Goddard Recognizes Employee Award Winners
GREENBELT, Md. -- Two of NASA Goddard’s own have recently been awarded with prestigious awards for their research in remote sensing and Federal information technology respectively.

Molly Brown, a research scientist in the Biospheric Sciences Branch in the Earth Sciences Division of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. will be presented with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) David Johnson Award for her innovative and groundbreaking contributions to incorporating remote sensing into economic models to address agricultural production in developing countries.

The NOAA David Johnson Award is presented by the National Space Club in honor of the first Administrator of NOAA, National Environment Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS). Recipients are young professionals, not over the age of 40, who have demonstrated or developed an innovative use of Earth observation satellite data that could be used for operational purposes to assess and/or predict atmospheric, oceanic, or terrestrial conditions.

Brown’s work with the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), which has put her in the center of the global food crisis, has promised to extend its coverage to 70 countries faced with food crises through identifying impacts of climate at national and regional levels. Her 10 year research in using remote sensing in economic models will be important in assessing food security in these troubled areas. She is currently working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture on their annual report on food security to incorporate vegetation index data in their econometric model to better reflect the impact of weather on global food systems. She is a self-proclaimed soccer mom to her seven and 13-year-old children and enjoys reading novels in her spare time.

"I think that it is very important to have people know about the research that you are doing. Science is as much about networking and communicating as the work you do," Brown said about why she was proud of her award. "I'm about connecting communities. Remote sensing, humanitarian action, economics…all these people need to be working together to solve the world's problems." Emma Antunes, a Goddard Web Manager in the ITCD Strategy and Planning Office, has recently been named a 2010 Federal 100 Winner by Federal Computer Week Magazine.

The FCW recognizes individuals in government and industry who have made leaping strides and significant contributions to the Federal information community. Antunes is responsible for the social network Intranet named "Spacebook," created to help new and established employees assimilate and get to know the diverse scientific, engineering and support personnel at Goddard. "Spacebook" has significantly increased collaborations, innovation and information sharing within NASA. Each employee is able to have their own homepage, similar to the popular social network "Facebook." They are able to share files, join interest groups, follow the activities of other members and change their status, among other things.

"Wow, I feel like Sally Field. They like me, they really like me!" Antunes said. "It feels great to be recognized by my peers. It means other people appreciate the work I’m doing and see the benefits."

Antunes mainly focuses on the business aspect of the social network, "how enterprise 2.0 allows us to take advantage of our existing workforce, and leverage their expertise." In her spare time she loves to cook and is an avid knitter. She and her astrophysicist husband have two children.

"Intranets are often the step-children of the organization. Everyone needs them and uses them but no one wants to spend time or resources on them making them better," Antunes said. "This award means people do see the benefit of enterprise applications and the power of people talking to each other and sharing information."

Related Links

› NASA Researchers Find Satellite Data Can Warn of Famine (2007 story)
Federal Computer Week article on Spacebook
› NOAA Release: NASA's Molly Brown Receives NOAA David Johnson Award

Goddard Release No.: 10-026

Christina Coleman
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

Rob Gutro
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.