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Award Winners

Christian Johnson
Engineer, Energy and Environment Directorate

Christian Johnson
Christian Johnson

Chris single-handedly inspired 31 volunteers (largely Battelle staff members) to contribute 163 hours a month to coach, tutor, and support math-related opportunities for students last year. With a vision that PNNL staff expertise could be shared with the community to increase student success in mathematics, Chris started the Team Battelle “Math Mentors/Coaches” (TBMMC) project in 2009.

At that time ~40 students participated in local math competitions; by 2015 that number had climbed to ~700. In all, approximately 2,600 local students have benefited from Chris’s leadership of TBMMC efforts since 2009. Chris even persuades high school students to serve as role models and math team supporters for younger students. This sends a powerful message that it is fun and OK to be good at math! One of the impacts of Chris’s leadership role in Team Battelle Math Mentors/Coaches project is that almost all Richland and a number of Kennewick elementary and middle schools have math clubs. Importantly this affects not only schools enriched with gifted children, but also other schools where kids have fewer opportunities to learn and challenge themselves with math. Another impact is that we now have regular local math competitions to keep students challenged and excited.

Furthermore, PNNL staff have been encouraged to give talks on advanced, entertaining, and beautiful math topics (e.g. Frobenius COIN or Monty Hall problems) to middle and high school students. Students who need additional help with their math curriculum material or understanding an advanced math topic can find a tutor through the TBMMC network. He is actively sought out for his expertise by local school district leaders and was recently invited to present at the 2015 Eastern Washington Educational Conference. He also supports efforts related to PNNL’s Office of STEM Education, such as Delta High School and the Mid-Columbia STEM Education Collaboratory.

Elizabeth Stephens
Materials Scientist & Engineer, Energy and Environment Directorate

Elizabeth Stephens
Elizabeth Stephens

Elizabeth goes above and beyond to advance PNNL’s efforts to offer STEM opportunities for young people. Liz has a special place in her heart for students from groups traditionally under-represented in STEM fields. She feels being a role model for younger students is a must–not an option–in order to build our communities and to diversify students pursuing STEM.

She has served as the Lab’s official liaison to YVTC MESA (Yakima Valley/Tri-Cities Mathematics, Engineering, Science Advancement) for several years, mobilizing a number of PNNL volunteers in the process. She successfully helped get community partners and educators trained to teach the “Arduino” programming component to MESA’s annual engineering design challenge for students.

In addition to supporting other Office of STEM partnerships with LASER (Leadership Assistance for Science Education Reform) and Delta High School, Liz has developed countless workshops about her field of research and pathways to careers in STEM fields that she shares with students and parents on evenings and weekends. As a key supporter of Mid-Columbia STEM Education Collaboratory projects, Liz invested in developing her computer science expertise and is now a designated leader of local and regional workshops, in addition to supporting efforts related to microscopy and materials science. 

Liz’s outreach efforts include learning beyond the classroom, college and university walls. Examples include: 1) hosting tours/visits; 2) giving presentations/demonstrations in venues such as classrooms, community forums, student career conferences, professional educator meetings, and student society events; 3) providing technical assistance/leadership for STEM academic competitions (e.g., MESA Day), and; 4) working on community projects promoting STEM education. She serves on the National Advisory Board for the NSF-funded National Resource Center for Materials Technology Education. And, most recently, she was invited to serve on a panel at OSU to address the role of research and diversity in the 21st century workforce alongside the president of The Ohio State University, the Vice-President for Education and STEM Learning at Battelle, and the Director of the NSF.

 61 members have received this award, which includes a $1,500 prize. Up to three awards are given each year. In addition, two special awards have been presented.

In 1996, the Laboratory provided a special 'Lifetime Achievement Award' to recognize the career contributions (particularly in the area of public understanding) to staff scientist Lee Rogers.

In 2000, Georganne O'Connor, a Communications Specialist and Editor, was recognized for her outstanding support to Pacific Northwest's Science and Engineering Education Programs (for outstanding educational materials she prepared for students and teachers).

To date the award recipients are:

Roy Bunnell
Crystal Driver
Bill Rickard
Mike Schweiger
Bert Cushing
Aaron Diaz
Janelle Downs
Al Fuciarelli
Eric Nyberg
Jim Young
Lee Rogers
(Life Time Achievement)
Gordon Anderson
Susan Blanton
Allison Campbell
Bill Mavros
Roy Gephart
Steve Reidel
Dennis Dauble
Glen Dunham
Kim Fowler
Don Baer
Gariann Gelston
Tim Hubler
Georganne O'Connor
(Special Recognition)
Nancy Foster-Mills
Ted Poston
Kevin Simmons
Scott Abernethy
SK Sundaram
David Whiteman
Duane Horton
Signe Wurstner
Wayne Martin
Bob Schenter
Sam Bryan
Rik Littlefield
Shannon Goodwin
Eric Hoppe
George Last
James A. Campbell
Shuttha Shutthanandan
Jim Amonette
Darby Stapp
Novella Bridges
Bill Pike
Theva Thevuthasan Darrell Fisher
David McKinnon
2012 2013 2014
Eric Bell
Frannie Skomurski
Rick Cameron
Amoret Bunn
Cristina Marinovici
Laura Turo
Duane Balvage
Ryan LaMothe
Laura Riihimaki
Alison Coleto
Kurt Silvers

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