Data scientists, HHS cyber team and drone experts among ‘Sammies’ finalists

The Partnership for Public Service announced 27 nominees for its annual Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal awards Monday. Among the nominees were several federal employees for their technology, innovation and data science contributions to government. (Photo by Partnership for Public Service/Flickr.com)

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The Partnership for Public Service announced 27 nominees for its annual Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal awards Monday, counting among them federal cybersecurity professionals, data scientists and executives innovating the use of drone technology.

The “Sammies” — dubbed “the Oscars of government service” — recognize federal employees who have crafted impactful and innovative solutions to advance the mission of government.

“Amid the political headlines, it’s easy to overlook our nation’s career public servants who perform the essential day-to-day work of government,” Max Stier, Partnership for Public Service president and CEO, said in a statement. “That’s why the Service to America Medals are so important — they showcase the many remarkable men and women who assist their fellow Americans with passion to maintain the safety, health and prosperity of the nation.”

This year’s finalists included:

  • The Department of Health and Human Services’ Cyber Incident Response Team, led by Stephen C. Curren, was nominated for the Homeland Security and Law Enforcement Medal for its strategy to protect the nation’s health care networks during the 2017 WannaCry cyberattack.
  • Mark Bathrick and the Department of the Interior’s Office Aviation Services were nominated for the Homeland Security and Law Enforcement Medal for their use of more than 300 unmanned drones to help fight forest fires on public lands, conduct dam and pipeline inspections, search and rescue missions, and other uses.
  • FBI data scientist Guy Demeter was nominated for the Management Excellence Medal for his development of data management solutions to help streamline bureau analysis and threat detection.
  • Marcella Jacobs and the Department of Veterans Affairs Digital Services Team were nominated for the Management Excellence Medal for their efforts to make agency benefits and services more customer-focused with the development of Vets.gov.
  • Ariel Gold, data program manager for the Department of Transportation’s Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office, was nominated for the Management Excellence Medal for her efforts to promote federal, state and local data sharing to help advance technologies for self-driving cars and wireless communications of road conditions.
  • NASA’s Parimal Kopardekar and his team at the Ames Research Center were nominated for the Promising Innovations Medal for their work on designing a seminal air traffic management system for unmanned drones.
  • Margaret Honein of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention received a nomination for the Science and Environment Medal for her work to stand up a data team to track the spread of the Zika virus.
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellite research meteorologist Tim Schmit was nominated for the Science and Environment Medal for his work for developing satellite technology for detecting severe weather.

The winners will be announced Oct. 2 at the Partnership for Public Service’s annual awards dinner. For more information on this year’s nominees, visit the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals site.

-In this Story-

CDC, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of the Interior, Department of Veterans Affairs, digital services, FBI, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), NOAA, Partnership for Public Service, Sammies, WannaCry
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