Dr. Rachel Dzombak

Current Position

Lecturer, UC Berkeley College of Engineering and

Haas School of Business

Research Scientist, Blum Center

for Developing Economies

Visiting Faculty, Plaksha Tech Leaders Fellowship


Ph.D. & M.S. (UC Berkeley)


Dr. Dzombak currently lives and works in Berkeley, CA. She works at University of California, Berkeley as a Researcher and a Lecturer across the business and engineering schools. People often refer to her as a connector and a translator - She loves bringing together people and concepts from seemingly disparate disciplines to tackle messy problems.

Dr. Dzombak’s work involves strategic design, research, teaching around innovation, creative problem solving, teaming, and sustainable development. The goal of her work is to promote multi-disciplinary approaches to problem framing and problem solving among students, companies, and citizens. She is passionate about co-creating context-driven and intentional designs to improve complex social systems.

Prior to moving to Berkeley, She founded a social enterprise in Kenya called Mashavu. In her work, she uses design and systems thinking to take on challenges such as transforming higher education in the US, establishing preventative medicine in rural Kenya, and creating a sustainable product recovery system in the U.S. 

She helped envision, edit, and publish a career book titled, “Solving Problems that Matter (and Getting Paid for it!)” that she is incredibly passionate about. 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 do so. SPTM has been written about by Engineering For Change, NextBillion.net, KEEN, and Devex.

Research Interests:

Her research focuses on innovation teams, design and entrepreneurship education, and technology adoption and she teaches project-based classes about addressing systems challenges.