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Partnership for Public Service announces 2022 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal winners and star-studded program to celebrate outstanding civil servants 

September 20, 2022

Gregory Robinson of NASA will be awarded the Federal Employee of the Year medal for his leadership and successful launch of the James Webb Space Telescope  

WASHINGTON – The nonpartisan, nonprofit Partnership for Public Service will honor a group of extraordinary public servants on Tuesday, Sept. 20 who have helped our nation explore the universe, combat HIV/AIDS, serve our veterans and deliver lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines to hundreds of millions of people across the country. 

Considered the “Oscars” of government service, the Sammies have earned a reputation as the premier awards program recognizing innovation and leadership in the federal government. The 21stt annual Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals® (Sammies) awards ceremony will be held at the John F. Kennedy for the Performing Arts to recognize an unsung group of people in our federal government who have made phenomenal contributions to the health, safety and prosperity of our country and the world.  

The 2022 Federal Employee of the Year award will be presented to Gregory Robinson, who headed NASAs James Webb Space Telescope program. Robinson’s leadership and management skills culminated in the successful launch of the revolutionary telescope in December of 2021, producing stunning images of cosmic objects across the universe. 

The achievements of other winners include pioneering work to combat HIV/AIDS, Ebola, and COVID-19; spurring a technology transformation within the Department of Labor; building trust and a customer-oriented culture at the Department of Veterans Affairs; distributing hundreds of millions of lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines; playing an instrumental role in curbing a major contributor to climate change; and coordinating housing and services for Afghan refugees after the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan—the largest refugee resettlement in modern U.S. history. 

“During these turbulent times when federal employees have been threatened and demonized, the accomplishments of the Sammies winners demonstrate the important role that dedicated civil servants and our government play in meeting the critical needs of the nation,” said Max Stier, the president and CEO of the Partnership for Public Service. “The work of our government is often invisible to the public, but the 2022 Service to America Medal winners place the spotlight on a wide range of remarkable success stories and defy the stereotypes of those who are dedicated to serving the nation and our collective interests.” 

In addition to the seven medalists, the Partnership will present its fifth annual Spirit of Service Award to honor an individual outside the federal workforce who has made a significant contribution to public service. This year’s Spirit of Service award recipient is Darren Walker, president and CEO of the Ford Foundation. Walker has made it his mission to provide support for transformative ideas, institutions and individuals dedicated to furthering social, economic and political justice. He also has been a strong advocate for responsive and effective government and for capable federal leadership to meet the needs of the nation. 

MSNBC News correspondent Alicia Menendez will serve as the gala’s emcee. Special gala presenters include Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff; Chief Medical Advisor to the President of United States Dr. Anthony Fauci; Rockefeller Foundation President Raj Shah; Deputy Secretary of State Brian McKeon; Deputy Secretary of Labor Julie Su; Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services Andrea Palm; Director of the United States Office of Personnel Management Kiran Ahuja, and Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough. Fauci was honored by the Partnership in 2020 as Federal Employee of the Year. 

In addition to the in-person awards ceremony, a one-hour, star-studded program honoring the 2022 Service to America Medal winners will air nationwide this fall on Bloomberg Television and on the Partnership’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube pages. The program will air on November 23rd at 9 p.m. Eastern.  

The 2022 Sammies television special will be hosted by actor and comedian Ashley Nicole Black and will feature remarks and presentations by several celebrities, including actors Rachel Bloom, Ronny Chieng, Giancarlo Esposito, Tony Hale, Ginnifer Goodwin, Anthony Hill, Nico Santos and Toni Trucks

The 2022 Sammies winners are a diverse group selected from more than 400 nominations.  The seven winners were chosen from among 30 finalists by a prestigious selection committee that included leaders from government, business, charitable organizations, academia, entertainment and media. 

The 2022 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals recipients:  

Gregory Robinson of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Washington, D.C.) is the recipient of the Federal Employee of the Year Medal, the top honor of the Sammies program. Robinson 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.    

Dr. H. Clifford Lane from the National Institute of Allergy and Infection Diseases (Bethesda, Md.) is the recipient of the Paul A. Volcker Career Achievement Medal. During his four decades at the National Institutes of Health, Lane has conducted lifesaving research for people with HIV/AIDS, had an enormous impact combating and treating infectious diseases overseas such as Ebola, and helped establish national treatment guidelines for COVID-19 amid the deadly pandemic. 

The Paul A. Volcker Career Achievement Medal is named after the extraordinary public servant who made a profound difference for our country and was the leading voice on the value of government service. In 2019, the Partnership renamed the Sammies career achievement medal in his honor. The Paul A. Volcker Career Achievement Medal is made possible through the generous support of Ray and Barbara Dalio. 

Amanda Cohn, Anita Patel and David Fitter of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Atlanta, Ga.) are the recipients of the COVID-19 Response Medal, which was created last year to recognize outstanding federal workers who played important roles in the government’s response to the pandemic. Cohn, Patel and Fitter 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. 

Krista Kinnard of the Department of Labor (Washington, D.C.) is the recipient of the Emerging Leaders Medal. At 34, Kinnard serves as the department’s chief of emerging technologies. She ignited a technology transformation at Labor by automating repetitive administrative processes, saving time and money, and creating greater efficiencies.  

Barbara Morton of the Department of Veterans Affairs (Washington, D.C.) is the recipient of the Management Excellence Medal. Morton and her team in the 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.  

Hilary Ingraham, Holly Herrera, and Kiera Berdinner from the Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (Washington, D.C.) are the recipients of the Safety, Security and International Affairs Medal. Ingraham, Herrera and Berdinner, who represent the Operation Allies Welcome Resettlement Team, 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.  

Cindy Newberg of the Environmental Protection Agency (Washington, D.C.) is the recipient of the Science, Technology and Environment Medal. Newberg 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. 

In addition to the seven winners, Joshua Josa of the U.S. Agency for International Development (Washington, D.C.) is the recipient of the eighth annual Service to America Medals People’s Choice award, which was presented in July. Josa leveraged U.S. resources and influence to provide educational opportunities to thousands of children with disabilities living in developing nations.  

More than 68,000 votes were cast during this year’s People’s Choice selection process. Josa received the most votes out of all 30 Sammies finalists in an online selection process that was open to the public.  

The 2022 Service to America Medals are made possible by the generous support of our sponsors. The premier sponsor for the 2022 Sammies is Mrs. Ronnie F. Heyman and family. National sponsors are Bloomberg Philanthropies, Jennifer and David Millstone, Standard Industries and Patricia A. and George W. Wellde Jr. Capital sponsors are Tom and Andi Bernstein, Charina Endowment Fund, Google and Lockheed Martin.  

Renamed the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals in 2010 to commemorate the organization’s founder, the program has honored more than 700 outstanding federal employees since its inception in 2002. For profiles and videos of current and past honorees, and to nominate a federal employee for a 2023 Service to America Medal, visit  

During the past 21 years, the nonpartisan, nonprofit Partnership for Public Service has been dedicated to building a better government and a stronger democracy. We work across administrations to help transform the way government works by providing agencies with the data insights they need to succeed, developing effective leaders, inspiring the next generation to public service, facilitating smooth presidential transitions and recognizing exceptional federal employees. Visit, follow us @PublicService and subscribe today to get the latest federal news, information on upcoming Partnership programs and events, and more.