Kris Brown serves as Deputy Associate Administrator for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Engagement. In this position, she provides strategic direction and executive oversight of NASA’s STEM Engagement function and its programmatic portfolio of efforts devoted to creating unique learning opportunities for students, supporting educators and educational institutions. NASA’s STEM engagement investments are aimed at building a diverse future STEM workforce – the next generation of explorers. In her role, Kris leads an organization of over 150 people across NASA and a $147 million portfolio of investments.
Kris began her career at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center over 30 years ago as an engineer, devoting most of her career in the technical realm working on flight missions and as a leader in engineering. As a result, she brings unique perspectives as a STEM practitioner to her role, coupled with a strong commitment and passion for inspiring and engaging young people to pursue STEM education and careers.
Immediately prior to her current position, Kris led an agency team to define a new vision and direction for NASA’s scope of efforts in public and STEM engagement, creating the roadmap for NASA’s future work in this realm.
Previously, Kris served as NASA’s Office of Communications Director of Strategy and Integration, a key member of the leadership team orchestrating an overall program and organization encompassing 350 people. With a focus on strategic communications, Kris was the architect and leader of a comprehensive effort to transform the operating model for NASA communications, toward more effectively engaging people around the globe in NASA’s mission and work.
Earlier, as Deputy Chief of NASA Goddard’s Office of Communications, Kris was responsible for leading the organization responsible for the center’s communications and public engagement program.
Previously, Kris served as NASA Goddard’s Special Assistant for Strategy and Development. There, she led a diverse set of initiatives to enhance Goddard’s productivity, workforce, innovation, work environment and capacity to engage the public. In 2008, Kris led the development of Goddard’s strategic implementation plan, Blueprint for the Future, literally engaging hundreds of employees in the process. She also served as a co-author of NASA’s formal response to the Columbia Accident Investigation Board Report. In addition, Kris contributed to strategic efforts in education, public engagement, human capital, and information management.
Throughout her career in engineering, Kris led endeavors devoted to advancing the state-of-the-art in practice and capabilities. She served as Head of Systems Engineering Services and Advanced Concepts, leading the creation of the organization, charged with delivering systems engineering services and leading the conceptualization of future NASA missions, as well as developing and infusing enabling engineering processes, tools and capabilities. As Project Manager for NASA’s Integrated Mission Design Center, Kris led a team in creating a new collaborative design capability for spaceflight mission design, from its inception through development and operations. At the request of NASA’s Chief Engineer, Kris led the Advanced Engineering Environment program, dedicated to building NASA’s next generation of engineering capabilities and infrastructure. Earlier, she served as mission systems engineer and mechanical systems manager for several spaceflight missions. Prior to government service, Kris spent 6 years in the private sector.
Kris earned a B.S. in engineering from Virginia Tech. She is a graduate of NASA’s Project Management Development Emprise program. Kris was a Fellow in the Council for Excellence in Government, where her team was honored for creating the Kids In Science and Technology (KIST) initiative, dedicated to providing hands-on learning opportunities to kids.
Kris has been awarded NASA’s Medal for Outstanding Leadership, Goddard’s Outstanding Leadership Honor Award and NASA’s Medal for Exceptional Service.
Beyond work, Kris is actively engaged in the community and in the performing arts. She performs as a semi-professional classical singer and has served on several performing arts non-profit boards. She also volunteers in schools and serves as a leader in community organizations. Kris is the proud mother of two sons.