MDE alumni take the skills, tools, and techniques developed during the program into a variety of fields, industries, and research institutions. Having discovered and developed subjects of passion during their time in the program, whether through core courses, electives, or both, graduates also continue working on design engineering projects. Others use newfound skills and interests as a pivot point in their careers.

Alumni Profiles

Zeerak AhmedZeerak Ahmed

Zeerak’s liberal arts education allowed him to make good on a childhood dream to build software while branching out into other interests, including politics, Islam and Near Eastern studies, and sociology. His work at Microsoft and various startups across the US and Pakistan has spanned search software, open data systems, educational games, music streaming, and health, among other domains. During the MDE program, he worked on methodologies for better design and use of technology in the public domain, attempting to understand technology’s social impacts, and to increase design understanding of the developing world. This resulted in Matnsaz, a project to develop Urdu keyboards and interface design guidelines.

Nicole BakkerNicole Bakker

Nicole is a structural engineer from the Netherlands whose book on the integration of photovoltaics in historical built environments led to government-funded research to provide visions and a framework for policy that is now implemented. For her final MDE project, she combined biology, engineering, and design to study bio-based building materials. Currently, she is a research assistant at the Community Biotechnology Initiative in the MIT Media Lab, and is continuing her education in the Master in Media Arts and Sciences at MIT.

Jeremy BurkeJeremy Burke

Jeremy’s interest in creating new products began with his studies at Cornell University. He studied how data can inform design languages, and traveled throughout Europe and South America, sketching the built environment. Upon graduating, he co-founded the design collective Hither Yon in Berlin, Germany, and exhibited the group’s collaborative digital and analogue drawings and installations. He has also worked for Kennedy Violich Architecture, BRU Architects, and Alon Development. His time in MDE focused on systems design to help cities and industry tackle complex problems through innovation and new technology, and he continues to work on projects developed during the program.


Ngoc DoanNgoc Doan

Ngoc is a designer who is happiest in creative environments. She is interested in sustainability, especially in the textile industry, and her final MDE project focused on fast fashion. Before the MDE program, Ngoc was a Design Fellow at the Yale Center for Engineering Innovation and Design, where she helped students design, develop, and actualize their ideas. 

Peter FanKun Fan

Kun Fan is an engineer who studied the mechanics of materials and structure, which gave him a solid foundation for future endeavors. He is interested in addressing problems in the context of various economic systems, and finds beauty and potential in computer code for making the impossible possible. During the MDE program, he focused on issues surrounding rapid urbanization and affordable housing in Chinese megacities, and he has since returned to China to continue working on these topics.

Ramon GrasRamon Gras

Ramon is a civil engineer and city planner whose early research focused on bridge design, high performance materials, and nanotechnology applications for structural engineering. After working as a designer on major infrastructure projects, Ramon joined Ferrovial’s Innovation office in London, where he led projects at the London Heathrow Airport and the London Underground. Ramon is interested in enhancing innovation around cities, technology, and infrastructure by designing creative and rigorous interdisciplinary solutions that address complex challenges. He continues to work on projects developed during the program.

Chao GuChao Gu

Chao Gu is a structure engineer with additional training in Tongji University’s Innovation and Venture program, and has working experience in architecture construction, project management, and building certification. His passion for optimizing the design process and automatic construction brought him to the MDE program, where he focused on addressing the demands of society’s rapid development. 

Brian HoBrian Ho

Brian is an interdisciplinary designer working at the intersection of society, technology, and the built environment.  He believes design creates joy, community, and justice; he loves cities, infrastructure and interfaces. Brian has collaborated on the development of software, buildings, and plans in Boston, SF, NYC, and NOLA, with a focus on design for the public realm. During his time in the MDE program, he explored how machine intelligence and urban systems can improve human experience. Brian hopes to build better intelligent and interactive systems across the physical and digital, and is now a designer at Sidewalk Labs.

Julie LoilandJulie Loiland

Julie Loiland is a bioengineer who, as an undergraduate, co-founded a company to develop novel solutions to prevent concussions in NFL, NCAA, and high school football. She has since worked as a program manager in research and development at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency in Washington, D.C. During the MDE program, she worked on innovative human-centered design solutions and products to enhance people’s daily lives and provide meaningful benefits to society as a whole, leading to emma. She now works at the United States Department of Defense.

Chien-Min LuChien-Min Lu

Chien-Min Lu has a background in mechanical engineering and product design, and interned as a mechanical engineer in Taiwan. He then worked as a product designer in both Taiwan and Italy. On the material side, he is interested in understanding resources and finding ways to make sure they are well used, well distributed, and well recycled and up-cycled. On the emotional side, he wants to explore how design can change people's lives on an emotional level, using the combination of beauty and technology, and for his final project, focused on educational tools for ASL.

Santiago MotaSantiago Mota

Santiago Mota is a designer, researcher, and consultant based in Mexico City. In 2012, he co-founded the CASA Research and Design Group at UNAM to engage real world issues regarding the contemporary city. He has also worked as a project manager for Soma Architects in New York, and as a project architect at DMP Arquitectura in Mexico City. He is interested in developing a new design-research practice by challenging widespread notions regarding energy, sustainability, and resiliency, and following the MDE program, received a Harvard Bloomberg City Leadership Initiative Fellowship.

Neeti NayakNeeti Nayak

Neeti Nayak is an engineer who interned with Bharat Dynamics Limited, and worked on an “Intruder Detection System” for a missile integration shelter. She has since worked as a systems engineer with BrahMos Aerospace, where she handles communication protocols, avionics systems, and systems engineering in general. She is particularly interested in intangible heritage (performing arts, language, etc.) and problems facing rural Indian communities, which led to work on a real-time analysis and alert system for stampede prevention in the Kumbha Mela. She continued with this theme for her final MDE project, which focused on homeworkers in India.

Michael RaspuzziMichael Raspuzzi

Michael Raspuzzi is Co-Founder of Culinairy Labs, a startup using algorithms to establish a smarter and more personalized future of food. As Design Lead for Boston Bay Innovation, Raspuzzi is re-branding Boston's innovation ecosystem, and as Design Instructor for both the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and the Harvard University John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, he focuses on applied learning and curriculum development at the intersection of design, engineering, and entrepreneurship. He received his Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University and an inaugural Master in Design Engineering from Harvard University—where his project EMMA: Maternal Healthcare Coach earned him the MDE 2018 Thesis Prize. With playful interdisciplinarity, Raspuzzi ultimately enjoys building collaborative organizations, initiatives, and communities to solve complex problems in the global food system.

Karen SuKaren Su

Karen Su has always been interested in design-oriented problem solving. In college, she studied computer science, visual art, and philosophy. For work, she has explored each stage of the software development lifecycle, from full-stack web development, to user experience design, to product management. These experiences converged in her most recent role as lead product designer at a San Francisco startup, and following the MDE program, she continues working at the convergence of creativity and technology in the Boston area.