Carolyn E. Zerkle, leader of Los Alamos National Laboratory's Stimulus Project, has been named a 2009 winner of the Governor's New Mexico Distinguished Public Service Award.
Zerkle is one of 10 recipients of the prestigious award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to public service and the improvement of government at all levels by private citizens and government employees. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson will host the award winners at a banquet November 12.
Zerkle has worked at LANL for more than 17 years, excelling in numerous positions focused on improving processes and executing difficult institutional projects and programs. In her most recent work as Stimulus Project leader, Zerkle has responsibility to oversee science and technology efforts associated with implementation of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Since undertaking her new role, Zerkle has reached out to the New Mexico community and established positive relationships with the New Mexico Office of Recovery and Reinvestment and municipalities in Roosevelt, Taos, and Los Alamos counties, the city of Las Cruces, and Jemez and Pojoaque pueblos. These interactions have resulted in development of numerous innovative joint proposals between the Laboratory and government entities, including proposals designed to enhance alternative energy sources in the state and to make the state's energy grid more stable, efficient, and environmentally benign.
"Carolyn's leadership has helped secure tens of millions in Recovery Act funds that will boost the economy as well as promote energy efficiency and innovative research," said former Gov. Toney Anaya, director of the New Mexico Office of Recovery and Reinvestment. "Her work is a significant contribution to New Mexico."
Outside of the Laboratory, Zerkle has volunteered in support of community wellness, education and scholarship programs, and children's welfare. She is the codirector of the annual Tour de Los Alamos bicycle race, now in its 38th year. Last year's tour drew more than 200 cyclists, benefiting the local and regional economy, and promoting fitness for all age groups.
She also serves as a board member of the Los Alamos Foundation Employee Scholarship Committee and the Los Alamos Family YMCA. In these roles, Zerkle has organized visits to more than 30 regional schools to discuss scholarship opportunities with high school juniors and seniors. Working with the YMCA, she has focused her enthusiasm in the areas of after-school daycare and childhood wellness activities, and she was part of the decision-making team instrumental in advancing the YMCA-sponsored Espanola Teen Center.
Previous Distinguished Public Service Award recipients from LANL include Karl Braithwaite, former director Siegfried Hecker, Pete Lyons, and Carol Smith.