Dr. Rachel Dzombak is a design strategist, researcher, and educator. She is a connector and a translator, bringing together diverse people and concepts to tackle complex problems. Rachel currently is a Technical Director and Head of Digital Transformation at Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute. In this role, Dzombak works with governmental organizations to realize the capability of artificial intelligence (AI) for mission outcomes. Additionally, Dzombak helps lead efforts around the growth of the AI engineering discipline, a field focused on developing tools, systems, and processes to enable the application of AI in real-world contexts. She also holds an Adjunct Faculty appointment within CMU’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute.
Before Becoming a Professor
Prior to joining CMU, Dzombak was an Innovation Fellow at UC Berkeley’s Blum Center for Developing Economies, an interdisciplinary center focused on issues of poverty and global development. At the Blum Center, Rachel led the creation of an executive education program for the Dept. of Defense as well as a new professional Master’s program in Development Engineering - with the goal of catalyzing engineers to work on the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Rachel holds her PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering from UC Berkeley. She has published on design and systems thinking approaches, strategies for achieving circular economy, and creating inclusive engineering education programs. Rachel helped envision, edit, and publish a career book titled, “Solving Problems that Matter (and Getting Paid for it!)”. The goal of the book is to demystify how to build a career around passion and meaning -- so that people who want to change the world can find ways to make it happen.
Before she was at Berkeley, Rachel co-founded a preventative medicine company which operates in Nyeri, Kenya. Rachel also holds a BS from Penn State University in Bioengineering. Today, Rachel focuses on her work as the Technical Director and Head of Digital Transformation at Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute. She also works as an Adjunct Professor in Carnegie Mellon's Human-Computer Interaction Institute. Watch as Rachel hops into the Miroverse with us to explain different skillsets like Concept Mapping and Abstraction Ladders.
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