Ilka Balk, Director of Engineering Career Services and International Programs
Ilka was named Director of Engineering Career Services in the fall of 2013. Engineering Career Services comprises the Cooperative Education Program, study and work abroad advising, career preparation services and helping students transition from college to professional life. Ilka has been involved in the Coop program as well as international programs in the College of Engineering since January 2006.
Ilka is a member of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), and has served as the secretary, chair elect, chair and past chair of its Cooperative and Experiential Education Division. She also is the staff advisor for UK’s Engineers Without Borders Chapter.
Before coming to Lexington in 2004, Ilka worked as a political consultant to candidates and campaigns in the Washington, D.C. area and for the European Election Campaign in Stuttgart, Germany.
Ilka is a native of northern Germany, and graduated with a master’s degree in political science, history and communications from the University of Göttingen, Germany.
Email Ilka Balk or call 859-257-4178
Melanie Barber, Assistant Director of Engineering Career Services
Melanie was named Assistant Director of Engineering Career Services in the spring of 2014. Melanie came to the College of Engineering from the UK’s James W. Stuckert Career Center, where she served as liaison to the Colleges of Education and Social work, supervised the Career Center Ambassador program and assisted with the planning and implementation of career events and programs. Melanie is able to assist students in all phases of the career planning process. Additionally, she creates and conducts workshops for students, such as “Job Search Strategies for 2014,” “How to Establish Your Professional Network,” and “Effective Interviewing.”
Melanie recently finished a two-year term as Secretary and is now Treasurer of the Kentucky Career Development Association (KCDA), is a member of the Kentucky Counseling Association (KCA), Lexington Young Professionals Association (LYPA) and the University of Kentucky Alumni Association. She serves as a Professional Ambassador for Women Leading Kentucky and is completing her provisional year membership for the Junior League of Lexington.
A Lexington native, Melanie earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in family studies from the University of Kentucky. She then worked at UK’s Center for Drug and Alcohol Research while completing a master’s degree in mental health counseling from Eastern Kentucky University.
Email Melanie Barber or call 859-218-1685
Karen Phillips, Staff Engineer of Engineering Career Services
Karen joined Engineering Career Services in September 2013 and she supports students with the entire job search process – from resume development to interviewing tips to negotiating job offers.
Karen has a bachelor of science in metallurgical engineering and a master of science in materials science engineering from the Colorado School of Mines. Additionally, she recently completed a teacher licensure program in secondary science education at Regis University.
Karen has 25 years of experience in materials engineering, including program management, quality engineering (six-sigma green belt), process engineering and materials characterization. Her engineering experience encompasses consumer electronics, environmental services (including EPA RCRA regulations), defense, nano-materials and electronic packaging. Karen’s education experience has included teaching geophysical science and chemistry, as well as facilitating resume writing and interview skills workshops in the Bluegrass Area Development District.
Email Karen Phillips or call 859-257-9147
Marsha Phillips, Engineering Cooperative Education Advisor
Marsha has been working in co-op since 1994 as an academic & co-op advisor. Her mission is to provide students with at least 12 months of work experience while they continue to make progress towards an academic degree in engineering. Through co-operative education, students get a glimpse of “real life” as an engineer” while obtaining transferable skills, such as communication, leadership, presentation, teamwork and social skills.
Prior to working in Cooperative Education, Marsha worked in engineering continuing education as a conference coordinator. She has been with the College of Engineering since August of 1983.
Marsha received both her BA & MA degrees in Sociology from Eastern Kentucky University.
Email Marsha Phillips or call 859-257-8863