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GOED and USTAR Name Winners of Governor's Medal for Science and Technology

Recipients of the Governor’s Medal for Science and Technology were announced this week. They include seven individuals and one company.

The Governor’s Office of Economic Development and the Utah Science Technology and Research, or USTAR, initiative collaborate on the yearly awards. Dr. Ivy Estabrook is the executive director of USTAR. She says the recipients are nominated by their peers from around the state.

“The folks that were awarded this year came from an incredibility impressive pool,” says Dr. Estabrook. “I mean it really is amazing the talent in science and technology and education that the state of Utah has.”

Four of the honorees are from the University of Utah. Dr. Phillis Coley and Dr. Erik Jorgensen are in the U’s biology department. Also receiving the medal are Dr. Ronald Weiss, President and COO of ARUP Laboratories and Troy D’Ambrosio, executive director of the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute at the David Eccles School of Business. D’Ambrosio says he’s fortunate to be at an institution that makes room for new ways of learning.

“To come and create a unique experience for students, and really taking a concept of ‘can we bring science and engineering students, mix them with business students,” says D’Ambrosio, “tie them with university faculty inventors, and use that experience as a great laboratory for learning?’”

The list of recipients also includes Dr. Christine Celestino from Juan Diego Catholic High School, Dr. Helen Hu, professor of computer science at Westminster College, Niel Holt, director of Utah State University’s Space Dynamics Laboratory, and Orem-based US Synthetic, the largest producer of diamond cutters in the world. The Governor’s Medal has been award annually since 1987.

Bob Nelson is a graduate of the University of Utah with a BA in mass communications. He began his radio career at KUER in 1978 when it was still in Kingsbury Hall. That’s also where he met his wife, Maria Shilaos, in 1981. Bob left KUER for commercial radio where he worked for 25 years, and he is thrilled to be back at KUER. Bob and his family are part of an explorer group, fondly known as The Hordes and Masses, which has been seeking out ghost towns and little-known places in Utah for more than twenty years.
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