The nonprofit, nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service is hosting its annual 2020 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals  (Sammies) award ceremony tonight at 8pm EDT. Known as the “Oscars” of government service, the virtual event will celebrate the extraordinary achievements of six public servants and honor the exceptional service of federal workers who have made significant contributions to the health, safety, and prosperity of the United States. Many of this year’s honorees have also played a critical role in responding to the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Sammies have earned a reputation as the premier awards program recognizing innovation and leadership in the federal government. If you work in or around the federal government, it’s a fun way to keep up with who’s who in the federal world from the comfort of your own home.

First Virtual Program Brings Messages from Many Celebrities

The virtual program provides various mechanisms to engage with the event. The digital toolkit provides social media graphics, as well as, children’s activities. Participants can even get social and host a watch party. And if you know of a deserving federal employee in your personal or professional life, you can nominate them for 2021. For the first time in the program’s 19-year history, the Sammies will be celebrated virtually, during a one- hour special program featuring comedians, actors, top business executives, and federal leaders.

Shoutout to Microsoft CEO

In addition to giving awards to the six medalists, the Partnership will present the annual Spirit of Service Award to Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft. Under Nadella’s leadership, Microsoft has significantly improved federal government services and operations through responsible use of artificial intelligence, cloud computing and predictive analytics. The company has developed public-private partnerships to help agencies transform their organizations and improve outcomes, from assisting the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services with predicting patient needs and developing new payment models to aiding the Interior Department’s use of aerial drones to monitor more than 500 million acres of public land.

Through a new project with the Department of Agriculture, federal scientists and researchers are harnessing data and artificial intelligence to help farmers increase yields, reduce costs and make crops more resilient and sustainable.

NIST Leader Receives Award

Many recipients will be awarded for their excellence in management or scientific development; however, a key highlight is Donna F. Dodson, formerly of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (Gaithersburg, Md.) for more than 30 years up until May 2020. She is the recipient of the Safety, Security and International Affairs Medal. Dodson, now in the private sector, is recognized as a leading national cybersecurity expert. She played a significant role in the development of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, a guide used by thousands of organizations to help manage cybersecurity risks and prevent, detect and respond to cyberattacks. The NIST framework has been a key driver in helping the DoD navigate the correct pathway in cybersecurity towards the new Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC).

The Selection Process and How to Watch

The 2020 Sammies winners were selected from more than 350 nominations submitted to the Partnership for Public Service. Of the 27 finalists announced in May 2020, the six medalists were chosen by a prestigious selection committee that included leaders from government, business, charitable organizations, academia, entertainment and media.

The virtual program will air on Bloomberg Television and will be streamed live on and Axios’ Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages;; Facebook; YouTube; Twitter; and on the Partnership for Public Service’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages. The event will air at 8 p.m. EDT on Monday, Oct. 5, 2020.

Viewers can register here to stream the Sammies.

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Jillian Hamilton has worked in a variety of Program Management roles for multiple Federal Government contractors. She has helped manage projects in training and IT. She received her Bachelors degree in Business with an emphasis in Marketing from Penn State University and her MBA from the University of Phoenix.