Debra Schreckenghost

Senior Scientist

Debra Schreckenghost is a Senior Scientist at TRACLabs, Inc., and the Associate Team Lead of the Human Factors and Performance Team at the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI). She has led multiple projects in the areas of adjustable autonomy, software agents for the workplace, human interaction with robots and automation, and team performance for NASA, NSBRI, and the Department of Defense. While at McDonnell Douglas, Ms. Schreckenghost gained significant experience in high criticality operations as a NASA Space Shuttle flight controller for Guidance, Navigation, and Control. While at MITRE she was a key developer of NASA human-computer interaction design guidance for developing intelligent monitoring and control software.

Ms. Schreckenghost has extensive experience in technical design and management of automation software projects, including adjustable autonomy software for control of spacecraft systems, personal software agents to improve human interaction with automation, anytime summaries of robot performance, and procedure automation for spacecraft and robotic systems. She is lead systems engineer developing drilling automation software for an upstream oil and gas company.

Ms. Schreckenghost has conducted research in the areas of adjustable autonomy, human interaction with automation, and real-time performance assessment of robots and automation. She has been PI of twelve Phase I SBIR/STTR projects, six Phase II SBIR/STTR projects for NASA and DoD, and two Phase III SBIR/STTR projects. She has been awarded three NASA Research Announcement (NRA) grants, one to develop personal software agents for the workplace, and two NSBRI grants to assess human performance when using robots and automation. She has received the NASA Space Act Award as well as numerous NASA Achievement Awards and Letters of Commendation. She has been on the organizing committees for multiple workshops in the area of artificial intelligence and multi-agent systems and has over 80 technical publications.


  • 1980 B.S. Electrical Engineering, University of Houston, Houston TX
  • 1982 M.S. Electrical Engineering, Rice University, Houston TX


Schreckenghost, D., T. Milam, and T, Fong. Techniques and Tools for Summarizing Performance of Robots Operating Remotely. SpaceOps 2016. South Korea, May 2016.

Schreckenghost, D., D. Billman, and T. Milam. Effectiveness of Strategies for Partial Automation of Electronic Procedures during NASA HERA Analog Missions. International Joint Conferences on Artificial Intelligence, Proceedings of AI in Space Workshop July 2015. Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Schreckenghost, D., T. Milam, and T. Fong. A Perspective on Human-Robot Interaction for NASA’s Human Exploration Missions. AAAI Fall Symposium on Artificial Intelligence for Human-Robot Interaction. November 2014. Arlington, VA.

Billman, D., D. Schreckenghost, and M. Pardis. Assessment of Alternative Interfaces for Manual Commanding of Spacecraft Systems: Compatibility with Flexible Allocation Policies. Human Factors & Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting, Chicago. Oct 27-31, 2014.

Bualat, M., E. Pacis, D. Schreckenghost, and T. Fong. Results from Testing Crew-Controlled Surface Telerobotics on ISS. iSAIRAS 2014. Montreal, Canada. Jun 2014.

Schreckenghost, D., D. Billman, and T. Milam. Human performance with procedure automation to manage spacecraft systems. Proceedings of IEEE Aerospace 2014. Big Sky, MT. Mar 2014. 35th International Conference for Aerospace Experts, Academics, Military Personnel, and Industry Leaders. Big Sky, MT. March 1-8, 2014.

Murphy, Robin and Debra Schreckenghost. Survey of Metrics for Human-Robot Interaction. HRI 2013. Late Breaking Report.

Schreckenghost, D., T. Fong, and T. Milam. Measuring Performance in Real-time during Remote Human-Robot Operations with Adjustable Autonomy. IEEE Intelligent Systems. Sept./Oct. 2010.

LoPresti, Edmund, Richard C. Simpson, Ned Kirsch, Debra Schreckenghost, and Stephen Hayashi. Distributed cognitive aid with scheduling and interactive task guidance. Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development. 45(4). 2008.