Heather James teaches at Johns Hopkins University’s Whiting School of Engineering and has been a human systems engineer at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) since 2019. Prior to working at APL, James worked for the Department of Homeland Security in the human systems integration branch within the systems engineering division.

James completed her MS in human factors and systems at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Daytona Beach. She earned her undergraduate degree in sports and exercise science, with a specialization in human performance, from the University of Central Florida. Her expertise is human systems integration and the domains within and she is actively expanding her knowledge base into cyber security.

James has 10 years of combined experience of academic and non-academic instruction. She is a Taekwondo blackbelt, a pilot, and a mother. Prior to becoming a proud mother, Heather enjoyed competing in national taekwondo competitions, traveling the world, flying airplanes, and Disney World theme parks.

Education History

  • B.S. Sport and Exercise Physiology, University of Central Florida
  • MS Human Factor & Systems, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Work Experience

Adjunct Professor, Johns Hopkins University


ANSI/HFES 400-2021, Human Readiness Level Scale in the System Development Process
Editor: HFES 400 Committee
Year Published: 2021

In September 2021, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) formally approved a newly developed standard: ANSI/HFES 400-2021, Human Readiness Level Scale in the System Development Process. This standard defines the nine levels of the Human Readiness Level (HRL) scale and provides guidance for their application in the context of systems engineering and human systems integration processes. The HRL scale complements and supplements the existing Technology Readiness Level (TRL) scale in order to evaluate, track, and communicate the readiness of a technology or system for safe and effective human use.

Honors and Awards

  • DEI Honors (2015)

Professional Organizations