Design Faculty

Daria Kotys-Schwartz
Co-Director, DC Colorado
Undergraduate Programs

Dr. Kotys-Schwartz's education and professional background are rooted in manufacturing engineering. After working as an Advanced Manufacturing Engineer, she focused her research efforts on polymer processing. Dr. Kotys-Schwartz's current research endeavors center on engineering education, specifically on how students learn design in engineering. Her research aims to add to the body of knowledge in three research areas identified by the Engineering Education Research Colloquies: Engineering Learning Mechanisms Research, Engineering Diversity and Inclusiveness Research, and Engineering Learning Systems.

Mark Rentschler
Co-Director, DC Colorado
Graduate Programs

Dr. Rentschler joined the faculty at CU as an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering in 2008.  He is a Co-Director of DC Colorado, Co-founder and Director of the Graduate Design Program, and Principal Investigator of the Advanced Medical Technologies Laboratory here at CU.  His research is focused on medical device and surgical tool design, tissue mechanics characterization and dynamic contact modeling, and robotics and mechatronics.

Derek Reamon

Dr. Reamon is interested in engineering education and how to improve it.  His interests encompass everything from the foundations of educational theory, to the practical issues involved in curricular improvement, including the assessment techniques required to measure the effectiveness of new methods.  Specifically, Dr. Reamon is interested in exploring how hands-on labs with physical devices change a learning situation. He's also interested in mechatronics (computer-controlled machines) and robots, and is currently building a robot that can see, track and catch a baseball in flight.​

Greg Rieker

Dr. Rieker joined the Mechanical Engineering faculty in 2013. He is teaching Graduate Design and Advanced Product Design, as well as classes in the thermofluid sciences. He brings a diverse background to the CU design program, with scientific achievements in laser-based sensors for harsh environments stemming from his PhD work at Stanford and postdoc at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and entrepreneurial experience co-founding a company to build tabletop particle accelerators for medical applications. Greg's research lab at CU focuses on developing sensors to interrogate and control energy, atmospheric and industrial systems.

Shalom Ruben

Dr. Ruben joined the Mechanical Engineering Department at CU in 2012. Dr. Ruben is interested in control and system theory with a focus in design, modeling, and control of mechatronic systems. He is also interested in the application of convex optimization in mechatronics.  In terms of education, Dr. Ruben is especially interested in using robotics as a mechanism for technology education.  In particular, he is building a module, funded by the Engineering Excellence Fund here at the University of Colorado, to teach undergraduate students about brushless motor commutation and control with application to nano precision positing systems used in the semiconductor industry.  He also has a passion for educational outreach focused on K-12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).


Julie Steinbrenner

Dr. Steinbrenner joined the faculty in Mechanical Engineering at CU-Boulder in 2012. Her background is in energy systems and the design and analysis of experimental thermal-fluid systems. She has worked in laboratories in the US and Europe, studying phenomena ranging from solar-thermo-chemistry to fuel cells to phase-change printing technologies. In addition to mentoring students during their senior design projects, she teaches courses in fluids, heat transfer, and thermodynamics with a focus on developing the students’ conceptual understanding and problem-solving methodologies through active learning techniques.




Jack Zable

Dr. Zable joined the Mechanical Engineering Department at CU in 1997. In 2000, he founded and became the Director of I/UCPC (Industry/University Cooperative Projects Center), which is the present-day Design Center Colorado. Dr. Zable's research interests lie in 3 areas - Design of Medical Devices, Sports Equipment Engineering and Design, and Design Methods.

Daniel Knight
Program Assessment and Research Associate

Dr. Knight supports the center from a background in engineering education and applied psychology. Dr. Knight joined CU’s College of Engineering and Applied Science in 2001 after graduate school. He has been a part time associate of the Center since 2007, and became a full-time associate in August, 2013. Dr. Knight’s responsibilities include assessment and program evaluation of the Center’s hands-on design curriculum, educational research on Center curriculum and activities, as well as team facilitation for the Center’s on-going industry-sponsored teams. Dr. Knight also serves as an educational resource for other departments in the College as well.

Lab Coordinator

Greg Potts

Greg Potts supervises the machine shop at the Idea Forge space, and has been at CU since 2007. He brings an incredibly diverse background to DC Colorado drawing on his 30 years in the high tech industry. Greg has significant knowledge in various types of design and fabrication, coupled with a passion for the design and creation of anything mechanical. Greg works to support student project teams early in the design process through design reviews and team consultations, and continues this support through each stage of design, fabrication and assembly.


Mechanical Engineering

University of Colorado Boulder

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