Ila Kumar

Research Assistant
  • Affective Computing

Ila is a research assistant and PhD student in the Affective Computing group at MIT Media Lab.  

As a researcher and community-based designer, Ila designs healing socio-digital interventions with and for youth who have experienced developmental trauma, with a particular emphasis on improving care for young adults who have experienced foster care. Her methodologies draw on therapeutic best practices, trauma-informed and healing centered frameworks, and collaborative design principles, centering the perspectives and experiences of young people who need the most support, prioritizing reciprocity and safety, and following an iterative prototyping process. Following these practices has led to Ila’s current focus, designing digital spaces for youth to express themselves and build resonance with others, bolstering them in forming new, supportive connections. 

Prior to joining Media Lab, Ila spent 3 years designing technology to improve well-being in non-profit, academic, and healthcare settings. Before this, she completed her BA in Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.