Remembering Elijah Cummings

October 17, 2019 (Washington, DC) – Today we mourn the loss of an American patriot, long term Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings.

A Baltimore native, Congressman Cummings was an attorney and civil rights advocate who served in Maryland’s state legislature before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1996. Most recently, Cummings served as Chairman of the powerful House Oversight and Reform Committee.

Left to Right: Chairman Paxton Baker, Gold Medalist Veronica Wheelan, Congressman Elijah Cummings. June 2013

Rep. Cummings will forever be remembered as a model public servant. He dedicated his life to uplifting and empowering the community he represented.

It was our privilege to work with Congressman Cummings in recognizing Maryland youth with The Congressional Award for several decades. As his official biography stated, “Congressman Cummings often says that our children are the living messages that we send to a future we will never see.”

Congressman Cummings entertains the crowd before he presents the Horizon Award to fellow Baltimore native and American record executive Kevin Liles. June 2014

Our condolences are with the Cummings family and his wide-reaching band of supporters during this time of grieving.

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Reps. Malinowski, Payne, Jr. Honor New Jersey Youth with The Congressional Award

Summit, NJ (September 26, 2019) — Nearly 100 New Jersey student leaders were recognized by Congress for their personal goal setting and community service at a statewide Congressional Award ceremony held on Saturday, September 21, 2019.

U.S. Representatives Tom Malinowski (NJ-07) and Donald Payne, Jr. (NJ-10) presented the awards on behalf of Congress.

“I want to congratulate all 98 recipients of The Congressional Award for New Jersey,” said Congressman Payne, Jr. “I was excited to give our youth such a prestigious honor. I know it was not easy to earn. But they showed tremendous character in their commitment to the goals they set for the program. I am very proud of them and look forward to being part of the ceremony again next year.”

Congressman Malinowksi assured guests that the future was in good hands with these students assuming leadership roles. “This country belongs to you, the young people. And it’s up to you to make it better. And that’s what you all have done – you’ve decided you must step up and do something.”

Anesha Santhanam of Edison, NJ receives the Silver Medal from U.S. Representatives Payne, Jr. and Malinowski and Celgene’s Patrick Gliha and Rich Bagger.

The event was made possible by Celgene Corporation, who once again served as the Title Sponsor and host venue. The global biopharmaceutical company has become a perennial partner of Congress’ award program for youth by supporting the development of the program both locally and nationally.

Celgene’s Rich Bagger, Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs & Market Access, and Patrick Gliha, Senior Director of State Government Relations and a member of The Congressional Award’s Board of Directors, were on hand to congratulate this year’s honorees.

The ceremony borrowed the talents of WABC-TV journalist Anthony Johnson as master of ceremonies.

Attendees look on as Congressman Payne, Jr. delivers his remarks.

New Jersey remains one of the most active states in The Congressional Award’s national portfolio, ranking within the top ten states in both the number of enrolled participants and number of awards earned. The Garden State has produced 6,622 awardees all-time. There are currently 4,563 participants pursuing the award. The 98 New Jersey Congressional Award Medalists being honored this year have contributed 22,634 hours of voluntary public service to their communities.

Learn more about this year’s recipients with the ceremony program and photo gallery.

About
The Congressional Award is the United States Congress’ only charity and the highest honor bestowed upon a youth civilian through the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Established by Congress as a public-private partnership in 1979 under Public Law 96-114, the program recognizes initiative, service, and achievement in youth ages 13 ½ – 23.

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Gary Payton Selected as Horizon Award Recipient

Washington, DC (September 17, 2019) — Congress will honor former NBA player Gary Payton with the Horizon Award at The Congressional Award Foundation’s 25th Annual Golf Classic on September 23, 2019.


Embraced as one of the most prolific point guards of all time, Gary Payton played 17 seasons in the NBA for the Seattle Super Sonics, Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, and Miami Heat. Nicknamed “The Glove,” Payton remains the only point guard to win the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award.

Payton is a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist (1996, 2000), NBA Champion (2006), nine-time NBA All-Star, NBA Defensive Player of the Year (1996), and was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.

While his accolades on the court are enough to cement a storied legacy, Payton believes his biggest accomplishment is yet to come.

A passion and responsibility for helping at-risk youth reach their potential is what now drives Payton. Through several charitable contributions, Gary has become a force for good for the people in the very streets where his humble beginnings began. He has made it his mission to help every child receive the equal access to education and opportunity.

Much of Gary’s humanitarian efforts have been rooted in his native Oakland, California.

He set up The Gary Payton Foundation in 1996 to provide safe places for recreational activity, and to help underprivileged youth stay in school. In 2001, Mr. Payton made a personal commitment to renovate the gym of the East Oakland Youth Development Center (EOYDC), a youth center he attended as a child. And most recently he has given back to his high school alma mater’s basketball program.

As an active player, Gary made an impact in each community where he resided. He has volunteered and offered financial support to important youth service organizations like the Ronald McDonald House, Boys & Girls Club of America and the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

He authored Confidence Counts in 1999, an autobiographical children’s book illustrating the importance of self-confidence through events in his own life.

“Gary will forever be known as one of the most complete guards the game of basketball has ever seen. After hanging up his jersey he has since made the case that he is an even more complete man – one of character, integrity, and altruism. On behalf of The Congressional Award Foundation, I am proud to recognize Mr. Payton’s community involvement and creation of opportunities for our nation’s youth to thrive,” said Paxton Baker, Chairman of The Congressional Award National Board of Directors.


The Horizon Award
A special recognition from the Joint Leadership Commission of The Congressional Award Foundation and its Board of Directors, the Horizon Award recognizes individuals from the private sector who have worked to expand opportunities for all Americans through their own personal contributions.

Previous recipients include personalities like Drew Brees, America Ferrera, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Bob Lanier, Wynton Marsalis, Curtis Martin, Gail Miller, Cal Ripken, Jr., Pat and Emmitt Smith, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

About
The Congressional Award is the United States Congress’ only charity and the highest honor bestowed upon a youth civilian through the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Established by Congress as a public-private partnership in 1979 under Public Law 96-114, the program recognizes initiative, service, and achievement in youth ages 13 ½ – 23.

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My STEM Story: Luke Jankowski

Luke harnessed his environmental science studies to provide disaster relief and build stronger communities.


Many of my Voluntary Public Service activities involved STEM. Volunteering as a hurricane relief worker in New Orleans through Camp Restore serves as an example. I used carpentry and engineering to rebuild and provide maintenance of homes for under-served people who suffered severe damage to their homes due to Hurricane Katrina.

One homeowner had been the victim of a contractor who had been paid to re-build her home but had re-used wet, ruined insulation resulting in severe mold growth throughout her house. Working with others, I demolished the interior walls and ceiling of her four-room, one-story house, removed the offensive insulation and then installed clean, dry insulation, carried, placed, and nailed new dry-wall, and then taped and plastered the walls and ceilings.

Through this experience, I learned not only carpentry and engineering skills but also how to work safely on a construction site.

In Puerto Rico, my group partnered with a local grassroots organization named CAMBU to work on projects designed to aid the local community as it struggled to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Maria.

In particular, CAMBU acquired an abandoned school and surrounding land with the goal of turning it into a multi-purpose community center with a kitchen, garden, and meeting center for the people of Las Marias. One of my projects included making the empty kitchen utilitarian by constructing shelving units through cutting planks, assembling them into shelves and painting them.

In creating a community garden with the people of Las Marias for the purpose of providing fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables and a meeting location, I weeded, tilled, terraced, and fertilized the soil on a hillside with others and was then tasked with determining the best lay-out for the fruit trees, vegetables, and sitting areas. I dug holes for and planted numerous banana trees to provide shade as well as fruit. I then established, leveled, and stabilized the area for the sitting benches and finally placed the benches.

During this process I learned a farming technique known as the “crescent moon” where a hole in the shape of a crescent moon is dug for the plant to be placed because, when rainwater falls, the design of the hole makes it so that the soil around the base of the plant does not flood and creates soil stability, especially on a hillside.

Most recently, I volunteered at Third Street Elementary School in Los Angeles to help educate students on environmental science by applying concepts I learned in my high school class. I created a fun, informative PowerPoint for the third-grade students and, with them, assembled a self-sustaining Eco-Zone System to demonstrate how the three primary environments interact with each other.

Furthermore, I helped reclaim lost garden space and created an eco-friendly area that utilizes rainwater capture systems to water vegetation and serves as an outdoor learning area. I learned how to better apply STEM concepts I learned in my environmental science course, such as how to retain and reuse rainwater, to real life situations.

Learn more about The Congressional Award STEM Stars program.

North Carolina Student Leaders Recognized by Congress for Goalsetting and Volunteer Efforts

Concord, NC (August 12, 2019) — Today, U.S. Representatives Alma Adams (NC-12) and Richard Hudson (NC-08) co-hosted the 2019 North Carolina Congressional Award Ceremony.

65 youth from across the state were presented with The Congressional Award, Congress’ highest honor for youth. Each recipient challenged themselves personally and engaged with their communities by setting goals in four program areas – Voluntary Public Service, Personal Development, Physical Fitness, and Expedition/Exploration.

Collectively, the students contributed a staggering 14,556 hours of volunteerism to communities near and far.

Congresswoman Adams and Congressman Hudson presented the awards on behalf of the United States Congress and lauded the recipients for taking initiative and considering others in their decision-making.

“As a member of The Congressional Award’s Board of Directors, I am proud to celebrate our state’s youth and their incredible achievements,” said Congressman Richard Hudson. “I was honored to help recognize and congratulate these young men and women for their success and service to our community. They are the leaders of tomorrow.”

“It is my honor and privilege to present The Congressional Award to the promising young North Carolinians who earned this recognition in 2019,” said Congresswoman Alma S. Adams, Ph.D. “Each of these young leaders’ dedication to personal development and public service is positively impacting communities across North Carolina. It is because of committed young people like this year’s award recipients that I know the future of our democracy is bright.”

The event was made possible by the generosity and leadership of Smithfield Foods, Inc., a global consumer packaged goods and protein company that employs more than 10,000 individuals throughout North Carolina. Smithfield has been involved with The Congressional Award since 2015, and returns this year as the Title Sponsor of the 2019 North Carolina Congressional Award Ceremony. The company maintains a robust sustainability program that includes a dedicated focus on supporting the communities where its employees live and work through engagement, volunteerism, and financial support.

“Smithfield Foods’ ongoing support of The Congressional Award reflects our commitment to the same values that the Award upholds,” said Mike Skahill, Vice President of Government Affairs at Smithfield Foods and Congressional Award Foundation board member. “Each of the Congressional Award recipients dedicates themselves in service to their local communities, a parallel to the importance we place on supporting our neighbors in the communities we call home. We are proud to support all of these efforts that help build a stronger tomorrow for everyone.”

Charlotte Motor Speedway served as the host venue and granted awardees and guests special access to facilities, including The Speedway Club and racetrack.

Aric Almirola, NASCAR driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing, served as keynote speaker and local WSOC-TV Anchor Allison Latos volunteered her time as emcee.

North Carolina remains one of the most dynamic states in The Congressional Award’s portfolio, with the Charlotte metropolitan area ranking in the top 10 fastest growing regions. The Tar Heel State has produced 2,128 awardees all-time and there are currently 2,369 participants pursuing the award.

The ceremony program and list of Congressional Award recipients can be found here.

About The Congressional Award
The Congressional Award is the United States Congress’ only charity and the highest honor bestowed upon a youth civilian through the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Established by Congress as a public-private partnership in 1979 under Public Law 96-114, the program recognizes initiative, service, and achievement in youth ages 13 ½ – 23.

About Smithfield Foods
Smithfield Foods is a $15 billion global food company and the world’s largest pork processor and hog producer. In the United States, the company is also the leader in numerous packaged meats categories with popular brands including Smithfield®, Eckrich®, Nathan’s Famous®, Farmland®, Armour®, Farmer John®, Kretschmar®, John Morrell®, Cook’s®, Gwaltney®, Carando®, Margherita®, Curly’s®, Healthy Ones®, Morliny®, Krakus®, and Berlinki®. Smithfield Foods is committed to providing good food in a responsible way and maintains robust animal care, community involvement, employee safety, environmental and food safety and quality programs. For more information, visit www.smithfieldfoods.com and connect on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

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The Congressional Award Welcomes New Board Members

Washington, DC (July 11, 2019) —The Congressional Award Foundation is pleased to announce the election of Jim Dunn and Mike Kelley to the National Board of Directors and Skip Braziel, Sanyin Siang, and Bruce Walker to the Advisory Board of Directors.

“These individuals bring a wealth of experience in their fields and will be tremendous assets to our Foundation as we further our mission of recognizing youth achievement across the nation,” said Paxton K. Baker, Chairman of The Congressional Award National Board of Directors.

Skip Braziel is Vice President of State Regulation and Legislation for the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). He oversees state legislative and regulatory advocacy and leads a team of government relations professionals providing strategic and tactical support to state CPA societies.

Skip has over 20 years of experience advocating, coalition building, and problem solving.

Prior to AICPA, Skip served as Assistant Vice President, State Government Relations for MetLife and Vice President and Community Relationship Officer at JPMorgan Chase in Chicago.

Jim Dunn, PhD, DHA, FACHE is Executive Vice President and System Chief Human Resources Officer for Atrium Health, one of the most comprehensive and highly integrated not-for-profit healthcare systems in the nation.

Dunn is a national expert in culture, diversity and inclusion, and the employee experience.

Previously, Dunn served as Executive Vice President and Chief Talent Officer for Parkland Health and Hospital System in Dallas, Texas; Human Resources and Learning Executive for the Cleveland Clinic; Chief Learning Officer for Texas Health Resources; and National Vice President of Human Resources and Talent Retention Strategies for the American Cancer Society.

Mike Kelley serves as Vice President – External Affairs for YRC Worldwide. He is responsible for the promotion and protection of YRCW interests before trade associations and with legislative and regulatory officials at the local, state, and federal level.

His experience includes positions at the Kansas Motor Carriers Association and the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate as a Congressional Aide. He has served in several leadership positions with the American Trucking Associations including chairing three different policy committees and co-chairing two industry task forces.

Sanyin Siang is the founding Executive Director of the Coach K Leadership and Ethics Center (COLE) at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and a professor at its Pratt School of Engineering.

The COLE center is a leadership laboratory with programming for all of Duke’s Daytime MBA students and convenes think tank gatherings across sectors to explore today’s complex leadership challenges and create positive societal impact.

Sanyin’s mission in life is to enable greatness in others as an educator, parent, mentor, author, CEO coach, and advisor.

Bruce Walker serves as Associate Director – Television & Entertainment Division for the D.C. Office of Cable Television, Film, Music & Entertainment. Under the direction of the Mayor’s office, the agency serves as the media platform for government agencies and community awareness.

Mr. Walker is a talented senior level executive who began his career at Motown Records and rose quickly to become Senior Vice President of Artists & Repertoire and General Manager of its jazz label MoJazz.

Bruce helped in the expansion of DreamWorks SKG’s music division as General Manager, executive produced the first BET Awards Red Carpet special, and eventually co-founded his own production company, B-Sharp Records and Entertainment.

Learn more about the Board of Directors here.

About
The Congressional Award is the United States Congress’ only charity and the highest honor bestowed upon a youth civilian through the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Established by Congress as a public-private partnership in 1979 under Public Law 96-114, the program recognizes initiative, service, and achievement in youth ages 13 ½ – 23.

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538 Students Presented with Congress’ Most Prestigious Honor for Youth

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 28, 2019
Washington, DC

For reporters working on national stories and/or members of TV, radio, new media broadcasting:
Martine Charles
(206) 295-9114
martine@marcglobalcommunications.com

Sharon Liggins
(818) 207-5027
sharon.liggins@gmail.com

For reporters working on local stories, partner organization/congressional staff inquiries, or general information:
Derek Doyle
(301) 676-3882
doyle@congressionalaward.org

If you are not a member of the media but would like to learn more, please use the Contact Us page.


Humbling. Inspirational. Optimistic. These are words not always found buzzing around Capitol Hill. But the 2019 Congressional Award Gold Medal Ceremony & Events held on June 19-21 in Washington, D.C. sparked enthusiasm for our nation’s future and ushered in the next generation of servant leaders.

Congress presented The Congressional Award Gold Medal to 538 youth this year, the largest class in the program’s 40-year history. Spanning 42 U.S. states and territories and 181 congressional districts, Gold Medalists contributed 295,206 volunteer hours to their communities, an average of 548 hours per medalist.

The Gold Medal represents the pinnacle of Congress’ award program for youth. The honor requires that each recipient embark on a two year goal-setting journey, logging a minimum of 400 hours of Voluntary Public Service, 200 hours of Personal Development and Physical Fitness, respectively, and a 5 day, 4-night Expedition/Exploration.

Gold Medalist Kamin Bond sports his newly minted Gold Medal.

The multi-day celebration kicked off on Wednesday, June 19th with an early check-in and networking event in the Rayburn House Office Building. Gold Medalists were encouraged to interact with and learn more about their peers through enrichment activities.

Three award ceremonies were held throughout the day on Thursday, June 20th in the U.S. Capitol Visitor’s Center Congressional Auditorium. ABC News Congressional correspondent Mary Bruce, POLITICO senior Washington correspondent Anna Palmer, and CBS News national correspondent Chip Reid each served as Masters of Ceremonies.

The Presentation of Colors and National Anthem were given by the United States Capitol Police Ceremonial Unit. Invocations were provided by Reverend Patrick Conroy, Chaplain of the United States House of Representatives, and Dr. Barry Black, Chaplain of the United States Senate.

U.S. Senators Mitt Romney and Mike Lee present the Horizon Award to Gail Miller.

The Congressional Award Foundation recognized Gail Miller, Owner of the Utah Jazz and Chairwoman of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies, with the Horizon Award. The award recognizes humanitarian leaders in the private sector who have worked to expand opportunities for all Americans through their own personal contributions.

U.S. Senators Mike Lee and Mitt Romney presented the special recognition. “Gail is not only a pillar in our community, [but she is also] an example who serves with grace, and with commitment, and with personal strength,” stated Romney.

Miller issued inspiring remarks to this year’s youth recipients. “These experiences that you’ve had, coupled with your hard work, will serve you well for the rest of your life. The work you have done has provided you with opportunities to shape your own actions and determine your purpose in life.”

U.S. Representative Brian Mast with Inspiration Awardee Lynn Lyons and South Florida Gold Medalists.

Florida mentor and former Congressional Award Board Member Lynn Lyons was recognized with the Inspiration Award for her exemplary service in advising Congressional Award participants. Mrs. Lyons is a retired educator and has guided over 500 youth in Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties.

Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) presented the award and commended Lynn for her unparalleled mentorship. “We’re proud of these young men and women because they have already learned one of the most important lessons through this program [The Congressional Award] – how to live your life without regret. And Lynn gives them the drive to achieve and pursue something bigger and more important than themselves.”

Paxton Baker, Congressional Award Chairman; U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18); Gold Medalist Jana Sabri of Irving, TX; U.S. Representative John Carter (TX-31); U.S. Representative Bill Flores (TX-17).

Congressional Award Board Member Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18) captured the selfless achievement of the Gold Medalists by saying, “The values of this organization emphasize that Americans can serve anywhere and everywhere. And all Americans can serve regardless of race, religion, or viewpoint.”

Over 70 Members of Congress attended the ceremony to present their constituents with the Gold Medal. Other Congressional speakers included Senator Richard Burr (NC), Senator Mike Enzi (WY), and Congressman Richard Hudson (NC-08).

U.S. Representative Ami Bera (CA-07) provides guidance and inspiration to students with ambitions of landing a career in a STEM field.

STEM Stars Reception
Following the Gold Medal Ceremony, guests made their way to the second annual STEM Stars Reception presented by Bayer in the historic Kennedy Caucus Room of the Russell Senate Office Building. The event honored the 196 youth who logged science, technology, engineering, and math activities in pursuit of their Gold Medal.

Bayer, the life science industry leader with more than 150 years of experience, was presented with the Corporate Commitment to America’s Youth Award for advancing STEM literacy among youth.

U.S. Representatives with a background in related fields presented the STEM Stars, including Senator Ron Wyden (OR) and Congressman Ami Bera (CA-07).

Bayer’s Ray Kerins emphasized the importance of educating and preparing students to become tomorrow’s leaders and innovators. “STEM continues to play a vital role in our nation’s economy and prosperity. We need to continue to inspire current and future youth generations to pursue STEM careers by helping them get access to the best resources and programs to succeed.”

Panel Discussions
The Congressional Award organized a series of expert panels on June 21st to compliment this year’s ceremony. Gold Medalists and guests heard from industry leaders on the most relevant and pressing issues facing society today. Each of the five panels offered not only valuable insight and inspiration but provided youth with an avenue to engage with their peers and ask questions from experienced professionals.

Set in the Member’s Room of the Library of Congress, A Lifetime of Service focused on the importance of extending volunteerism past the Gold Medal. The panel showcased non-profit organizations, national partners, professionals who have service-focused careers, and alumni who are making a difference in their communities.

Moderator: Jevin Hodge – LINK Strategic Partners
Gina Cross – AmeriCorps NCCC
Steve Culbertson – Youth Service America
Maura Fulton – Peace Corps
Javier LaFianza – HOBY

The Entrepreneurship panel took place in the Rayburn House Office Building. This discussion shared origin stories of business owners, investors, and executives.

Moderator: Sanyin Siang – COLE, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business
Michael Akin – LINK Strategic Partners
Mark Ein – Entrepreneur & Investor
Sandra Evers-Manly – Northrop Grumman
Cece Morken – Intuit
U.S. Representative Nydia Velazquez (NY-07)

Hosted at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Empowering Women conversation illustrated how girls have the power to transform themselves, their communities, and the world around them.

Moderator: Jessica Grounds – Mine the Gap
Gina Adams – FedEx
U.S. Representative Abby Finkenauer (IA-01)
Susan Fisher Sterling – NMWA
Gail Miller – Larry H. Miller Group of Companies, Utah Jazz

The Travel with Purpose panel took place in the Rayburn House Office Building and challenged attendees to ignite their inner explorer. Conversation points ranged from traveling ethically to packing efficiently for long international trips.

Moderator: Angie Ange – Angie Ange in the Morning, College is Cool Inc.
Merrill Eisenhower Atwater – People to People International
Dr. Alex Cromwell – George Washington University
George Stone – National Geographic Travel

The Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy served as the host venue for the Sports, Health, and Wellness panel. This conversation illustrated the variety of careers in the world of sports.

Moderators: Tommy McFly and Kelly Collis – The Tommy Show
John Bramlette – Washington Nationals Dream Foundation
Derrick Dockery – Former NFL Player
Pops Mensah-Bonsu – Capital City Go-Go
Tanya Vogel – George Washington University – Athletics

Day at the Ballpark
Capping off the celebration, the Washington Nationals hosted Congressional Award Gold Medalists at Nationals Park on June 21st for a memorable day.

Gold Medalists took a photo on the diamond at midday and were invited to the Washington Nationals vs. Atlanta Braves game that evening. The group was even recognized during the 2nd inning.

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The Congressional Award is the U.S. Congress’ only charity and award program for youth. Established by Congress as a public-private partnership in 1979 under Public Law 96-114, the program recognizes initiative, service, and achievement in youth ages 13 ½ – 23.


Resources
View the complete list of 2019 Gold Medalists.

Download a PDF copy of the 2019 Gold Medal Ceremony Program Book.

View the Gold Medal Ceremony & Events photo gallery.

Visit the 2019 Gold Medal Ceremony press kit.

Learn more about the panel discussions.

Bayer Earns Top National Honor from The Congressional Award

Company receives award for advancing STEM literacy among youth


Washington, DC (June 25, 2019) — Bayer’s enduring commitment to American youth was recognized by The Congressional Award Foundation with the Corporate Commitment to America’s Youth Award last week. This special recognition highlights the life science leader’s creation and support of STEM initiatives that are helping to prepare the next generation of leaders and make science more accessible in communities nationwide.

The award was presented to Bayer representatives by the United States Congress at The Congressional Award’s Second Annual STEM Stars Reception on June 20, 2019 in Washington, D.C.

“Our youth participants have the chance to become the innovators, educators, researchers, and leaders able to solve the world’s most pressing challenges. The Congressional Award has a central responsibility to support tomorrow’s leaders today and we’re honored to work with and learn from an organization that shares this ideal,” said Paxton K. Baker, Chairman of The Congressional Award National Board of Directors.

Bayer’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs Ray Kerins accepts the Corporate Commitment to Youth Award from The Congressional Award Foundation’s Chairman Paxton Baker and members of the Board of Directors.

Bayer is a Founding Partner of The Congressional Award STEM Stars Initiative, a project aimed at stoking passion for science and math at an age when many young people lose interest in them. The collaboration leverages Bayer’s 150+ years of scientific innovation with The Congressional Award’s decades-long experience of fostering community involvement to equip youth with the ability and confidence to explore science.

“We are honored and proud to be recognized for our longstanding commitment to STEM and to receive this prestigious award from The Congressional Award Foundation,” said Ray Kerins, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Bayer. “STEM continues to play a vital role in our nation’s economy and prosperity. We need to continue to inspire current and future youth generations to pursue STEM careers by helping them get access to the best resources and programs to succeed. The gold medal recipients are a true testament to the great talent we have in the next generation of STEM leaders.”

18 year-olds Divya Srihari of Chesterfield, Missouri and Kunal Kanwar of Edison, New Jersey are two beneficiaries of the STEM-focused partnership, both 2019 Congressional Award Gold Medalists and STEM Star recipients.

Divya advanced her career development in pediatric medicine by volunteering at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and participating in research programs like Students and Teachers as Research Scientists (STARS) and the Heart Rate Variability Lab. Divya even founded her own non-profit, GINHA (Global Initiative for Nutrition and Health Awareness), to educate school children about healthy nutrition and the risks of excessive sugar consumption. She is humbled to “serve diverse socio-economic communities in greater St. Louis while growing her knowledge of biomedical research.”

Kunal learned about medical practices by aiding healthcare professionals at local hospitals and developed his building, programming, and design skills through robotics. From these experiences he has “learned not only hard skills in computer programming, but how to be an effective leader.”

Representatives of Bayer congratulate the 2019 STEM Stars class.

Since launching the partnership in June 2018, Bayer has helped Congress’ charity reach new and diverse audiences and grow to over 50,000 participants. In just a year’s time, 317 students from 33 states have earned a STEM Star and combined for 95,110 STEM activity hours in local communities.

Bayer actively offers opportunities for students to access hands-on STEM programming through school support, scholarships, baylabs, internships, and the Making Science Make Sense program.

Always innovating and never satisfied with the status quo, Bayer finds simple and elegant ways to expose STEM-related concepts to youth in everyday life.

U.S. Representative Ami Bera (CA-07) provides guidance and inspiration to students with ambitions of landing a career in a STEM field.

The company’s annual Alka-Rocket Challenge is an event where student scientists compete for a chance to win $30,000 and to break the Guinness World Record for the highest launch of a rocket powered by Alka-Seltzer tablets.

Science Studio by Bayer was launched in December 2018, an Amazon Alexa Skill that offers STEM homework assistance and step-by-step instructions for kid-friendly experiments that can be done in and outside the home.

About The Congressional Award
The Congressional Award is the United States Congress’ only charity and the highest honor bestowed upon a youth civilian through the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Established by Congress as a public-private partnership in 1979 under Public Law 96-114, the program recognizes initiative, service, and achievement in youth ages 13 ½ – 23.

Bayer: Science For A Better Life
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of health care and nutrition. Its products and services are designed to benefit people by supporting efforts to overcome the major challenges presented by a growing and aging global population. At the same time, the Group aims to increase its earning power and create value through innovation and growth. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development, and the Bayer brand stands for trust, reliability and quality throughout the world. In fiscal 2018, the Group employed around 117,000 people and had sales of 39.6 billion euros. Capital expenditures amounted to 2.6 billion euros, R&D expenses to 5.2 billion euros. For more information, go to www.bayer.us.

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Congress to Honor Youth Nationwide with Congressional Award Gold Medal

Contact:
Derek Doyle – (301) 676-3882, doyle@congressionalaward.org
Martine Charles – (206) 295-9114, martine@marcglobalcommunications.com
Sharon Liggins – (818) 207-5027, sharon.liggins@gmail.com
Washington, DC


What: Members of the United States Senate and House of Representatives will recognize 538 youth across 42 states and territories at the 2019 Congressional Award Gold Medal Ceremony.

The Congressional Award Gold Medal is the highest honor a member of Congress may bestow upon a youth civilian. For a minimum of two years, each Gold Medalist has logged at least 800 hours across four program areas: Voluntary Public Service, Personal Development, Physical Fitness, and Expedition/Exploration.

The 2019 Gold Medal class is the largest in the program’s 40-year history.

Who: Approximately 1,000 attendees, including Members of Congress, youth Gold Medalists and family/friends, corporate and community leaders, and partnering organizations.

When & Where:

Thursday, June 20, 2019 | Gold Medal Ceremonies
U.S Capitol Visitor Center – Congressional Auditorium
First St NE, Washington, DC 20515

10:00 a.m. | Ceremony I
Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, and Wyoming.

Confirmed Guest Speakers: U.S. Senator Mitt Romney and Horizon Awardee Gail Miller (Owner of Utah Jazz, Co-Founder of Larry H. Miller Group of Companies).

12:30 p.m. | Ceremony II
Alabama, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

Confirmed Guest Speaker: U.S. Representative Richard Hudson (NC-08)

3:00 p.m. | Ceremony III
Arizona, Armed Services Abroad, California, Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.

Confirmed Guest Speakers: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, U.S. Representative Brian Mast (FL-18), and Inspiration Awardee Lynn Lyons.

Friday, June 21, 2019 | Panel Discussions

8:30 – 10:00 a.m. | A Lifetime of Service
Library of Congress – Thomas Jefferson Building – The Member’s Room
9101 Independence Ave SE, Washington, DC 20540

Panelists: Gina Cross (AmeriCorps NCCC), Steve Culbertson (Youth Service America), Maura Fulton (Peace Corps), Javier LaFianza (HOBY), U.S. Representative Doris Matsui (CA-06)

Moderator: Jevin Hodge (LINK Strategic Partners)

8:30 – 10:00 a.m. | Entrepreneurship
2168 Rayburn House Office Building – The Gold Room
45 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20515

Panelists: Michael Akin (LINK Strategic Partners), Sandra Evers-Manly (Northrop Grumman), Mark Ein (Entrepreneur & Investor), Cece Morken (Intuit), U.S. Representative Nydia Velazquez (NY-07)

Moderator: Sanyin Siang (COLE, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business)

1:30 – 3:00 p.m. | Travel with Purpose
2168 Rayburn House Office Building – The Gold Room
45 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20515

Panelists: Merrill Eisenhower Atwater (People to People International), Dr. Alex Cromwell (George Washington University), George Stone (National Geographic Travel)

Moderator: Angie Ange (Angie Ange in the Morning, College is Cool Inc.)

1:30 – 3:00 p.m. | Empowering Women
National Museum of Women in the Arts
1250 New York Ave NW, Washington, DC 20005

Panelists: Gina Adams (FedEx), Susan Fisher Sterling (NMWA), Gail Miller (Larry H. Miller Group of Companies, Utah Jazz)

Moderator: Jessica Grounds (Mine the Gap)

3:30 – 5:00 p.m. | Sports, Health, and Wellness
Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy
3675 Ely Pl SE, Washington, DC 20019

Panelists: John Bramlette (Washington Nationals Dream Foundation), Derrick Dockery (Former NFL Player), Pops Mensah-Bonsu (GM of the Capital City Go-Go), Tanya Vogel (George Washington University).

Moderators: Tommy McFly and Kelly Collis (The Tommy Show)

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The Congressional Award is the U.S. Congress’ only charity and award program for youth. Established by Congress as a public-private partnership in 1979 under Public Law 96-114, the program recognizes initiative, service, and achievement in youth ages 13 ½ – 23.

Remembering the ‘Senator’s Senator’ Thad Cochran

June 5, 2019 (Washington, D.C.) – The Congressional Award family is saddened to hear of the passing of former U.S. Senator Thad Cochran.

Senator Cochran (5th from right) recognizes Congressional Award recipients in 2000.

Serving in Congress for more than four decades, in both the Senate and House, Thad was affectionately known as the “quiet persuader.” Soft spoken, but powerful. He represented elegance and civility in policy-making.

The Congressional Award Foundation was fortunate enough to work with Senator Cochran on multiple initiatives in Mississippi. As a nation, we will strive to use his example of dignity and respect in our pursuits and daily interactions.

Our condolences are with Thad’s far-reaching band of supporters during this time of grieving.