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NIST 2016 Awards Recognize Staff for Outstanding Performance

GAITHERSBURG, Md.—The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) this week recognized more than 100 staff members for their service to the country. Among the honorees are researchers who have made advances in measurement science that will improve medical treatments, energy efficiency, safety, cybersecurity and more. NIST administrative staff honored in the ceremony include those responsible for innovations in systems and processes that will help to ensure NIST can accomplish its mission to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness.

Presiding over his final awards ceremony as Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director, Willie E. May said, “Our annual awards really showcase the incredible depth and breadth of NIST’s science and technology achievements. These award winners exemplify the dedication of our staff in meeting NIST’s important mission for the nation.”

The ceremony was held concurrently at NIST’s Gaithersburg, Maryland, and Boulder, Colorado, campuses. In addition to the NIST awards, staff members who received the Department of Commerce Gold and Silver awards were recognized.

Complete descriptions of each NIST staff member’s award-winning work can be found on the NIST website.

Bronze Medal Award for Superior Federal Service

Sixty-three individuals and one group received the Bronze Medal Award for Superior Federal Service—the highest honor presented by NIST. Since 1966, the award has been given for significant performance characterized by outstanding or significant contributions that have increased the efficiency and effectiveness of NIST.

Zeeshan Ahmed – “For developing an innovative program in silicon and fiber photonic sensors that is enabling new applications for traceable thermodynamic measurements.”

Brian Brass – “For advancing a positive safety culture at NIST based on a risk-based hazard review process that integrates safety into all of NIST's work.”

Stacy Bruss – “For creating the NIST Research Library Innovation Corner featuring the Emerging Tech Bar, a unique venue and opportunity to try the latest and most innovative technology.”

Akobuije Chijioke – “For developing the world’s first SI-traceable dynamic-force measurement facility for advanced manufacturing and biomedical applications.”

Colleen Hughes – “For creating a positive transformation of e-learning materials and NIST staff’s mindset related to occupational safety and health training.”

Mark Iadicola – “For advancing the state of the art in the rigorous use of digital image correlation for sheet-metal-forming limit-curve determination.”

Ralph Jimenez – “For pioneering innovative tools transforming the measurement, characterization and collection of biomolecules and cells for applications in industry, medicine and research.”

Manny Mejias – “For demonstrating exemplary leadership in the disposition of 255 legacy radioactive sources in a safe and regulatory-compliant manner.”

Stephanie Outcalt – “For leadership in development of novel instrumentation, standard practices for operation, measurement and uncertainty for vibrating tube densimetry.”

Terrence Udovic – “For the discovery of unparalleled superionic conduction in solid electrolyte materials suitable for rechargeable battery applications.”

Gary Zabow – “For demonstrating a novel all-magnetic alternative to medical imaging through developing a class of nanoscale radio-frequency probes for diagnostics and treatment.”

Matthew Boyd and Brian Dougherty – “For development of testbeds for monitoring photovoltaic (PV) system performance that are providing critical datasets to the solar energy industry.”

Piotr Domanski and W. Vance Payne – “For conducting the first study of the impact of installation faults on heat pump performance, providing an authoritative basis for improved practice.”

R. Joseph Kline and Daniel Sunday – “For the development of new X-ray measurements of the structure of self-assembling polymers for advanced lithography in the semiconductor industry.”

J’aime Maynard and Honeyeh Zube – “For leadership, development, and implementation of highly successful and robust Cooperative Research and Development Agreements for NIST.”

Aaron Forster, Stephanie Hooker and Michael Riley – “For the rapid deployment of a new capability to measure the mechanical properties of impact-mitigating materials for the Head Health Challenge III.”

Ala Bazyleva, Robert Chirico, Vladimir Diky and Joseph Magee – “For implementation of a data quality program to validate thermophysical property measurements prior to their publication in the technical literature.”

Jennifer Carney, Michael Kelley, Walter Miller Jr. and George Rhoderick – “For developing Standard Reference Materials with the unprecedented accuracy required for climate-science measurements of atmospheric greenhouse gases.”

Clayton Moorman, Glen Morris, Ryan Winpigler and Gary Young – “For demonstrating exceptional leadership and judgment in the performance of their duties at NIST on July 18, 2015.”

Anne Andrews, Jason Boehm, David Holbrook, James St. Pierre and Michael Fasolka – “For leadership, development, and implementation of the dramatically improved NIST Human Subjects Protection Program.”

Melody Berry, Joseph Boone, John Connor, Jonathan Hazen, Sherwin McAdam, Carl Spangler and Micah Walsh – “For architecting and deploying a secured Amazon Web Services environment in which NIST customers can directly develop and operate mission-specific solutions.”

Jason Averill, Marco Fernandez, Charles Hagwood, Erica Kuligowski, Richard Peacock, Paul Reneke and Michael Selepak – “For development, analysis, and dissemination of a building evacuation database to improve occupant safety during fire incidents.”

Beth Bly, Bill Fisher, Cheri Smith, Deana Ramsburg, Alex Folk, Jatin Patel, Jerome “Jay” Thompson, Kevin Conrad, Lynn Flanagan and Rob Densock – “For designing and constructing an innovative facility allowing stakeholders to collaborate and solve the nation’s pressing cybersecurity challenges.”

The Steam and Chilled Water Generation Plant Group – “For the sustained delivery of site utilities in support of NIST during significant construction upgrades to the Gaithersburg Plant operations.”

Eugene Casson Crittenden Award

The Crittenden Award, established in 1967, recognizes superior achievement by permanent employees who perform supporting services that have a significant impact on technical programs beyond their own offices.

Nune Atyan – “For outstanding Interlibrary Loan customer service in support of the research needs of NIST Gaithersburg staff.”

Alex Farrell – “For operation, maintenance, and sustained support of the Synchrotron Ultraviolet Radiation Facility (SURF III) as the primary national ultraviolet radiation standard for critical space programs.”

Michael Lewis – “For providing exceptional service to cryogenic flow calibration customers to support custody transfer of cryogenic fluids.”

Weston Utsler – “For technical service and exceptional attention to customer service.”

Erika White – “For outstanding management and continuous improvement of administrative programs within the Office of Acquisition and Agreements Management.”

Allen V. Astin Measurement Science Award

The Astin Award, first presented in 1984, is granted for outstanding achievement in the advancement of measurement science or in the delivery of measurement services.

Patrick Abbott, Eric Benck, Leon Chao, Zeina Kubarych, Edward Mulhern, David Newell, Stephen Schlamminger and Corey Stambaugh – “For establishing a mise en pratique to realize the redefined unit of mass and transfer mass measurements to working standards for dissemination.”

Judson C. French Award

The French award, first presented in 2000, is granted for significant improvement in products delivered directly to industry, including new or improved NIST calibration services, Standard Reference Materials and Standard Reference Databases.

Thomas Lipe – “For meeting the needs of the aerospace and defense communities by delivering a new generation of accurate and inexpensive ac voltage standards.”

Kevin Chesnutwood, Samuel Ho and Ricky Seifarth – “For restoration and recalibration of the NIST 4.45 meganewton (1 million pounds-force) force standard that serves as the world's largest primary force standard.”

Jamie Almeida, Kenneth Cole, Steven Choquette, Hua-Jun He and Steven Lund – “For development of the first-ever cancer-gene copy-number Standard Reference Material for diagnosing cancers: NIST SRM 2373.”

Jacob Rabinow Applied Research Award

The Rabinow Award, first presented in 1975, is granted for outstanding achievements in the practical application of the results of scientific engineering research.

Brian Dougherty, A. Hunter Fanney, William Healy, Lisa Ng, Joshua Kneifel, Farhad Omar, Dustin Poppendieck, Harrison Skye, Tania Ullah and W. Vance Payne – “For development of a unique experimental testbed to support the building industry's delivery of energy-efficient, comfortable, and healthy homes.”

Edward Bennett Rosa Award

The Rosa Award, established in 1964, is granted for outstanding achievement in or contributions to the development of meaningful and significant engineering, scientific or documentary standards either within NIST or in cooperation with other government agencies or private groups.

Allison Barnard Feeney, Yung-Tsun Tina Lee and Jennifer Marshall – “For outstanding contributions to the development of standards to design safer and more efficient patient compartments in automotive ambulances.”

William P. Slichter Award

The Slichter Award, first presented in 1992, is granted for outstanding achievements by NIST staff in building or strengthening ties between NIST and industry.

Denis Bergeron, Jeffrey Cessna, Lynne King, Leticia Pibida and Brian Zimmerman – “For partnering with industry to co-develop and disseminate SI-traceable nuclear medicine imaging phantoms, now being shipped with new PET scanners.”

Samuel Wesley Stratton Award

The Stratton Award, first presented in 1962, is granted for outstanding scientific or engineering achievements in support of NIST objectives.

Craig Brown – “For revealing molecular mechanisms that yield great improvements in gas-separation and catalytic processes in microporous materials.”

George A. Uriano Award

The Uriano Award, first presented in 1996, is granted for outstanding achievements by NIST staff in building or strengthening NIST extramural programs, with emphasis on fostering U.S. competitiveness and business excellence.

Mark Troppe – “For singular leadership of MEP's unprecedented efforts to improve competitiveness of small U.S. manufacturing enterprises through revitalized relationships with state economic development strategies.”

Xiaohong Gu – “For leading the deployment of new measurement-science tools to industry, for service-life prediction and product-failure reduction in the solar-energy market.”

Ronald Jones – “For the creation of nSoft, a new engagement model to enhance industry use of neutron measurements and participation in NIST programs.”

NIST Colleagues’ Choice Award

Established in 2006, the Colleagues’ Choice Award is granted to nonsupervisory employees who are recognized and nominated by their colleagues for having made significant contributions that broadly advance the NIST mission and strategic goals or broadly contribute to the overall health and effectiveness of NIST.

Amy Eckstine – “For outstanding administrative expertise and customer service in the area of retirement and benefits services to federal employees.”

Elif Karakas – “For providing exceptional customer focus and innovation in automating processes and managing secure data for online applications that serve both internal and external stakeholders and support NIST's mission.”

David Leibrandt – “For the development of open-source hardware and software designs for a state-of-the-art digital servo that is being rapidly adopted by researchers inside and outside of NIST.”

Steven Lund – “For enhancing the quality, rigor, and effectiveness of critical measurement programs across the biological and physical sciences at NIST.”

Director’s Award for Excellence in Administration

The Director’s Award was first presented in 2008 and is granted to recognize administrative professionals who have made significant contributions that broadly advance the NIST mission and strategic goals through excellence in administrative services and functions.

Karen Combs – “For relentlessly exceptional administrative service and mentoring in support of the NIST mission across multiple divisions and operating units.”

Dawn St. Hilaire – “For outstanding customer service and leadership in providing exemplary employee-relations support and advice to the NIST community.”

Equal Employment Opportunity/Diversity Award

The Equal Employment Opportunity/Diversity Award, first presented in 1977, is granted for exceptionally significant accomplishments and contributions to equal employment opportunity/diversity goals.

Joseph Magee – “For a lasting commitment to fostering research opportunities for a diverse pool of young scientists through the SHIP, SURF, and PREP programs.”

Geraldine Cheok, Katherine Hong, Hui-min Huang, Hannah Lee, Katherine Lee and Jun Li – “For exemplary stewardship in accomplishing, commemorating, and sharing a NIST-wide cultural experience through the Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month Program.”

Safety Award

The NIST Safety Award, first established in 1979, is granted to recognize NIST employees and organizations for substantial contributions to improving safety at NIST.

Daniel Gilmore – “For continuously being an exemplary and genuine leader and champion of the importance of the OFPM Safety Vision of ‘Everyone Home Safe Every Day.’”

T. Mitch Wallis – “For demonstrable leadership in instilling a culture of safety in the multi-user, multi-laboratory Precision Imaging Facility.”

U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Medal Award for Distinguished Service

First presented in 1949, the Gold Medal Award for Distinguished Service is the highest honor conferred upon a Commerce Department employee by the agency. It is bestowed for “distinguished performance characterized by extraordinary, notable or prestigious contributions that impact the mission of the Department of Commerce and/or one operating unit and which reflect favorably on the Department.” Awards are given in the following categories: leadership, personal and professional excellence, scientific/engineering achievement, organizational development, customer service, administrative/technical support, and heroism.

Scott Glancy and Sae Woo Nam – “For being the first in nearly 50 years of attempts to achieve a loophole-free test of Bell’s theorem, confirming the predictions of quantum mechanics. Nearly 20 NIST employees and associates from PML and ITL contributed to this achievement.”

Michael Boss, Kathryn Keenan, Stephen Russek and Karl Stupic – “For creating standards that transformed magnetic resonance imaging into a quantitative tool to diagnose and treat traumatic brain injury and cancer.”

U.S. Department of Commerce Silver Medal Award for Exceptional Service

The second highest honor awarded by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Silver Medal Award is bestowed for “exceptional performance characterized by noteworthy or superlative contributions that have a direct and lasting impact within the Department.” Awards are given in the following categories: leadership, personal and professional excellence, scientific/engineering achievement, organizational development, customer service, administrative/technical support and heroism. The award was initiated in 1949.

John Bollinger – “For superior sustained performance resulting in the award of over $125 million dollars in alternative-financed energy-savings performance contracts.”

Robert Keller – “For pioneering a revolutionary method that improves the spatial resolution of scanning electron microscope-based electron diffraction by more than an order of magnitude.”

Andrew Allen and Lyle Levine – “For establishing a revolutionary new technique for measuring materials microstructure and dynamics over multiple scales and under working conditions.”

Bryan Barnes and Richard Silver – “For pioneering advances in optics by imaging structures 30 times smaller than the wavelength of light with near atomic accuracy.”

Steven Brown and Keith Lykke (deceased) – “For delivering innovative measurement solutions urgently needed to characterize sensors on NOAA’s latest-generation polar-orbiting weather satellites.”

Luke Arbogast, Robert Brinson and John Marino – “For Nuclear Magnetic Resonance methods that determine the atomic structure of monoclonal antibody biopharmaceuticals with unprecedented resolution.”

David Butry, Stephen Cauffman, Erica Kuligowski and Therese McAllister – “For outstanding leadership in developing the Community Resilience Planning Guide, a planning process to help communities increase disaster resilience.”

Alexandra Curtin, Michael Francis, Joshua Gordon, Jeffrey Guerrieri and David Novotny – “For development of the world’s first 100 – 500 GHz antenna near-field scanning range with unprecedented positioning accuracy and geometry flexibility.”

Glenn Forney, Anthony Hamins, Randall McDermott, Kevin McGrattan, Richard Peacock, Blaza Toman and Craig Weinschenk – “For development of the Fire Dynamics Simulator fire model, an achievement in the practical application of science to fire-safe design of structures.”

Elaine Barker, Lawrence Bassham III, Shue-jen Chang, Lidong Chen, Quynh Dang, Morris Dworkin, Kohn Kelsey, Rene Peralta, Ray Perlner and Andrew Regenscheid – “For outstanding technical achievement in developing the SHA-3 Cryptographic Hash Function Standard through a five-year worldwide competition.”

As a non-regulatory agency of the Commerce Department, NIST promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life. To learn more about NIST, visit

Released December 15, 2016, Updated July 20, 2018