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UPDATE: Three Applied Sciences' staff members received NASA agency awards. We're thrilled to acknowledge the recognition of Sue Estes in the Health and Air Quality program area. The story below has been updated accordingly.


Congratulations to the three Applied Sciences’ outstanding members receiving NASA agency awards! The commendations recognize excellence in their fields and leadership within the agency. 

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Sue Estes received a NASA Exceptional Public Service Medal for her work as a senior associate program manager for the Health and Air Quality program area. The accolade cites Estes' significant contributions to NASA projects, programs and initiatives in managing public health projects, leading workshops and conference sessions and contributing to the expansion of the program.

“Sue is renowned for her expertise and logistics acumen," said John Haynes, lead of the Health and Air Quality (HAQ) program area. "Her management skills have allowed the HAQ Applications Program to achieve the great successes of the past decade.”

With over 30 years of experience working in public health, Estes conducts education, outreach and general management of public health projects. She is also a research scientist at the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). 

"I am humbled by this award. It was a great honor and had no idea I had been nominated," Estes told the UAH. "This is the greatest honor I have received in my career." 

More on Estes work can be found at the UAH website, "NASA awards Exceptional Public Service Medal to ESSC’s Sue Estes."


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John Haynes leads the Health and Air Quality program area and he received NASA’s Exceptional Service Medal. This award is granted to the U.S. government employee for significant sustained performance, characterized by unusual initiative or creative ability that clearly demonstrates substantial improvement in engineering, aeronautics, space flight, administration support or space-related endeavors.  

“In a year in which the entire world was undergoing the COVID-19 health crisis, John led his team to go above and beyond their usual standard of excellent to incredible new heights,” said Lawrence Friedl, director of Applied Sciences. “John’s dedication, leadership and enthusiasm for getting NASA Earth science data into the hand of people who can use it is extraordinary.”  

As program manager, Haynes oversees a portfolio of Health and Air Quality applications projects. He is also the co-chair of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Health Community of Practice and the GEO Earth Observations for Health initiative. In 2020 he and his team led data collaborations and had the flexibility to pivot existing projects to address COVID-19, as well as supplied expertise on NASA’s COVID-19 Earth Observation dashboards.  

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Keith Gaddis is the deputy program manager for both the Biological Diversity group in NASA Earth Science’s Research and Analysis and the Applied Sciences’ Ecological Forecasting program area. He received NASA’s Early Career Public Achievement Medal. The medal is awarded for unusual and significant performance during the first 10 years of an individual's early career as a non-government employee in support of NASA.  

 “Keith combines the spirit of a creative innovator with that of a methodical planner—a pairing that has allowed him to revolutionize our programs,” says Woody Turner, head of both the Biological Diversity and the Ecological Forecasting programs. 

An ecologist and biogeographer by training, Gaddis uses his expertise using remote sensing and genetics to address questions in ecology, evolution and conservation biology. At NASA, Keith manages the budget and panel review process, facilitates award funding, supports investigator reporting and collaboration and prepares internal and external communications materials. Gaddis also represents NASA in several interagency relationships with other executive branch agencies as well as leading collaborations with organizations like Conservation International.  


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