2022 Finalist Summaries

Emerging Leaders Category

This medal recognizes young federal employees, under the age of 35, who have made an important contribution early in their professional career.

Emerging Leaders Finalists

Samantha Sutton

Chief of Staff to the U.S. Ambassador to Israel

Department of State
Jerusalem, Israel

Played an important behind-the-scenes role across three presidential administrations as an adviser on U.S. policy toward Israel and the Palestinians.

Josh Josa

Inclusive Education Specialist

U.S. Agency for International Development
Washington, D.C.

Leveraged U.S. resources and influence to promote educational opportunities in developing nations for children with disabilities.

Krista Kinnard

Chief, Emerging Technology

Department of Labor
Washington, D.C.

Ignited a technology transformation at the Department of Labor by automating repetitive administrative processes, saving time and money, and creating greater efficiencies.

David Rader

Deputy Director, Office of Foreign Investment Review

Department of Defense
Washington, D.C.

Led a critical initiative to monitor and prevent foreign investments in American technology companies that can be used by adversaries to gain an economic and military advantage over the United States.

Mark Williams

Research Agricultural Engineer, Agricultural Research Service

U.S. Department of Agriculture
West Lafayette, Indiana

Documented how agricultural runoff containing nitrogen and phosphorous used in fertilizers migrate into and pollute waterways, prompting new farming conservation practices to protect the environment.

COVID-19 Response Category

This medal recognizes a federal employee or team for their outstanding efforts to support Americans’ health, safety and economic security during the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 Response Finalists

Suma Nair

Director, Office of Quality Improvement

Health Resources and Services Administration
Rockville, Maryland

Coordinated the federal initiative to supply community health centers nationwide that assist underserved populations with life-saving COVID-19 vaccines, antiviral medications, testing kits and protective face masks.

Anita Patel, Pharm.D.

Senior Advisor for Pandemic Planning and Response, Office of the Director
National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases

Dr. Amanda Cohn

Director, Division of Birth Defects and Infant Disorders
National Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities

Dr. David Fitter

Chief, Immunization Systems Branch

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Atlanta, Georgia

Designed and implemented the plan to distribute hundreds of millions of lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines to states, localities and pharmacies nationwide while providing critical health information to the public.

Gary Disbrow


Robert Johnson

Director, Medical Countermeasures Program

Kimberly Armstrong

Branch Chief, Therapeutics

Rodney Wallace

Director, Detection, Diagnostics and Devices Infrastructure Division

Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority
Washington, D.C.

Led the federal effort to quickly identify and invest billions of dollars in the rapid development and production of COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics.

Robert Fenton

Region 9 Administrator

Federal Emergency Management Agency
Oakland, California

Orchestrated the creation of 39 mass vaccination centers in early 2021 that in a short time administered lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines to 5.6 million people while also providing federal support to 1,600 smaller vaccination sites throughout the country

Dr. Diana Bianchi

Director, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, Maryland

Initiated critical clinical research to understand the medical implications of COVID-19 on underserved populations, including pregnant women, children and people with disabilities.

Safety, Security and International Affairs Category

This medal recognizes a federal employee or team for a significant accomplishment in fields such as counterterrorism, civil rights, defense and military affairs, diplomacy, foreign assistance, trade, consumer protection, cybersecurity and emergency preparedness and response.

Safety, Security and International Affairs Finalists

Roy Dotson

Assistant Special Agent in Charge

And the CARES Act Team

U.S. Secret Service
Jacksonville, Florida

Conducted a nationwide criminal investigation that recovered $1.2 billion in stolen federal pandemic relief payments meant for small businesses and the unemployed, and halted the dispersal of $2.2 billion more in fraudulently requested funds.

Hila Hanif

Director of Afghanistan Strategy and Policy

Umid Khikmatov

Afghanistan Country Director

And the Afghanistan Policy Team

Office of the Secretary of Defense
Department of Defense
Washington, D.C. and Kabul, Afghanistan

Organized the successful evacuation of more than 120,000 Afghans, Americans and NATO partners during the chaotic American military withdrawal from Afghanistan during two weeks in August 2021.

Hilary Ingraham

Refugee Processing Center Director

Holly Herrera

Domestic Resettlement Section Chief

Kiera Berdinner

Program Officer

And the Operation Allies Welcome Resettlement Team

Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
Department of State
Washington, D.C.

Coordinated the largest resettlement of refugees in modern U.S. history, providing housing and services in record time to more than 76,000 Afghans who fled from Afghanistan in 2021 as the American forces withdrew from that war-torn country.

Kyle Armstrong

Federal Bureau of Investigation
Chicago, Illinois

Chris Janczewski

Formerly Internal Revenue Service
Washington, D.C.

Ryan Landers

Department of Homeland Security
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

And the Bitcoin Terror Takedown Team

Dismantled a series of sophisticated online fundraising campaigns run by three separate anti-American international terrorist organizations, seizing millions of dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency.

Jonathan Dworken

Director, Office of East African Affairs

U.S. Agency for International Development
Washington, D.C.

Coordinated the delivery of critical U.S. assistance to the people of Ethiopia amid a violent conflict.

Science, Technology and environment Category

This medal recognizes a federal employee or team for a significant accomplishment in fields such as medicine, economics, energy, information technology, space, meteorology and resource conservation.

Science, Technology and Environment Finalists

Joseph Poux Jr.

Environmental Crimes Deputy Chief 

Department of Justice
Washington, D.C.

Organized a series of global environmental law enforcement operations targeting marine pollution and hazardous waste dumping that uncovered thousands of violations and led to the prosecution of countless individuals, companies and criminal networks.

Steven Musser

Deputy Center Director for Scientific Operations, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition

Food and Drug Administration
College Park, Maryland

Championed the use of whole genome sequencing and a public database to identify foodborne diseases that sicken millions of people every year, allowing authorities to remove dangerous products more quickly from the marketplace and protect public health.

Nathan Newbury

Group Leader and NIST Fellow

Kevin Cossel


Ian Coddington


National Institute of Standards and Technology
Boulder, Colorado

Developed a revolutionary system to detect methane gas leaks from oil and gas production facilities as well identify other pollutants that are major contributors to global warming.

Brandon Wales

Executive Director

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency
Washington, D.C.

Protected government and commercial computer networks from highly sophisticated and damaging cyberattacks, safeguarding the COVID-19 vaccine supply chain and reducing the risks of devastating ransomware attacks.

Cindy Newberg

Office of Atmospheric Programs/Stratospheric Protection Division Director 

Environmental Protection Agency
Washington, D.C.

Played an instrumental role internationally and in the U.S. to curb the use of hydrofluorocarbons, incredibly potent greenhouse gases that are major contributors to climate change.

Management Excellence Category

This medal recognizes a federal employee or team for a significant accomplishment that exemplifies efficient, effective and results-oriented government.

Management Excellence Finalists

Barbara Morton

Deputy Chief Veterans Experience Officer

Department of Veterans Affairs
Washington, D.C.

Built trust and a customer-oriented culture among veterans and their families seeking services and benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs by listening and responding to their needs.

Antonio Rios

Director, Division of Federal Employees’, Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation

Department of Labor
Washington, D.C.

Instituted an innovative system that has reduced opioid addiction among federal employees receiving worker compensation benefits while also using streamlining and speeding up the process for filing claims.

Yolanda López

Acting Director

Voice of America
Washington, D.C.

Guided the Voice of America through a tumultuous period of political upheaval, restoring the integrity and independence of its news operations while providing strong support for the workforce.

Valerie Hasberry

Chief Security Officer

James Kaufmann

Director, Capitol Grounds and Arboretum

Mark Reed

Superintendent, U.S. Capitol and Capitol Visitor Center

Architect of the Capitol
Washington, D.C.

Led the cleanup, restoration and enhanced security of the U.S. Capitol building and grounds following the violent insurrection on Jan. 6, 2020, ensuring that the work of Congress would continue and the presidential inauguration would take place two weeks later.

Greg Robinson

Program Director, James Webb Space Telescope

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Washington, D.C.

Oversaw the successful launch of NASA’s revolutionary James Webb Space Telescope after years of delays and billions of dollars in cost overruns, setting the stage for spectacular discoveries about the origins of the universe.

Paul A. Volcker Career Achievement Category

This medal recognizes a federal employee for leading significant and sustained accomplishments throughout a federal career of 20 or more years.

Paul A. Volcker Career Achievement Finalists

Dr. Clifford Lane

Clinical Director
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, Maryland

Conducted pioneering work to combat HIV/AIDS that has saved countless lives, organized breakthrough clinical trials for Ebola in Africa and helped establish medical guidelines to treat COVID-19 during the pandemic.

Craig McLean

Former Assistant Administrator for Oceanic and Atmospheric Research/Acting Chief Scientist

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Silver Spring, Maryland

Played a critical role for decades in the exploration and mapping of the oceans which has provided insights into climate change, helped improve weather forecasting and led to a better understanding of marine life.

Scott Busby

Deputy Assistant Secretary
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Affairs

State Department
Washington, D.C.

Designed and oversaw landmark efforts to advance human rights overseas and hold violators accountable.

Rupa Bhattacharyya

Former Special Master
September 11th Victim Compensation Fund

Department of Justice
Washington, D.C.

Managed three separate victim’s compensation funds during a lengthy federal career, most recently revitalizing the fund that provides payments to those harmed by the Sept.11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Mitchell Zeller

Former Director, Center for Tobacco Products

Food and Drug Administration
Silver Spring, Maryland

Directed the federal efforts to regulate the marketing and accessibility of tobacco products that can cause death and disease, instituting policies that cut back on cigarette usage and saved lives.