Executive Officer, Science Mission Directorate, NASA
Ellen (Cohen) Gertsen graduated from the Cornell University College of Arts and Sciences in 2002 with a degree in the Science of Earth Systems. She served as the President and House Manager for the Alpha Chi Sigma professional fraternity and was a member of the Lynah Faithful.
While at Cornell, Ellen's interest in space exploration was sparked by a course taught by Professor Steven Squyres, for whom she later worked. That interest became a career when Ellen joined the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 2003 as a policy analyst for the Science Mission Directorate. In 2013, Ellen moved to NASA's Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO) to manage several Agency-wide assessments of major flight project performance (projects above $250 million). In this role, she represents OCFO in several initiatives to improve performance reporting and increase Agency contractor oversight. Ellen has also worked in the United States Senate developing climate change legislation.
Ellen holds a Masters in Public Administration in Earth System Science, Policy, and Management from Columbia University and a Masters of Science in Systems Engineering from The George Washington University.
Ellen comes from a long line of proud Cornellians and currently lives in Washington, DC with her husband and son.