Kara Wilke is an American mechanical engineer, former championship level Irish Dancer, and certified Irish Dance Instructor (T.C.R.G.) through the An Coimisiún le Rincí Gaelacha (CLRG). Some might say she lives in two “worlds” – one that involves metal properties, mechanics, and lots of math – and another that involves rhinestones, curly wigs, fancy dresses, and crazy fast feet!
Wilke received her BS in Mechanical Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 2009, graduating with cum laude honors. Throughout her college career, she was a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honors Society, Senior Design Project Leader, and has since acquired her Engineer in Training (E.I.T.) license and Six Sigma Green Belt Certification. Her work with designs, testing, systems, processes, manufacturing plants, and customers have allowed for packaging improvement and innovations in the field to take place leading to new designs and several million dollars of savings.
Wilke started Irish Dance at the age of 11 and continued to dance throughout college, advancing to the Open Championship level in competition. She has competed and placed at the national level, and at 17 began to assist in classes to help the younger dancers. After retiring from competition, she pursued her dream of becoming a Certified Irish Dance Teacher, TCRG (Teagascóir Choimisiúin le Rinci Gaelacha), all the while working as a Project Design Engineer.
|Wilke with one of her dancers, |
Caroline, at 2014 regionals.
|Wilke and her Mother at 2009 Nationals|
Wilke was named as our fifth Miss Next Century in 2015.