of Rieder Group, “smart concrete” manufacturers. When he joined the 300-person family business in 2003, he decided to break new ground with concrete and intensified research on glassfiber reinforced concrete. “Concrete skin” is the result: a lightweight, stable, sustainable concrete facade panel able to withstand extreme weather conditions. Since then he has founded several companies that develop, manufacture, and distribute intelligent façade solutions worldwide. A high level of imagination and intuition as well as sensitivity towards social interconnections is the fuel that drives his excellence in innovativeness and problem-solving. His vision is to contribute to the energy revolution by means of intelligent building.

Randy Swearer is vice president of the Education Experiences group at Autodesk—a software company helping students and professionals “imagine, design, and create a better world.” The Education Experiences group works closely with universities around the globe to support innovative uses of Autodesk software.  Prior to his role at Autodesk, Mr. Swearer was Provost and Dean of the Faculty at Philadelphia University, Dean of Parsons School of Design, and co-founder of the Design Division at the University of Texas at Austin. He also served as Deputy Director of the Design Program at the National Endowment for the Arts.

Harry West is the CEO of frog. He lives design and innovation. Working with P&G he helped create Swiffer, with Tetra Pak DreamCap and with BBVA Customer Centric Banking. From consumer packaged goods to financial services he helps companies to see more clearly what people will want and how to transform their business to make that future real. He has led design and innovation at MIT, Continuum, Prophet and now frog, and has degrees from Cambridge University and MIT.