Todd Johnson receives 2013 Director’s Award

Fermilab Director Nigel Lockyer presents Accelerator Division’s Todd Johnson with the 2013 Director’s Award for his outstanding volunteer work with K-12 students. Photo: Cindy Arnold

Fermilab Director Nigel Lockyer took time last week to thank employees who have volunteered in the lab’s precollege education programs during the past year.

In a reception held in Wilson Hall’s second-floor crossover on Thursday, Oct. 3, Lockyer presented nine awards to outstanding Fermilab volunteers, including the 2013 Director’s Award for excellence in precollege education, given to Accelerator Division Operations Specialist Todd Johnson.

The award is given annually to an employee, user, graduate student, retiree or guest scientist who contributed significantly to Fermilab’s K-12 education programs.

“Todd has demonstrated an outstanding ability to connect with students,” Lockyer said. “He speaks with hundreds of students and scouts visiting the lab each year and reaches thousands more by designing and building exhibits that are creative, visually engaging and scientifically rich.”

Johnson said he often gets requests to speak to tour groups coming through the laboratory. In regard to exhibit design, he most recently worked on the Cosmic Ray Shower in the Lederman Science Education Center — an installation that uses lights and sound to illustrate the charged particles that “spray” down on Earth from outer space.

Johnson said that, despite several previous nominations, the award was unexpected.

“It was a cool surprise,” he said. “It was very nice to be recognized.”

He also recognized others’ good work in physics outreach.

“I am really in some amazing company,” Johnson said of past Director’s Award winners and this year’s nominees. “I know they all do fantastic stuff.”

Other volunteers honored for their exemplary efforts in student outreach and education were Maurice Ball, Brendan Casey, Curtis Danner, Roger Dixon, Brian Nord, Erik Ramberg, Chris Stoughton and Jerry Zimmerman.

“Almost 50,000 students were reached last year by Fermilab scientists and engineers,” said Susan Dahl, education program leader for the Fermilab Education Office and president of Fermilab Friends for Science Education. “It’s incredible. Thank you all.”

The award is made possible by an anonymous donor to the Fermilab Friends for Science Education, a nonprofit organization connected with the lab.

Sarah Witman