Flemming Awards for outstanding feds

A handful of outstanding feds are being recognized with one of government service’s highest honors—the Arthur S. Flemming Awards, a tradition that has lasted nearly three-quarters of a century.


This week, a handful of outstanding feds received one of government service’s highest honors—the Arthur S. Flemming Awards, a tradition that has lasted nearly three-quarters of a century.    

This year, recipients include feds who are helping make farming stand up to climate change, launching solutions to the opioid epidemic, and developing more powerful “quantum” computing solutions to huge data sets needed to crack some of humanity’s greatest puzzles. 

The Arthur S. Flemming Commission and the George Washington University Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration work in partnership with the National Academy of Public Administration to manage the annual awards. 

The awards have been conferred to a dozen of the U.S. civil service’s finest—with each recipient having contributed in fields including applied science and engineering, basic science, leadership and management, legal achievement and social science. Previous awardees include NASA astronaut and first man on the Moon Neil Armstrong and National Cancer Institute AIDS drug developer Samuel Broder. 

The namesake of the awards served under seven administrations for presidents from both major political parties across multiple decades. Flemming was a remarkable civil servant, who twice received the Presidential Medal of Freedom—once from President Eisenhower and again, decades later, from President Clinton. 

This year’s recipients come from a wide range of agencies:

Steven Mirsky, for example, of the Agricultural Research Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture is being recognized for developing “the merger of precision and sustainable agriculture to make farming more productive, adaptive and resilient in the face of climate change, declining soil and water quality, and pest resistance,” as described in the awards announcement. 

Stephanie Schollaert Uz, a civil servant and scientist at the Goddard Space Flight Center for NASA, manages part of the Earth Sciences Division and is using technology and data models to monitor pathogens, pollutants and water quality in groundbreaking ways. 

These and ten more dedicated feds and their admirable work were recognized. You can read about them on the awards website. Recipients were announced earlier this year, but the virtual emceed event—including acceptance speeches and celebratory segments—was aired online recently, and is available for viewing on the Government Matters website.

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