Big wins for ARL public affairs team in MACOM competition

March 20, 2013

Story Highlights

  • ARL public affairs team wins several categories in major journalism competition
  • ARL’s team ranked in print journalism, broadcast, new media and community relations categories.
  • Community relations program around a gardening project took first place at AMC level

The Army Research Laboratory's Public Affairs Office placed in several categories at the Army Materiel Command level of the 2012 Maj. Gen. Keith L. Ware Public Affairs Awards Communication Competition. This marks the first year ARL's public affairs office has competed in the competition.

"When you think of the size of AMC and the number of public affairs offices and personnel working public affairs issues for the command, I consider our results absolutely superior and I'm proud of this office's on-going efforts in bringing the best public affairs support we possibly can to the laboratory," said Tom Moyer, chief of ARL's public affairs office. "I believe RDECOM and AMC can surely see the results of our efforts."

The public affairs competition was established in 1970 in the Pentagon to recognize Soldiers and Department of the Army civilian employees for excellence in furthering the objectives of the Department of the Army Public Affairs program.

This year's entries "were first class," said Lira Frye, public affairs team lead for public and congressional affairs at the Army Materiel Command Headquarters at Redstone Arsenal, Ala.

The lone first place win for ARL was "Vegu-cational Outreach," a community gardening project that competed as a special event community relations program. It sprouted from ARL's STEM efforts on APG, and will next compete against programs developed from U.S. Army Forces Command, United States Army Corps of Engineers, Installation Management Command, National Guard Bureau and other major commands.

It was the brainchild of T'Jae Gibson, who with public affairs colleague Joyce Conant and ARL STEM Coordinator Dr. Sandra K. Young transformed a routine 2012 Earth Day event into a multi-faceted outreach program for Greater Harford County Youth.

The program combined chemistry, geography, material science, civil engineering and mechanical engineering with horticulture, agriculture and nutrition, Gibson said.

"A major highlight of the effort was the overwhelming community support garnered by Renee Main of the Edgewood Area's Child, Youth and School Services. Local farmers donated seedlings and starter plants, which helped the greenhouse blossom," she said.

Gibson secured Celebrity Chef Jason Hisley, winner of the Food Network's Cupcake Wars, Season 4, to serve as honorary community ambassador, who helped create a signature cupcake, "Zuccocholate", which was named by an APG youth. The cupcake featured zucchini grown in the APG Youth Center's community garden, and was available for a limited time at a popular Bel Air pastry shop, Flavor Cupcakery.

Other ARL contributions were Dr. Lisa Marvel, Teresa Resetar Racine, Sgt. 1st Class Alpi Reyes Cruz, Sgt. Steven McGloin and Sgt. 1st Class Lafonte Bennett. Adelphi Laboratory Center's Larry Shank and retired ARL employee Ann Bornstein also supported the first place program.

Winning second place in the major command competition for the Community Relations Program category was The Young Women in Science and Engineering College & Career Workshop, created by Dr. Melanie Will-Cole, WMRD; T'Jae Gibson, public affairs; Yvonne Gabriel, Aberdeen High School's Science and Math Academy and Emma Dill, Battelle, won second place in the Community Relations Program category.

ARL's presence on Facebook and YouTube won second place in the Initiatives in New Media category. These efforts are managed by Joyce Brayboy, Darrell Roll and T'Jae Gibson.

"Beyond Protection; ARL Ballistic expertise improves personal protection," a segment about material research on ARL's magazine program Inside the Lab, won second place in the Television Information Program category. The show featured ARL Research Engineer Tyrone Jones, of the Weapons and Material Research Directorate, and was produced, written and directed by T'Jae Gibson. Larry Shank and Brenah Srour were co-producers and editors.

ARL's 2011 Annual Review, developed under the creative direction of Kathy Zubey, and supported by ARL's graphic artists, won third place in the Newsletter category.

The laboratory's public website,, placed third in the Website Category. The site is managed by Tom Moyer, Darrell Roll and the webmasters from ARL's AMDB.

In the News Feature Article category, "ARL's gift to modern medicine," placed third. The article, written by T'Jae Gibson, featured a basic scientific research effort for soldier weaponry began at the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies that evolved into a medical application that today is saving soldier – and civilian – lives.

The Secretary of the Army sponsors this competition annually. The Office of the Chief of Public Affairs conducts judging with a goal of ensuring the best internal information efforts receive recognition for professional excellence and outstanding achievement. The KLW Competition aligns as closely as possible with the annual Department of Defense Thomas Jefferson Awards Program. The KLW competition also includes the Army's Community Relations Award program and the SGM Dawn Kilpatrick AUSA Memorial Scholarship Award.


Last Update / Reviewed: March 20, 2013