Anna-Maria Rivas McGowan, Ph.D. Agency Senior Executive for Complex Systems Design NASA


Dr. Anna-Maria Rivas McGowan is the Agency Senior Executive for Complex Systems Design at NASA. She serves as a Senior Technical Advisor to the Agency exploring cutting-edge methodologies in research, design, development, and operations of complex systems including human, organizational, societal, and engineering challenges. Dr. McGowan’s research incorporates quantitative and qualitative methods to integrate fields external to aerospace with engineering approaches to improve aerospace system performance and broader societal impacts. She often uses human-centered design and design research approaches to address engineering systems design challenges and serves as an Associate Editor for the Design Science Journal

Dr. McGowan has over 30 years of experience in aerospace, conducting research and managing large projects in diverse areas including design science, advanced and morphing aircraft, adaptive structures and materials, systems engineering, aeroservoelasticity, and organization science. Dr. McGowan has served as a NASA Senior Advisor, Senior Project Manager, DARPA Agent, NSF Visiting Scientist, NATO Consultant, International Short Course Instructor, Flight Test Leader, Wind-Tunnel Test Engineer, Senior Researcher in engineering and behavioral science, and NASA Spokesperson.

Dr. McGowan has a B.S. in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from Purdue University, M.S. in Aerospace Engineering/Engineering Mechanics from Old Dominion University, and Ph.D. in Design Science from the University of Michigan. Dr. McGowan is an AIAA Associate Fellow and received the AIAA Sperry Award; and alumni awards from Purdue, Old Dominion, and Michigan. She has earned numerous NASA individual and group achievement awards, including the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal. In her spare time, Dr. McGowan is an outdoor enthusiast and traveler and enjoys serving in schools, diverse communities, and churches locally and internationally. Her personal travels often take her to Trinidad where her family and culture originate.