INSA Achievement Awards

Honoring our Rising Stars!

INSA's 11th Achievement Awards Ceremony took place virtually on Wednesday, February 17 from 4:30-6:00 pm ET. We recognized six outstanding early and midlevel professionals in the intelligence, national security, and homeland security communities, as well as the senior leaders who inspired their success.

The festive evening kept viewers engaged, especially with a keynote from Dr. Stacey Dixon, Deputy Director, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), and appearances from IC legends, senior leaders, and our six outstanding honorees.

Get to Know the 2021 Achievement Award Honorees

Joan A. Dempsey Mentorship Award | Meghan Flannery Hayes, Complex Systems Monitoring Department Head, Applied Research Laboratory at Penn State

As a Department Head at Pennsylvania State University’s Applied Research Lab (PSU/ARL), Meghan Flannery Hayes has used her extraordinary leadership skills, vision, and empathy for others to transform her workplace, empower colleagues, and bring about positive organizational change. A consummate champion for equality, she is the lead member of the PSU/ARL strategic plan development team on the topic of workforce recruiting and retention, diversity, equity, and inclusion. Meghan is a true supporter and mentor for others. She gives generously of her time and contributes to national organizations, such as the Society of Women Engineers; helps at recruiting events; and serves her local community as a board member of CentreSafe, which helps survivors of domestic and sexual violence in Centre County, Pennsylvania.

Sidney D. Drell Academic Award | Meg Guliford, Vice-Provost Post Doctoral Fellow, Perry World House, University of Pennsylvania

Meg Guliford embodies what it means to be a dedicated scholar, engaged community member, and esteemed role model. While a PhD candidate at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, Ms. Guliford brought service as a defense analyst for the U.S. government and on-the-ground experience in a war zone to her work on the complex dynamics of foreign intervention. The strength of her research, which investigates how external intervention impacts the victimization of civilians in civil wars, has been recognized by the broader community, earning her a seat at conferences and public discussions, as well as a prestigious multi-year fellowship to be in residence at Perry World House from the University of Pennsylvania’s Provost. She prefers to work alongside her colleagues and students to build a stronger national security community, epitomizing all that the Sidney D. Drell Achievement Award represents.

Edwin H. Land Industry Award | Darek Kawamoto, Principal Engineer, Algorithms, HawkEye 360

As Principal Engineer for Algorithms, Darek Kawamoto has been instrumental in demonstrating how inexpensive and unclassified small satellite technology can be used to produce world-class geolocations. He developed sophisticated algorithms that underpin how his company geolocates high quality radio frequency (RF) data. A pioneer in this emerging field of commercial RF GEOINT, Darek’s name appears as an inventor on two of HawkEye 360's patents. He thrives in an environment where the art-of-the-possible must be explored quickly and with limited background information. The quality of his work has led the U.S. Government to recognize the value of commercial RF GEOINT for intelligence analysis. Darek multiplies his influence through mentorship, education, and support of both technical and non-technical members of the organization.

John W. Warner Homeland Security Award | Victoria Rossi, Intelligence Research Specialist, DHS/CISA

Whether it is information on known cyber threat actors or malign foreign influencers targeting elections, Victoria Rossi is highly regarded for consistently taking the extra step to ensure information reaches the organization, team, or individual where it can drive operations. As an Intelligence Analyst for CISA’s Integrated Operations Division, Intelligence Division, Ms. Rossi made significant contributions to the safety and security of the 2020 Presidential Election. She spearheaded the acquisitions process for systems and equipment supporting not only the elections team but the entire CISA Intelligence Division; ensuring the team had the right tools to successfully accomplish daily mission requirements. Ms. Rossi’s hard work and commitment are infectious. She is a mentor, counselor, confidante, and cheerleader for her colleagues. Victoria Rossi leads by example and seeks out opportunities to support those around her.

William O. Studeman Military Award | Maj. Arturo A. "Jay" Tibayan, Jr., USA, Duty Officer, White House Situation Room, National Security Council, The White House

Serving in positions often reserved for higher ranks, Major Arturo A. "Jay" Tibayan, Jr. has led with poise and maturity beyond his years, in support of high priority initiatives for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Secretary of Defense, and the White House. Major Tibayan spearheaded efforts on two of the Secretary of Defense’s “4+1” challenges. He was lead planner for the Defense Department’s response to North Korean provocations and the White House DPRK Pressure Campaign. Major Tibayan's exceptional vision and can-do attitude mitigated joint force shortfalls. In his current role, he provides the White House with 24-hour awareness and strategic warning regarding threats to the homeland and U.S. national security. Displaying the character, intellect, vision, and leadership expected from the most senior Army and Joint leaders, Major Arturo A. Tibayan, Jr. is eminently deserving of the William O. Studeman Military Award.

Richard J. Kerr Government Award | Jessica S. Van Cleaf, SIGINT Program Manager, Assistant Commandant for Intelligence, U.S. Coast Guard, CG-257

Jessica Van Cleaf’s admirable work ethic, astute decision-making, and effective interpersonal communication skills make her a valued member of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Intelligence Program. From 2019-2020, she served as the U.S. Coast Guard’s Signals Intelligence Program Manager, taking on the role of a higher-grade civilian position for a $225 million program office. Ms. Van Cleaf worked across organizational boundaries at the most senior levels to address Coast Guard SIGINT Program mission needs.  She facilitated multiple working groups resulting in the establishment of a Coast Guard Cryptologic Office, the creation of a joint Coast Guard-Navy Signals Analysis Laboratory, and new Memoranda of Agreement between Navy and Coast Guard. Jessica Van Cleaf has helped transform the Coast Guard’s operational culture to reflect the Service’s embrace of data-centric decision-making, which expanded maritime awareness at a fraction of the cost of current approaches.

Program Overview

Agenda:

4:30 - 5:00 pm ET | Welcome and Keynote Remarks
5:00 - 5:50 pm ET | Awards Ceremony
5:50 - 6:00 pm ET | Closing Remarks and Champagne Toast

About Dr. Stacey Dixon

In June 2019, Dr. Stacey Dixon became the eighth Deputy Director of the NGA. Prior to taking on this role, Dr. Dixon served as both the Deputy Director and then Director of IARPA. Previously, she was the Deputy Director of NGA's Research Directorate and spent time serving as the Chief of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs and the Deputy Director of NGA's Office of Corporate Communications. Before joining NGA, Dr. Dixon was a staff member for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and worked for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), where completed an assignment at the National Reconnaissance Office's Advanced Systems and Technology directorate.

Achievement Award Categories 

ACADEMIC

The Sidney D. Drell Academic Award
Open to graduate students and untenured professors at accredited U.S. academic institutions.




 

GOVERNMENT

The Richard J. Kerr Government Award
Open to civilian government employees up to and including GS-13 and equivalent rank. 




 

HOMELAND SECURITY

The John W. Warner Homeland Security Award
Open to law enforcement professionals, intelligence analysts, and first responders from the federal government and state, local, tribal, and territorial agencies up to GS-13 or equivalent.

 

 

 

INDUSTRY

The Edwin H. Land Industry Award
Open to contractors and nongovernment employees with eight to ten years of nonexecutive experience.

 

MENTORSHIP

The Joan A. Dempsey Mentorship Award
Open to public, private and academic professionals up to and including GS-15/O-6 and equivalent rank.  

 

MILITARY

The William O. Studeman Military Award
Open to uniformed military personnel up to and including 0-4/E-7.

 

"Being able to hear the successes of the awardees and listen to theirs and the speakers’ reflections was inspiring. I immediately felt I was in a community of peers."

- 2020 Achievement Awards Ceremony Attendee

About the Awards

The INSA Achievement Awards were established in 2010 to recognize the accomplishments of early to mid-career professionals (GS-13/O-4/E-7 or equivalent and below with the exception of the Joan A. Dempsey Mentorship Award) in intelligence and national security as well as the mentors who inspired them.

Each of the six awards, named after William Oliver Baker Award recipients, acknowledge the importance of mentors and inspire early careerists to strive for excellence in the intelligence, homeland security, and national security communities.

Although missions and requirements differ in each of the individual categories, common areas of excellence include: leadership, potential for growth, impact on the profession, mission accomplishment, and emerging professional standing and influence. 

The Awards

  • Joan A. Dempsey Mentorship Award
    • Open to all public, private and academic professionals up to and including GS-15/O-6 and equivalent rank
  • Sidney D. Drell Academic Award
    • Open to graduate students and untenured professors at accredited U.S. academic institutions
  • Richard J. Kerr Government Award
    • Open to civilian government employees up to and including GS-13 and equivalent rank
  • Edwin H. Land Industry Award
    • Open to contractors and nongovernment employees with eight to ten years of nonexecutive experience
  • William O. Studeman Military Award
    • Open to uniformed military personnel up to and including 0-4/E-7
  • John W. Warner Homeland Security Award
    • Open to law enforcement professionals, intelligence analysts, and first responders from federal government, state, local, tribal, and territorial agencies at levels up to federal GS-13 or equivalent.
View Past Recipients

2020 Awards Ceremony

Video with keynote by Hon. Ellen McCarthy

Commemorative Program (PDF)

 

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