Team at Brooks AFB Wins Hammer Award for Internet-Based
at Brooks Air Force Base in Texas can answer for themselves the
rhetorical question posed in Trini Lopez’s 1960s hit song "If
I Had A Hammer." Now the base’s Air Force Research Laboratory
has one—Vice President Gore’s Hammer Award for reinventing government.
It’s the first such award on the base.
absolutely stunned," said Dr. Kurk Steuck, the research psychologist
whose 11-member team got the award in a ceremony last month. The
team, which includes private sector consultants and local high
school teachers, developed skills training software in math, writing,
and science. This led to intranet-based versions now in use and
then an Internet-based version of the writing tutor that has a
group inaugurated the tutors in 1990 as part of a Fundamental
Skills Training Project. Several Department of Labor Job Corps
centers and 40 public schools nationwide use the three tutors.
say the tutors work. Pam Cockrell at the Ouachita Civilian Conservation
Center, a Job Corps center outside Royal, AR, said three of her
students used the writing tutor to improve their essay writing.
They got their scores high enough to take the GED (general equivalency
diploma) exams. "I really need to use the system because
I know it works," she said.
of Labor officials, for whom Steuck’s team is developing the Internet
version of the writing tutor, encouraged the Brooks scientist
to submit his project for award consideration. Government labor
leaders consider the project so valuable that DOL has committed
$1 million over two years to develop and field it.
is exploring ways to use the writing tutor to train its employees
in writing plain language business letters, memorandums, e-mail
messages and even cover letters for resumes. Plain language is
a key component of Gore’s reinventing government initiative.
of the possible applications to the Air Force is helping officers
write plain language reports, evaluations, letters, and other
documents." Steuck said.
the Winning Team
award-winning team includes San Antonio-based Mei Technology’s
Todd Miller, Thomas N. Meyer and Monika Kretschmer; Command Technologies
Inc.’s James Johnson, Melinda Crevoisier, Chris Allen and Marcia
Cromley; and MacArthur High School teachers Carolyn Peshy, D’Anne
Redmon and Virginia Alford.
is on the staff of the Air Force Research Laboratory in the Human
Effectiveness Directorate’s Information Training Branch His team’s
work is part of the Sustainable Intelligent Training System for
Global Mission Applications (SIGMA) project.
About the Hammer Award
award, administered by the National Partnership for Reinventing
Government, counters the notion of a government that would spend
$400 on a hammer. It rewards teams of federal workers and their
outside partners who put customers first, cut costs, empower employees,
cut red tape, and achieve results Americans care about. Hammer
Award recipients receive a $6 hammer, a ribbon and a note from
the Vice President encased in an aluminum frame. More than 1200
awards have been presented since 1994.
For more information about Hammer Awards, visit http://www.npr.gov/library/awards/hammer/.
To find out about the Plain Language Initiative, visit http://www.plainlanguage.gov.
Purificato is a Science & Technology Communications Specialist
at the Air Force Research Laboratory at Brooks Air Force Base,
Texas. You may reach him at (210) 536-2846 or firstname.lastname@example.org.