photo of lisa guerra

Lisa Guerra

Senior Technical Advisor, Office of the Administrator, NASA

B.S. ASE 1985, The University of Notre Dame
B.A. English 1985, The University of Notre Dame
M.S. ASE 1987, The University of Texas at Austin

Lisa Guerra currently works at NASA Headquarters as part of the senior leadership team in the Office of the Administrator. In this capacity since 2014, Guerra addresses a wide range of Agency issues, particularly around program management and evaluation, acquisition strategy and NASA’s operating model.

Guerra received dual degrees, a B.S. in aerospace engineering and a B.A. in English, as part of a special five-year program, from The University of Notre Dame. Guerra also received an M.S. in aerospace engineering at The University of Texas at Austin.

Guerra’s professional career began in 1987 with Eagle Engineering in Houston, TX developing conceptual designs of spacecraft for human missions to the Moon and Mars. She began supporting the NASA Johnson Space Center as an employee of SAIC in 1990, continuing efforts on exploration mission and systems design. Guerra joined NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC as a civil servant in 1994. In this position, she performed annual evaluations of flagship robotic missions and the International Space Station (ISS), as well as proposal assessments for Discovery and Explorer missions. In the late nineties, Guerra moved to Goddard as the program integration manager for high-energy astrophysics missions, particularly the James Webb Space Telescope. Accomplishments included mission trade studies, acquisition strategy development, international partner negotiations and establishment of a review board. 

Guerra returned to NASA Headquarters to manage the Decadal Planning Team, responsible for developing innovative concepts that merged human and robotic space exploration. She continued in the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate as the director of integration. Her responsibilities involved strategic planning, international cooperation, architecture analysis and control boards. Accomplishments included formulation of the Global Exploration Strategy and securing the RAD and MEDLI instruments on the Mars Science Lab mission. 

Guerra returned to UT in 2007 as a NASA IPA to establish a space-systems engineering curriculum in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics as a pilot for national dissemination through the Space Grant Consortia. Guerra also contributed to the NSF-sponsored UTeach Engineering program, developing a model high school engineering course. Guerra currently serves on the UT ASE/EM External Advisory Committee. She is the recipient of the 2018 Presidential Rank Award, NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal and NASA Exceptional Service Medal.

Guerra lives in Bethesda, Maryland with her husband, Randall Barnette (UT ASE/EM ’86). She has one daughter, Zoe, a sophomore and Div-1 foil fencer at the University of Notre Dame. She frequently volunteers with NASA education programs to encourage STEM careers for girls.