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Protecting You from Landslides, Mosquito-borne Viruses and Nuclear Waste: Government Workers on the Forefront of Science and Leadership Win Arthur S. Flemming Awards

Civilian and Military Government Personnel Recognized by GW for Exceptional Contributions to Public Service
April 18, 2017
MEDIA CONTACTS:
Jason Shevrin: jshevrin@gwu.edu, 202-994-5631
Tim Pierce: tpie@gwu.edu, 202-994-5647
 
WASHINGTON (April 18, 2017)—There are myriad threats in the world, and the winners of this year’s Arthur S. Flemming Awards are working on new and novel ways to protect the public. Whether confronting nuclear waste that could be turned into weapons, landslides only visible from outer space or algae making drinking water unsafe, these government employees are finding innovative ways to protect Americans and the rest of the world. 
 
The 68th annual Arthur S. Flemming Awards honor these and many other accomplishments of 10 such federal employees (listed in detail below) from agencies across the federal government. The awards are presented by the Arthur S. Flemming Commission and the George Washington University Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration, in cooperation with the National Academy of Public Administration.
 
“This year marks the 20th year GW’s Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration has sponsored the Arthur S. Flemming Awards. There are 10 outstanding federal government employees who will be honored, bringing the total number of honorees during the award's 68-year history to 670,” said Peter Williams, president of the Flemming Awards Commission. “The Arthur S. Flemming Award is the second-oldest award recognizing excellence in achievement by federal employees, and Flemming alumni include many who continued their government careers to even greater achievements and fame after receiving the award.”
 
Established by the Downtown Jaycees in 1948, the Flemming Awards honor outstanding federal employees with three to 15 years of federal service for their exceptional contributions to the federal government. Recipients are nominated by their federal agencies and then selected from a pool of nominees through a competitive judging process. Awardees are selected based on their work performance and factors such as leadership, contributions to society and potential for continued excellence.
 
“I continue to be extremely proud of our affiliation with these prestigious awards,” said Kathryn Newcomer, director of the Trachtenberg School. “The Flemming Award winners are tremendous role models for our students.”
 
The award is named after quintessential public servant Arthur S. Flemming, who served in government for more than six decades spanning seven administrations and including service as the secretary of health, education and welfare under President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Flemming was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton in 1994 and passed away two years later. 
 
“Federal Management Systems, Inc., once again is honored to be a major sponsor for the Arthur S. Fleming Awards program,” said Aubrey A. Stephenson, president of the government services company. “We convey our admiration and congratulations to the honorees for upholding the ideals of the founder by their demonstrated leadership and excellence in government service. We join the Trachtenberg School and GW in celebrating these worthy scholars and trail blazers.”
 
A ceremony honoring the award winners will take place May 24 at GW.
 
This year’s award recipients, organized by award category, include:
 
Applied Science and Engineering
 
Timothy J. Davis, 18th Aerospace Medicine Squadron, U.S. Air Force
Maj. Davis researched the unique feeding practices of disease-carrying mosquitoes and applied this science to disease detection and mitigating the risk of infection. He paved the way for improved disease surveillance and prevention. Maj. Davis conducted over 15,000 tests for this improved detection technology and to support a multimillion-dollar Japanese Encephalitis vaccination policy. He also applied his biosurveillance initiatives to better characterize the spread of Zika, dengue and chikungunya viruses in the Pacific region, resulting in the protection of nine U.S. military bases and over 60,000 Department of Defense personnel. His technology will be used throughout the Air Force as a disease detection and early warning system. 
 
S. Tina Ghosh, Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Dr. Ghosh is a world-renowned nuclear power plant safety engineer. She helped protect the public from potential accidents involving nuclear power plants and repositories for high-level radioactive waste. Dr. Ghosh assessed the potential need for filtered vents for nuclear reactor containments following the accident at the Fukushima-Daiichi plants in Japan in 2011. She is NRC’s expert for analyses on severe accidents. She identified critical insights about severe accidents to mitigate them and ensure the U.S.’s operating nuclear power plants have safety systems and procedures to protect the public.
 
Dalia B. Kirschbaum, Global Precipitation Measurement Mission and Earth Sciences Division, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Dr. Kirschbaum works on evaluating rainfall-triggered landslides around the world. She applied satellite-based surface and rainfall information within landslide hazard models to support situational awareness of these hazards in near real time. This technique has been used for disaster response by countries around the world as well as groups such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the World Bank, the Pacific Disaster Center and others.
 
Blake Schaeffer, Environmental Protection Agency
Dr. Schaeffer led a multiagency partnership to create the Cyanobacteria Assessment Network, which uses satellite data to gain insight into harmful algal blooms to inform public health and environmental decisions. He also developed an app to spread this satellite information on whether bodies of water are safe for drinking and recreation
 
Basic Science
 
Paul M. Alsing, Air Force Research Laboratory, U.S, Air Force
Dr. Alsing leads cutting-edge research and development in quantum information science and computation. His leadership of the Air Force’s quantum information sciences group catapulted the Air Force Research Laboratory’s creditability and recognition. His groundbreaking research in relativistic quantum information theory will provide evidence of how entangled photon interactions can be developed into future Air Force quantum computer systems, leading the way for the next generation of cutting edge computers. 
 
Marcus T. Cicerone, National Institute of Standards and Technology
Dr. Cicerone has made key contributions to the fields of label-free chemical imaging and biological therapeutics. His work allows the associated technologies to be used in practical applications including label-free chemical mapping of diseased tissues with unprecedented speed and a bench-top fluorescence method for rapidly evaluating freeze-dried formulations.
 
Michael H. Cosh, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Dr. Cosh is known for his work on satellite remote sensing of soil moisture calibration and validation. He is a major contributor to NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive Mission and European Space Agency’s Soil Moisture Ocean Salinity mission. His research led to a dataset for the verification of an essential climate variable. The application of this research includes improved weather and climate modeling and forecasting, basin-scale water accounting and improved monitoring and sustainability of agricultural water use in regions lacking water security.
 
Leadership and Management
 
Sarah L. Dickerson, National Nuclear Security Administration’s Office of Nuclear Material Removals, U.S. Department of Energy
Under Ms. Dickerson’s leadership, the Department of Energy led an international effort to permanently reduce the threat of nuclear weapons materials by removing or disposing of more than 6,000 kilograms of weapons-usable nuclear material around the world – enough for more than 240 weapons. In 2016, Ms. Dickerson’s efforts resulted in the single largest removal campaign, with more than 500 kilograms of highly enriched uranium and plutonium being removed from Japan to the U.S.
 
Michael J. Kanaan, 51st Intelligence Squadron, U.S. Air Force
Capt. Kanaan led his team to implement the first-ever intelligence picture to visualize millions of previously undiscoverable data points from unmanned aerial surveillance platforms, provide analysts with open-source data streams and help advance the director of national intelligence’s vision of analysis for all levels of government. His leadership, initiative and determination resulted in condensing 170 daily research actions to 25, reducing 1.5 hours of daily target development to five minutes, consolidating 24 research programs to three and skyrocketing the intelligence community’s adoption of cloud-based architecture by 40 percent. Capt. Kanaan is also the Air Force’s mission manager for a national campaign in support of targeting the Islamic State.
 
Social Science, Clinical Trials and Translational Research
 
Susan A. Sabatino, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control’s Epidemiology and Applied Research Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Dr. Sabatino performs systematic literature reviews for the Community Preventative Services Task Force and conducts public health research on quality of cancer care, including a wide range of cancers and topics such as screening, treatment and survivorship.
 
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