Dr. Kerri Phillips is the Air & Missile Defense Sector Chief Scientist at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, where she serves as a senior leader influencing air and missile defense strategy and technology. 

Immediately prior, Dr. Phillips served as the Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance, and Targeting (ISR&T) Program Area Manager with a portfolio focused on developing, prototyping, and transitioning state-of-the-art capabilities to revolutionize ISR&T in the U.S. military. Dr. Phillips also served as the Program Manager of APL’s hypersonic systems portfolio, working closely with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to support rapid development and fielding of hypersonic systems.

Phillips specializes in advanced guidance algorithms for interceptors and gained extensive experience working with high-fidelity six degree-of-freedom (6DoF) simulations and developing/integrating guidance and flight control concepts. She drew from this experience as the developer and instructor of two aerospace courses in JHU’s Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Dr. Phillips was named a 2020 Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). In AIAA, she was the Missile Systems Technical Committee Chair and is currently the Region I Public Policy Deputy Director and an Ethics Committee member. Dr. Phillips is also a public speaker, outreach volunteer, and advocate for historically marginalized communities in STEM.

Phillips earned her PhD in aerospace engineering from West Virginia University (WVU), an MSE in systems engineering from Johns Hopkins University, a BS in aerospace engineering from WVU, and a BS in mechanical engineering from WVU. 

Education History

  • B.S. Aerospace Engineering, West Virginia University
  • B.S. Mechanical Engineering, West Virginia University
  • MSE Systems Engineering, Johns Hopkins University
  • Ph.D. Aerospace Engineering, West Virginia University

Work Experience

Principal Professional Staff, JHU Applied Physics Laboratory

Honors and Awards

  • Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Emerging Leader Award (2022)
  • Missile Defense Agency Engineering Team Award (2019)
  • Department of Defense Letter of Recognition to Program (2018)
  • TEDx Women Talk (2017)
  • Zonta International Amelia Earhart Doctoral Fellow (2010)
  • USA Today All-College Academic Team (2008)
  • The Order of Augusta – Top 8 Graduating Seniors from WVU (2008)
  • Barry M. Goldwater Scholar (2006)

Professional Organizations

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Society of Women Engineers