Recognizing exceptional achievement

    Four individuals and one team from Lincoln Laboratory receive
    2014 MIT Excellence Awards

At a ceremony held on 25 February in the Kresge Auditorium on the MIT campus, 12 members of MIT Lincoln Laboratory accepted 2014 MIT Excellence Awards. The awardees were recognized for outstanding contributions that promote MIT's research, educational, and civic missions.

Photo of John Darby MitchellJ. Darby Mitchell (center) is the recipient of a 2014 "Bringing Out the Best" Award. Seen with him at the awards ceremony are (left to right) Edmund Bertschinger, Institute Community and Equity Officer, MIT; Eric D. Evans, Director, MIT Lincoln Laboratory; Martin A. Schmidt, Provost, MIT; and Israel Ruiz, Executive Vice President and Treasurer, MIT. (Photograph by Graham Gordon Ramsay.)

John Darby Mitchell, a member of the technical staff in the Cyber Systems and Technology Group, received a "Bringing Out the Best" award for fostering a team-oriented approach for developing software. He is credited by his nominator as promoting an environment that allows all members of a team to contribute, learn, and gain confidence in their abilities.

"Serving the Client" awards were presented to Michael Doiron, a graphic artist in the Advanced Concepts and Technologies Group, and Albert Traniello, a mechanical project technician in the Optical Engineering Group. Doiron was recognized for his ability to transform technological concepts into clear, precise illustrations that effectively communicate the complex work of the Laboratory. One nominator complimented Doiron's attention to understanding the needs of both the deliverers of and the audience for the technical presentations his artwork supports. Traniello received the award for his commitment to supporting the engineering staff, his willingness to mentor others, and his continuing efforts to learn new skills. His nominator cited Traniello's contributions to building the optical module for the successful Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration, a NASA program that demonstrated unprecedented optical communications from the Moon to Earth.

Photo of Michael Doiron Photo of Albert Traniello
"Serving the Client" Awards were presented to Michael Doiron (center, left photograph) and Albert Traniello (center, right photograph). (Photographs by Graham Gordon Ramsay.)

Stefan Wolpert, a member of the technical staff in the Homeland Protection Systems Group, and the eight members of the cross-divisional Virtual Conference Development Support Team received "Unsung Hero" awards.

Photo of Stefan WolpertAn "Unsung Hero" Award was presented to Stefan Wolpert (center). (Photo: G.G. Ramsay)

Wolpert was honored for his technical skills in embedded software, wireless communications, microprocessors, and low-power electronics, all of which fuel his development of innovative technologies for border security. His nominators emphasized his willingness to work in harsh climates and landscapes to test his prototypes under the conditions in which they might be used. The conference support team—composed of Laura Bloom, Daniel DiPrima, Matthew Ellis, Justin Lacroix, Tom Schultz, and Kevin Zablonski from the Air and Missile Defense Technology Division; Steven Schoeffler of the Cyber Security and Information Sciences Division; and Kevin Van Steensel of the Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance and Tactical Systems Division—were recognized for designing a virtual reality approach to connect offsite "attendees" to conferences held at Lincoln Laboratory. Their work not only enabled as many as 600 participants per conference to tune into events they were unable to travel to because of government budget cuts, but also provided a road map for future virtual conferences.

Photo of the Virtual Conference Development Support TeamThe Virtual Conference Development Support Team accepted "Unsung Hero" awards. The team consists of (front row, left to right) Daniel DiPrima, Tom Schultz, Laura Bloom, Steven Schoeffler, and (second row, left to right) Matthew Ellis, Kevin Zablonski, Justin Lacroix, and Kevin Van Steensel. (Photo: G.G. Ramsay)

Since 1991, the Excellence Awards have recognized employees from departments, offices, divisions, and laboratories across MIT who exemplify the goals of the Institute: to advance knowledge, to educate students, and "to develop in each member of the MIT community the ability and passion to work wisely, creatively, and effectively for the betterment of humankind."

This year's awards program introduced a special honor, the Collier Medal, established in recognition of MIT Police Officer Sean Collier, who was killed in the line of duty in 2013. The medal is given to a person or group that exemplifies the dedication to community service exhibited by Officer Collier. The first Collier Medal was presented to the 56 volunteers who run the MIT Emergency Medical Services, a student-run ambulance service. 

More information about the MIT Excellence Awards can be found at

Posted March 2014

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