Chief Electrical Engineer Deneen Lewis

Deneen Lewis

Electrical Engineer

Deneen Lewis has fond memories of her grandfather and his telescope from her childhood in Baltimore, Maryland. “He would gather the grandchildren and have us look through the telescope at various stars, specifically pointing out the Little and Big Dippers. I didn’t understand the significance of those times until I attended college. My grandfather loved astronomy and stressed the importance of education so I know he would be extremely proud of my accomplishments and work on the Hubble project.” She was also influenced by her stepdad, an electrician who piqued her interest in electrical engineering.

Chief Electrical Engineer Deneen Lewis
Electrical Engineer Deneen Lewis
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Bill Hrybyk

Deneen’s biggest supporter and encourager is her mom, who instilled in her the importance of self-confidence, professionalism, determination, and hard work. Her mom’s guidance led Deneen to enter the renowned Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, a high school focused on math, science, and engineering. She took classes in electrical engineering, wood/machine shop, and mechanical drawing, and came to realize that she wanted to become an electrical engineer. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Howard University in Washington, D.C., and her master’s degree from the University of Maryland University College.

Deneen started working on the Hubble project as an electrical engineer in her first job out of school. She has been involved in three of the servicing missions to repair and upgrade Hubble. During the final space shuttle visit to Hubble, Servicing Mission 4 in 2009, she developed the bulk of the “command plan,” the carefully ordered procedure for dealing with Hubble’s electrical power system. She helped develop the procedures and computer code to send the commands that controlled Hubble’s batteries, as well as the commands that turned on and off the relays that allow power to flow to the batteries and other electronics.

“I’m humbled, honored, and awe-struck to end up working on such a massive, important program,” she said.

Deneen’s major responsibility outside of work is being a supportive mom. She is active in her church, including the choir and the youth ministry, and serves as a Sunday school teacher and youth advisor for teenagers. She also tutors math.

One of her proudest achievements is the creation of a college scholarship. “It started out of my struggle to raise money for undergraduate school. For several years I had to alternate semesters between school and work in order to pay for school. Out of that struggle birthed the desire to give back and help somebody else. I want to encourage others to finish undergraduate school and not have money as a deterrent.”