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.

The board visits Harvard typically twice during each academic year to advise on the direction and pedagogy of the MDE program. Members of the External Advisory Board also review and critique student projects and deliver public lectures.

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Paola Antonelli

Senior Curator, Architecture & Design
Director, Research & Development
The Museum of Modern Art

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.

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Sean Chiao

President of Asia Pacific

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 the University of South California’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.

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Andrew B. Cogan

Knoll, Inc.

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. After Harvard, he was selected to participate in the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. 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.

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Dana Cho

Partner, Managing Director
IDEO Palo Alto

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.


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Alberto De Gobbi

Founder and CEO
Fabbrica LLC

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. 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.

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.

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John R. Dowdle, Ph.D.

Vice President, Engineering
The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc.

Dr. Dowdle is the Vice President of Engineering at Draper. His primary responsibilities include maintaining world-class technical staff and engineering facilities, and developing technologies that advance Draper’s core capabilities. Prior to his current position, Dr. Dowdle held positions at Draper of increasing responsibility, including Director of Systems Engineering, Director of Hardware Development, and Chief Engineer.

Dr. Dowdle holds several patents regarding positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) technology and has authored numerous papers and technical reports on both the theory and application of guidance, navigation and control methods.  His prior work includes inertial navigation, GPS receiver design, INS/GPS integration, vehicle guidance law optimization, and a wide variety of control system designs with application to missile and space vehicles.

Karen HarrisKaren Harris

Managing Director of Macro Trends Group 
Bain & Company

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.

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Jonathan Hursh

Founder and Executive Producer

Jonathan 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.

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Carrie A. Johnson

Director, Design and Development
MArch '93

Carrie A. Johnson holds a Master in Architecture degree from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Architecture, from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

Carrie is a Design Professional with over twenty years of experience in design, development, construction management, and leadership on a variety of projects, including mixed-use developments and high-end residential, retail, office and hospitality structures. The primary focus of her career has been to create and execute design concepts that make an aesthetic and practical contribution to diverse urban environments and communities.

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Dean Kamen

President, DEKA Research & Development Corporation
Founder, FIRST

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

Ana Pinto da Silva

Principal UX Design Lead

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.

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David Radcliffe

VP of Real Estate and Workplace Services

At Google, David 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.

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Wolfgang Rieder

CEO & Founder
Rieder Group

Wolfgang Rieder studied business economics in Vienna with extensive focus on the re-emerging countries of Eastern Europe. After three years as a consultant and various positions in industry, he re-joined his family business. In 2004, he founded fibreC and works on worldwide façade projects spanning all genres of contemporary architecture. As a lateral thinker, he sees an obligation to make the world a better place through architecture and design. He regards currently disrupted value chains as a big opportunity. Contributing and giving back is deeply rooted in Wolfgang’s DNA, and as such, he sees engagement with leading design and architectural schools as part of his societal responsibility.

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Randy Swearer

VP Education Experiences

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, Randy 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.

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Harry West


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.