Ilka Balk has served as the Director of Cooperative Education and International Programs at the University of Kentucky's College of Engineering since 2007. Before that, she served as an adviser in the co-op program for one and a half years. Balk has been a member of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) since 2006, and she is currently serving as the Chair of ASEE's Cooperative and Experiential Education Division (CEED). She served as its secretary from 2010-2011, and as Chair-elect in 2011-2012. On campus at the University of Kentucky (UK), she is the Staff Advisor for the recently re-started Engineers Without Borders chapter, a group that plans, designs, and implements public service engineering projects, mostly in developing nations. In 2006, Balk also helped establish the German and Engineering program in the college, through which students can work, study, or conduct research in Germany. Under her direction, the College has established an exchange program with the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany. She is also leading a group of freshmen students on a five-week tour to Germany every summer. Before coming to Lexington in 2004, Balk served as a political consultant to candidates and campaigns in the Washington, D.C., area and for the European Election Campaign in Stuttgart, Germany. Balk is a native of northern Germany and graduated with a Master's in political science, history, and communications from the University of Göttingen, Germany. During her studies, she was an exchange student at the University of California, San Diego for one academic year.