Your Virtual Welcome Guide 2021


The MDes Virtual Welcome introduces you to the people, spaces, and perspectives that will inform your experience in the MDes program. We hope these resources are exciting and inspire you to imagine the MDes program and its experience as you start the MDes program in the Fall of 2021.

Use this page as your guide for the MDes Admitted Student Virtual Visit Day & Welcome sessions on Friday, March 19, 2021. Prepare for your time with us by signing up for a Zoom account and downloading Zoom prior to joining the sessions.




Friday, March 19, 9 – 11 AM PDT / 12 – 2 AM (next day) China Standard Time
See video recording of the Virtual Visit Day session  and  program introduction slide deck


Our day begins with a welcome and introductions from MDes program leadership, Eric Paulos, Kyle Steinfeld, Gwynne Keathley and the MDes faculty.

MDes Faculty participants (bios at bottom of the page):

  • Luisa Caldas, Professor, Architecture
  • Kosa Goucher-Lambert, Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering
  • Bjoern Hartmann, Associate Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
  • Adam Hutz, Lecturer; Design Specialist
  • Eric Paulos, Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
  • Vivek Rao, Lecturer and Professional Faculty, Design and Innovation
  • Kyle Steinfeld, Associate Professor, Architecture
  • Hannah Stuart, Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering


Current instructors share insights from the MDes Studio and report on the exciting activities and outcomes from their courses this far in the spring semester. 


Select faculty share information about their own teaching and research.


We look forward to giving you all the opportunity to introduce yourselves and share where you are from or live, what you studied or do professionally, and what excites you about the Berkeley MDes!


You have the opportunity to connect with Joey Gottbrath, the Jacob Institute’s Technical Lab Director, and the Jacobs Hall Design Specialist team. Zooming live from the makerspaces, they will each tell you more about the Jacobs Institute’s resources and how you can make the most of your time at Jacobs Hall, one of our MDes homes.

Jacobs Institute Staff participants:

  • Joey Gottbrath , Technical Lab Director
  • Cody Glen, Design Specialist
  • Gary Gin, Design Specialist
  • Adam Hutz, Lecturer; Design Specialist
  • Nicole Panditi, Design Technician
  • Chris Parsall, Design Specialist


Join Eric, Kyle, Gwynne for a round-table discussion of frequently asked questions. We will be taking questions live.

Please use this link to find many answers on our Admitted Students FAQ page.


Friday, March 19, 5:00 – 6:30 PM PDT / 8:00 – 9:30 AM (next day) China Standard Time


We will begin the Welcome Forum with a brief introduction from the MDes program leadership, Eric Paulos, Kyle Steinfeld, and Gwynne Keathley. This session will be a condensed recap from the Virtual Visit Day event, which will be video archived should you not be able to join us.


As a Berkeley MDes student, you will be part of the program and the design community at UC Berkeley. We would like to introduce you to 8 MDes students who have generously agreed to share their perspective, work and experience so far as an MDes graduate student.

MDes Student Participants


We will end this session by allowing time for you to ask questions of our current MDes students. We will also highlight some of the most frequently asked questions.

Program Leadership & Faculty Profiles


Eric Paulos, Associate Professor, Electrical Engineering Computer Science
Eric Paulos is the Academic Director of the MDes and Chief Learning Officer for the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation. He is also the founder and director of the Hybrid Ecologies Lab, Director of the CITRIS Invention Lab, and faculty within the Berkeley Center for New Media (BCNM). His areas of expertise span a deep body of research territory in critical making, design research, urban computing, sustainability, social telepresence, robotics, physical computing, interaction design, persuasive technologies, and intimate media. Eric is teaching Designing Emerging Technologies, core courses in the MDes curriculum.
Kyle Steinfeld, Associate Professor, Architecture
Kyle Steinfeld is the Associate Director of the MDes. Through his unique hybrid practice of creative work, scholarly research, and software development, Kyle’s research seeks to reveal certain overlooked capacities of computational design; he finds no disharmony between the rational and whimsical, the analytical and uncanny, the lucid and bizarre. Kyle is co-teaching Debates in Design, core courses in the MDes curriculum.



Björn Hartman, Associate Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Björn Hartmann is the Faculty Director of the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation. His research in Human-Computer Interaction focuses on novel design, prototyping, and implementation tools for the era of post-personal computing. His group investigates how better software and hardware can facilitate the exploration of interactive devices that leverage novel form factors and technologies (e.g., sensors and actuators). Bjoern is co-teaching Debates in Design, core courses in the MDes curriculum. 
Vivek Rao, Lecturer and Professional Faculty, Design & Innovation
Vivek Rao has a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering and his research explores the nexus of design, emerging technologies, and complex systems. His work is currently focused on design-driven interventions to support cybersecurity in emerging technologies. Vivek teaches design-driven innovation courses and is passionate about human-centered and systems design and technology R&D to solve complex, systems-scale problems. Vivek is teaching Technology Design Foundations, a core course in the MDes curriculum.
Adam Hutz, Lecturer and Professional Faculty, Design & Innovation
Adam loves CAD/CAM, casting, laser-cut mechanisms, and design research. He also lectures for Jacobs Hall, and between his lecturer appointments post-graduation and his prior work as a GSI, Adam has taught seven courses in Jacobs: Discovering Design, Prototyping and Fabrication, Design Field Notes, Critical Practices, Technology Design Foundations, Designing Emerging Technologies, Critical Making, and Theory and Practice of Tangible User Interfaces. He has also co-founded at least one failed startup! Schedule time with him to talk about your product ideas, fabrication strategies, class projects, and what you definitely should NOT do when trying to get a product off the ground.
Kosa Goucher-Lambert, Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Kosa Goucher-Lambert is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and his research explores design theory, methodology, and automation: decision-making applied to engineering teams and individuals; ideation and creativity; analogical reasoning in design; preference modeling and design attribute optimization; design cognition; neuroimaging methods applied to design; sustainable design; new product development; crowdsourcing and collaboration. Kosa teaches courses on integrated product development, with an emphasis on complex socio-technical challenges. Specific courses include Green Product Development: Design for Sustainability & Human-Centered Design Methods.
Gwynne Keathley, MDes Executive Director
Prior to joining the MDes team at Jacobs Institute, Gwynne Keathley served as Vice Provost for Research and Graduate Studies at MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art) Baltimore where she provided leadership to its art and design graduate programs and research centers. She is thrilled to bring her experience in graduate education, interdisciplinary curricula and academic administration to the MDes and is passionate about design education that amplifies opportunities for students to lead and have impact “beyond themselves” in their communities and professional fields.


Luisa Caldas, Professor, Architecture
Luisa Caldas is Professor in the Department of Architecture and director of the Virtual and Augmented Reality Laboratory. After initially training as an architect, she received a MSc from the Bartlett Graduate School, UCL and a PhD in Architecture and Building Technology from MIT.
Caldas founded and directs the XR Lab – Virtual and Augmented Reality Laboratory in the Department of Architecture, and she offers graduate courses in VR/AR.


Hannah Stuart, Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Professor Stuart’s research interests include: Dexterous manipulation; Bioinspired design; Soft and multi-material mechanisms; Skin contact conditions; Tactile sensing and haptics.




Jacobs Makerspace Team


Joey Gottbrath, Technical Lab Director
Joey leads the technical team and is Jacobs Hall’s Technical Lab Director. Gottbrath has taught sculpture and digital design processes at Autodesk Pier 9, The Crucible, California College of the Arts, and Diablo Valley College. He specializes in creative space management and his furniture work involves contemporary interpretations of Queen Anne furniture.
Cody Glen, Design Specialist
Cody is a designer, fabricator, and roboticist whose work centers around surface rationalization and computational solutions for complex facade and enclosure problems. His interest is in computational design and digital fabrication and their roles within the greater discourse of design. Contact him about CNC fabrication, PCB fabrication, robotics, computation, optimization, and general design questions.



Chris Parell, Design Specialist
Chris brings broad experience in digital fabrication, from 3D modeling to laser-cutting. Contact him about high-end 3D printing or to hear about hacking shopbots to draw.



Gary Gin, Design Specialist
Gary focuses on electronics and robotics. Contact him regarding Jacobs Hall’s spaces and tools for electronics-based making or to hear about his BattleBots experiences.



Nicole Panditi, Design Specialist
Nicole is a design technician with a focus on 3D printing. She enjoys woodworking and permaculture.




Return to the MDes Admitted Student webpage.