Nomination Details

Thank you for your interest in submitting a Sammies nomination! If you know a federal employee who demonstrates innovation, strong leadership and a passion for public service in their work, we want to recognize them through the Service to America Medals.

General Information

We have extended the deadline for 2022 nominations until January 21, 2022.

Our online nomination process allows the nominator to start and save a submission and return to it at a later time.

Finalists are announced the first week of May during Public Service Recognition Week and the honorees are announced at an awards gala in Washington, D.C. each fall.

Please read more about the current medal categories below and their specific eligibility requirements before submitting a nomination. The Partnership will determine and assign medal categories based on the nominations received.

We welcome nominations for individuals and teams. While we acknowledge that many important accomplishments involve hundreds of federal employees, our honoree recognition is limited to a maximum of three people who represent the team and their achievements.

Nomination Guidelines


Nominators can be anyone—fed or non-fed, friend or family member, supervisor or employee. However, we do not accept self-nominations.


While nominators are not required to be federal employees, nominees must be career civilian federal employees of the Executive Branch of the U.S. government. Similar employees of the Library of Congress, Government Accountability Office, Congressional Budget Office, Office of the Capitol Architect, Government Publishing Office, Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, Smithsonian Institution and Botanical Gardens, plus commissioned officers of the U.S. Public Health Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are also eligible.

For all medal categories, with the exception of Career Achievement, please identify an accomplishment that has occurred within the past three years. We want to share the most recent government success stories that will best resonate with the American public.

For Career Achievement, nominations should highlight a series of accomplishments or sustained achievements throughout the nominee’s 20 or more years as a public servant.

Medal Categories Frequently Asked Questions


Still have questions? Contact Maggie Moore at [email protected] or (202) 775-6883. Also, be sure to read our guide to writing a winning nomination.

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Medal and Nomination Categories

Federal Employee of the Year

This award recognizes a federal employee whose professional contributions exemplify the highest attributes of public service.

Special Guidelines:
This award is chosen by the Sammies Selection Committee from among the group of finalists. We do not accept nominations directly for this category.

See Past Honorees
Paul A. Volcker Career Achievement

This medal recognizes a federal employee who has led significant and sustained achievements during 20 or more years of public service.

Special Eligibility Criteria:
Nominee must have worked in public service for at least 20 years as of January 1 during the current nomination cycle.

See Past Honorees
Emerging Leaders

This nomination category is offered to encourage special consideration for young federal employees who have made an important contribution early in their professional careers. Selected finalists will be assigned to other medal categories according to the nature of their work and accomplishments.

Special Eligibility Criteria:
Nominee must be 35 or younger as of January 1 during the current nomination cycle.

See Past Honorees
Safety, Security and International Affairs

This medal recognizes a federal employee for a significant accomplishment in fields such as civil rights, cyber-security, emergency preparedness and response, border security, counter-terrorism, defense and military affairs, intelligence or diplomacy.

See Past Honorees
Management Excellence

This medal recognizes a federal employee for demonstrating superior leadership and management excellence through a significant contribution to the nation that exemplifies efficient, effective and results-oriented government.

See Past Honorees
Science and Environment

This medal recognizes a federal employee for a significant contribution to the nation in activities related to science and environment (including biomedicine, economics, energy, information technology, meteorology, resource conservation and space).

See Past Honorees
COVID-19 Response

This medal recognizes a federal employee who made extraordinary contributions under challenging circumstances to help those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic in areas ranging from public health and safety to the economy.  

Special Guidelines: If we decide to have a COVID-19 medal in 2022, finalists will be chosen by the Selection Committee. We do not accept nominations for this category. 

See Past Honorees


How do I submit a nomination?

Complete the online nomination form by the new, extended deadline: January 21, 2022. The online form allows you to begin a nomination, save it and then return to it at a later time.

I can’t access the online nomination form. What do I do?

Download the Word version of the form which you can email back to us once it’s completed.

Who can submit a nomination?

Anyone can submit a nomination, but they’ll need to be familiar with the nominee’s work and accomplishments.

Can I nominate myself?

No, but you can ask someone else to nominate you.

Can I nominate a team?

Yes! We accept nominations for teams, but ask that you designate a team leader and up to two additional team members who will represent the entire team at recognition events, in media coverage and in published materials.

Who is eligible for the Service to America Medals?

All career civilian federal employees of the executive branch of the U.S. government are eligible.

For special employee categories, we often ask the following to determine eligibility: “Is the employee covered by or eligible for the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) and the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) programs, or similar agency retirement and health programs?”

Are Foreign Service employees eligible?

 Yes, Foreign Service employees are eligible.

Are government contractors eligible?

Private-sector employees are not eligible but may be part of a team led by a civilian federal employee.

Are military personnel eligible?

Active-duty military personnel are not eligible but may be part of a team led by a civilian federal employee.

Are foreign nationals eligible?

Foreign nationals are not eligible but may be part of a team led by a civilian federal employee.

Are non-appropriated fund employees eligible?

Non-appropriated fund employees are not eligible but may be part of a team led by a civilian federal employee.

Are former federal employees, who recently retired or passed away, eligible?

Our goal is to publicly recognize current federal employees and their achievements on behalf of the American people. Former federal employees who left government service after September 1 are still eligible to receive an acknowledgment of their nomination.

May I submit the same nomination for multiple categories?

Yes, but you must repeat the nomination process for each category. Be sure to open the nomination form in a new browser window to begin each new nomination. Do not simply click the back button, which could cause the new nomination to overwrite your previous nomination. We also encourage you to tailor the accomplishment description to justify why the nominee should be recognized in the selected category.

Is there a limit to the number of nominations a particular nominator or agency may submit?

No. The more, the merrier!

Does the Partnership for Public Service require agency approval of nominations?

No. While some agencies or divisions may conduct their own internal review process, we do not require advance sign-off by a particular office. However, we request that each nomination includes the nominee’s supervisor or higher-level official as a nominator or reference so we may verify that the nomination is endorsed and/or supported by the agency.

Who chooses the finalists and winners?

The finalists are determined by the Partnership for Public Service staff following a careful review of the nominations and vetting of the potential finalists, including interviews with the potential finalists, their nominator and references and additional sources.

The winners are determined by the Partnership based on the votes submitted by a Selection Committee consisting of national leaders representing government, business, entertainment, media and the nonprofit/foundation community.

What recognition do nominees receive if not selected as a finalist?

Most nominees appreciate learning that a supervisor or colleague has recognized their hard work and achievements and took the time to submit a nomination. The Partnership for Public Service will send a congratulatory letter to each nominee to say thank you for their service. In addition, we are always looking for opportunities to showcase nominees in other Partnership programs or in media coverage about government service.

I just submitted a nomination! When can I expect to hear from you?

Nominators, nominees and submitters (if applicable) will receive emails by the end of April letting them know the status of the nomination.

What happened to the Call to Service, Citizen Services and Promising Innovations categories?

In 2017, we changed the Call to Service Medal category, which was limited to federal employees who are 35 or younger, to a new category called Promising Innovations, which is open to federal employees of all ages who are leading innovative solutions that are still in progress. We continue to encourage nominations for young people whose achievements early in their federal careers will help inspire a new generation to serve.
We further consolidated award categories by moving Citizen Services and Promising Innovations Medal nominees to other categories where they also aligned. Excellence in customer service and innovation remain important focus areas for the Partnership, and we see these as underlying qualities that should be exhibited by all our finalists and award winners.
See past Call to Service, Citizen Services and Promising Innovations honorees here.

I still have questions. Who can I contact?

For additional information, contact Maggie Moore at (202) 775-6883 or [email protected].