Dr. Hilliard is an Aerospace Systems Engineer and the Deputy for the Concept Design and Realization Branch at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.  She is the technical leader for over 200 staff members, who conceive, design and build a variety of electrical and mechanical innovations.  Prior to this role Dr. Hilliard was the lead for the premier early STEM career development opportunity at APL, the Discovery Program.  Here she hired and recruited scientists and engineers providing mentorship and leadership over their two year entry into the workforce.  While in this role she was also in the Space Sector an Acting Assistant Branch Supervisor Space Flight Systems Engineering. During her Space Flight Branch role, she led and continues to lead the Fabrication Readiness and Workflow Related Development (FRWRD) Project, which aims to enhance manufacturing capabilities at JHUAPL.

Previously, Dr. Hilliard held positions as a Technical Supervisory Manager for a Defense Systems Engineering team, as well as a number of Program Manager (PM) and Project (Pjm) Manager positions. Her responsibilities across her more than 28 year career as an Aerospace Systems Engineer have included technical analysis and systems engineering in support of existing and new capabilities for our US servicemen and women. Her impact has been seen in her roles developing the Technical Performance Metrics for Aegis BMD, the approach for performance evaluation for the Missile Defense Agency and her leadership guided APL’s contributions to several firsts in Navy missile defense capabilities.   

Before joining JHU/APL, Dr. Hilliard was an engineer within the NAVSEA Program Executive Offices (PEO).  Dr. Hilliard has also held engineering positions in space and business jet aircraft companies, while performing duties as a US Army reservist. She holds the following degrees:  B.S. in Aerospace Science Engineering, a M.S. in Information Technology and a PhD in Technology Management.  Her accolades include awards from Navy and Missile Defense Agencies and she was  BEYA 2012 Engineer of the Year Recipient and most recently she was a recipient of the 2022 Women of Color Technology All Stars Award and National Society of Women Engineers Advocacy in Engineering Award 2021.   She is a member of several professional societies; serves on several STEM organization boards and participates as a mentor to future and current engineers and scientists.

Education History

  • BS Aerospace Science Engineering, Tuskegee University
  • MS Information Technology Management, Capitol Technology University
  • PHD Technology, Capitol Technology University

Work Experience

Principal Professional Staff, JHU Applied Physics Laboratory


Hilliard, Danielle P “A Framework for Project Management in Technology Innovation” 2022.
Hilliard, Danielle P. “APL’s Discovery Program” https://www.jhuapl.edu/TechDigest/Detail?Journal=J&VolumeID=36&IssueID=3. 2022.
Hilliard, Danielle et all “Aegis BMD Performance Assessment Verification Plan for BMD International Conference” 2006
Hilliard, DP et all “Integrating TBMD into the Fleet ASNE Technical Symposium 1999: AEGIS Cruiser Conversion Newsletter B/L 7 Phase I plans for CCG” 1999
Hilliard, DP “Non-Destructive Evaluation of Hybrid Composite Materials” NSBE Emerging Technologies Journal, 1995.

Honors and Awards

  • Women of Color Technology All Star (2022)
  • Society of Women Engineers Advocacy in Engineering (2021)
  • Black Engineer of the Year Award (Community Service Promoting STEM) (2012)
  • Navy TBMD Team NDIA Award (2004)
  • Martin Marrietta Manned Space Award (1991)

Professional Organizations

Society of Women Engineers (SWE)
National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE)
Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Society of Manufacturing Engineers