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Biography of Dr. Gena Humphrey Henderson

Dr. Gena Humphrey Henderson
Chief, Integration Branch
Systems Engineering and Integration Division
Engineering and Technology Directorate

Gena Humphrey Henderson, Ph.D., serves as chief of the Integration Branch of the Systems Engineering Division within the Engineering and Technology Directorate at NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The branch is responsible for developing and implementing integration strategies of systems engineering in launch vehicles, space technology, and space flight test programs and projects. Engineers provide expertise and leadership in highly-specialized teams to integrate plans and technical requirements for concept development, planning, scheduling, affordability and sustainability that span the life cycle across complex, multisystems to meet design and development.

Prior to this assignment, Henderson progressed through several leadership positions at Kennedy. She served as chief of the Engineering Management and Integrated Services Branch, program manager for the agency's Lessons Learned program, mechanical engineer in the Payloads Processing Directorate, quality engineer for the solid rocket booster element in the Space Shuttle Ground Processing Directorate, reliability engineer in the Safety and Mission Assurance Directorate, process engineer for the Independent Technical Authority Office, and human factors engineer for the Systems Management Office.

With over 20 years of experience in ground processing and launch of spaceflight systems, Henderson has served in a leadership capacity on numerous teams and received several awards, including an Exceptional Service Medal, and certificates of commendation, appreciation and group achievement.

In 1995, she was nominated as the Florida Space Coast's Outstanding Woman Engineer of the Year. In 1997, she was recognized as an Outstanding Young Woman of America. In 1998, she was awarded the James Webb Fellowship from the National Space Act, which afforded her the opportunity to take a sabbatical from work to complete a doctorate in industrial engineering. In July 2002, Henderson received national recognition with the Women of Color in Government and Defense Technology All-Star Award. In January 2006, she was invited to serve on the Reliability and Maintainability Symposium Management Committee, and in February 2008, she served as session chair for the Leading Edges Track at the Project Management Challenge 2008 Conference, NASA's premiere forum for discussion of current trends in program and project management. In May 2008, Henderson received a NASA Exceptional Service Medal for outstanding leadership in directing, planning, developing and managing implementation of the agency's Lessons Learned Process across all ten NASA centers.

Henderson graduated from Florida State University in 1989 with a Bachelor of Science in applied mathematics. In 1992, she graduated from Florida A&M University (FAMU) with a Master of Science in mechanical engineering and became the first student to receive a master's degree of any engineering discipline in the history of FAMU. In December 2000, she graduated from the University of Central Florida, earning her the distinction of being the first woman of color (African-American) to receive a Doctor of Philosophy in an engineering discipline from the university.

Her research includes the topics of computational fluid dynamics in three dimensional flow and hardware, software and human reliability and human factors. Her education was funded with several scholarships such as the Lockwood Brown scholarship, Naval Oceanographic Scholarship, FAMU Presidential Scholarship, NASA Langley Aerospace Researchers Summer Scholarship, Delores Auzenne Fellowship, and James Webb Fellowship. She is a talented public speaker and has authored several published articles. She also has developed many industrial engineering improvement practices that have been implemented at the Kennedy.

Henderson is a Florida native and resides in Sanford, Fla., with her husband Roderick and their three children: Zahir, Princess and Zuri.

January 2013

Biographies - Current Employees