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Erika´s Journey

Always with my feet in different ponds…

Never one to follow the straight and narrow, I've gone between the social sciences and engineering throughout my academic journey. Through psychology and anthropology, I found myself drawn to systems thinking. From industrial ecology to systems engineering, I naturally gravitated towards social systems. The interaction of engineered systems and social systems is a fascinating place to research. Technology emerges from society, and society interacts and is affected by technology - a socio-technical metabolism. 

Since finishing my PhD in Systems Engineering and Social Policy, I’ve been working as a systems engineer at an applied social science research institute: Ruralis – Institute for Rural and Regional Research, in Trondheim, Norway. Through a variety of research projects, I develop social and environmental policy simulators that bring together a variety of dynamic modeling types (e.g. system dynamics and agent-based) with machine learning. My research brings systems engineering to the social sciences and the social sciences to systems engineering. 

My professional family is the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE). I’ve been lucky to be part of such an amazing community, as it can be difficult to find acceptance working between fields – INCOSE is my tribe! INCOSE is an arena that fosters innovation in the social dimensions of systems engineering. I chair the Social Systems Working Group (SocWG), where we develop new ideas for bringing the social sciences into systems engineering. I am a strong advocate of women in STEM, and I lead the EMEA region (Europe, Middle East and Africa) for Empowering Women Leaders in Systems Engineering (EWLSE) at INCOSE.  

The purpose of my journey is to weave our understanding of society and technology together.

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