US flag Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

CBP Scientists Named Emerging Leader Finalists for 2020 Service to America Medals

Release Date: 
May 6, 2020

Two U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) scientists from Operations Support’s Laboratories and Scientific Services, Chicago Laboratory, were selected as finalists in the 2020 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals—or the Sammies—an award program that honors federal employees who exemplify excellence and dedication through noteworthy and inspiring acts.

Andrew Laurence, Ph.D. and Shannon Ferguson, Ph.D., pollen analysis experts in the federal government’s only forensic palynology program, were chosen as finalists in the Emerging Leaders category, which highlights the significant contributions of federal professionals 35 and younger.

Laurence, 33, and Ferguson, 32, analyze pollen and spores that provide critical clues to solving and understanding crime—gathering information on where a seized packet of fentanyl originated and possibly even its route of travel, to identifying an assailant or victim. These clues have assisted law enforcement authorities in prosecuting hundreds of criminals.

CBP is asking for your vote to help highlight the outstanding contributions of two emerging leaders whose dedication to service and excellence is helping to bring criminals to justice. Offering your support in the form of continued voting will propel Laurence and Ferguson closer to garnering an additional recognition for their efforts—the People’s Choice award.

The first round of voting ends May 26 at 8:59 p.m. (ET) after which 12 finalists will be selected to continue to the final round of voting slated to end June 26 at 8:59 (ET).

Click on this link to vote for Andrew Laurence and Shannon Ferguson. You may cast your vote once every 24 hours.

To learn more about the CBP forensic palynology program and the intricacies of pollen as it relates to the CBP mission, read more here.

Last modified: 
May 6, 2020