Innovation, collaboration and high achievement are hallmarks of Smithsonian staff

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For the fifth year in a row, the Smithsonian was ranked as one of the best places to work in the federal government by the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service.

Secretary’s Awards

Dr. Douglas Owsley, division head of Physical Anthropology at the Natural History Museum, is the 14th recipient of the Smithsonian Distinguished Scholar Award.

Dr. Pamela Henson, director of the Institutional History Division at the Smithsonian, and Evelyn Lieberman, director of the Office of Communications and External Affairs, were awarded the Secretary’s Gold Medal for Exceptional Service in December.

The sixth annual Secretary’s Awards for Excellence recognized special achievements in collaboration, innovation, spirit and contributions to the digital enterprise. The 2014 winners are:

    • Innovative Spirit Award—Pamela Baker-Masson, associate director of Communications at the National Zoo, for her innovative approach to communications about giant panda conservation.
    • Spirit of the Smithsonian Award—Philip LoPiccolo, Congressional liaison in the Office of Government Relations, for his positive attitude and enthusiasm
    • Collaborative Spirit Award—Raise it Up! Team led by Amy Bartow-Melia, the associate director for the Office of Programs and Strategic Initiatives at the American History Museum. The team included staff from 14 units across the Smithsonian.
    • Collaborative Spirit Award—Project Search Team, East Mall Zone. The Office of Facilities Management and Reliability Team, whose members include Taleath Ghee, Nathan Gilham, Patrick Grayson, Kimberly Holliday, John Kerns, Scott Lyon, Tarlisaer Randolph and Denise Upson. They piloted the first group of interns in Project Search, a one-year school-to-work program to help young adults with disabilities make the transition into the workplace.
    • Digital Enterprise Award—Rapid Capture Pilot Team led by Ken Rahaim, Digitization Program Office. The team includes Joyce Connolly (Smithsonian Gardens), Laura Coyle (National Museum of African American History and Culture), Jennifer Jones (National Museum of American History), Patricia Poole (National Museum of Natural History), Wendy Rogers (Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum) and Jeffrey Smith (Freer Gallery of Art).

Office of the General Counsel

Judith Leonard, General Counsel of the Smithsonian, and Jeffrey Minear, Counselor to the Smithsonian Chancellor, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., were elected to membership in the American Law Institute.

Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

Dr. Giovanni Fazio of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory has been awarded
the 2015 Henry Norris Russell Lectureship of the American Astronomical Society for his
pioneering work on gamma-ray and infrared instrumentation, including the Infrared Array
Camera on the Spitzer Space Telescope.

Anacostia Community Museum

The Anacostia Community Museum became the second Smithsonian museum to receive LEED certification for existing buildings, receiving a LEED EB Silver certification in February.

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

The Charles McC. Mathias Laboratory at the Smithsonian Environmental Research
Center won high honors in R&D Magazine’s “Laboratory of the Year” awards.

Groundbreaking Institution Award

The Smithsonian Latino Center, the National Museum of American History, and the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage received the Groundbreaking Institution Award from the City University of New York’s Dominican Studies Institute for their work to document the contributions of the Dominican people to the United States.

National Museum of the American Indian

Kevin Gover, director of the National Museum of the American Indian, has been awarded the Native American Bar Association of D.C. award for Lifetime Achievement in Indian Law. He also was named “Indian of the Year” by the National Congress of American Indians.

Smithsonian Folkways

The Library of Congress has announced the latest 25 inductees into the National Recording Registry. Among them is the 1997 Smithsonian Folkways Recording Old Regular Baptists: Lined-Out Hymnody from Southeastern Kentucky by the Indian Bottom Association from Southeastern Kentucky. This is the seventh recording in the Smithsonian Folkways collection named to the registry, and the first that was originally-released by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings (the other six were released by Folkways Records before it became part of the Smithsonian).


Posted: 30 March 2015
About the Author:

Alex di Giovanni has been editing The Torch since August 2006. Prior to joining the Smithsonian, she worked as a writer and editor for the National Geographic Society, Plexus Scientific, The Nature Conservancy, The National Foreign Language Center and St. Martin’s Press, among others. She has the best job in the world.