BESTie Ryan Shelby (PhD, 2012/2013) was selected as winner of the 2019 Sammie Award for excellence in government service in the category of National Security and International Affairs. He was recognized for providing “vital training and resources to help people in Haiti rebuild thousands of homes and roofs ripped apart by a Category 4 hurricane, making the structures safer and stronger to withstand future disasters” while he was serving as a Diplomatic Attaché and Foreign Service Engineering Officer for the US Agency for International Development in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
The Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals, (Sammies) honor members of the federal government workforce who have made significant contributions to the governance of the United States. The awards are considered “the Oscars” of American government service. His nomination was partially based on the Blum article that the Blum Center for Developing Economies that was posted in January 2019: Pursuing a Career in Engineering Co-Design.
Ryan was also interviewed on the Full Frontal with Samantha B show using a mock Oscar format (see about 3 min. 36 sec. in).
Dr. Ryan Shelby, a diplomatic attaché and foreign service engineering officer for the U.S. Agency for International Development, was chosen for the National Security and International Affairs Medal for his work supporting reconstruction efforts in Haiti after it was struck by a 2016 hurricane with disaster-resistant building design.
The Federal Times provides more on the contribution: 2019 Sammies winners reveal the inspiration for their public service. “It’s the community members themselves that were leading the recovery efforts,” said Shelby, explaining that the success of his work hinged on making sure that the recovery efforts focused on what the local Haitians actually wanted and needed.
“When we went to the local schools and actually repaired some of their sanitation blocks and other toilet facilities, that really warmed my heart. Because during the process of some of this repair work, we were able to interact with some of these students. They didn’t have proper sanitary facilities and they were embarrassed about not being able to have that, and so sometimes they would just choose not to go to school. And we listened to them talk about how this work was able to give them some of their dignity back.”
The Sammie awards were also featured in the Washington Post: Oscars for Government Service.
Ryan Shelby graduated with in Spring 2013 with dissertation “Co-Designing Sustainable Communities: The Identification and Incorporation of Social Performance Metrics in Native American Sustainable Housing and Renewable Energy System Design”.