Government Innovation Awards

Congratulations to the 2021 Rising Stars

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Each year, the Rising Star Awards recognize individuals who are early in their federal IT careers yet already are having an outsized impact. The women and men listed below have been selected both for their accomplishments over the past year and for their leadership potential in this community.

These awards are part of our larger Government Innovation Awards program. A joint effort of FCW, GCN, Washington Technology and Defense Systems, these awards also recognize the companies supporting the government's transformation and the most innovative technology initiatives across the public sector. The 2021 Public Sector Innovation winners and Industry Innovators were announced today as well.

We'll be running full profiles of the 2021 Rising Stars in early November. Until then, here's a quick salute this year's winners — 10 individuals we're confident you'll be hearing about for years to come:

  • Saxfield T. Chatmon
    Electrical Engineer, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division
    Department of the Navy
  • Nathan Cunningham
    Policy Advisor, Office of Disability Employment Policy
    Department of Labor
  • Salomeh Ghorbani
    Lead Program Manager
    General Services Administration
  • Matthew Heath
    Information Security Specialist & Team Lead
    Ace Info Solutions
  • Travis S. Kelley
    CIO, Infrastructure & Operations Division
    Defense Health Agency
  • Tanya Mathur
    Manager, Enterprise Analytics
    Tennessee Valley Authority
  • Logan Metcalf
    Business Manager, FEDSIM
    General Services Administration
  • Sasha Samochina
    Group Manager, Data Visualization and Infusion
    NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
    Note: Ms. Samochina recently left JPL for a new organization.
  • Lissa Warner
    Senior Security Specialist
  • Jessica Wong
    Business Analyst
    Office of Personnel Management

About the Author

Troy K. Schneider is the Editor-in-Chief of both FCW and GCN, two of the oldest and most influential publications in public-sector IT. Both publications (originally known as Federal Computer Week and Government Computer News, respectively) are owned by GovExec. Mr. Schneider also serves GovExec's General Manager for Government Technology Brands.

Mr. Schneider previously served as New America Foundation’s Director of Media & Technology, and before that was Managing Director for Electronic Publishing at the Atlantic Media Company, where he oversaw the online operations of The Atlantic Monthly, National Journal, The Hotline and The Almanac of American Politics, among other publications. The founding editor of, Mr. Schneider also helped launch the political site in the mid-1990s, and worked on the earliest online efforts of the Los Angeles Times and Newsday. He began his career in print journalism, and has written for a wide range of publications, including The New York Times,, Slate, Politico, Governing, and many of the other titles listed above.

Mr. Schneider is a graduate of Indiana University, where his emphases were journalism, business and religious studies.


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