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USDA Research Agency Honors Information Staffer / February 12, 2003 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service

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Jan Suszkiw

 

USDA Research Agency Honors Information Staffer

By Jim Core
February 12, 2003

BELTSVILLE, Md., Feb. 12—Jan Suszkiw, a public affairs specialist with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), will receive the agency’s “Excellence in Information” award for 2002 today in a ceremony at the Henry A. Wallace Beltsville Agricultural Research Center. ARS is the chief scientific research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Suszkiw regularly reports research findings from more than 200 scientists at various ARS research laboratories around the United States. As a staff writer for ARS, he writes news releases and articles for Agricultural Research magazine. He also oversees the agency’s educational web site for children, “Science for Kids." The website is at:

http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/kids

Suszkiw conceived, developed and launched “Science for Kids” in 1998. The site offers children aged 8-13 a window into agricultural science as it relates to daily life. The site includes a growing series of what is now 65 interactive stories based on ARS scientists’ research. New stories are added regularly, accompanied by photos, graphics, trivia and links to other scientific resources. A Spanish language version of the site, Ciencia Para Niños,” was launched in 2000. The English and Spanish sites help educators, as well as children, on three levels: science, language and computer usage.

“Science for Kids” is one of the most popular ARS web sites. The English and Spanish sites have received nearly 2.7 million hits, and nearly 900 people subscribe via email for updates on new stories.

“Science for Kids” has earned recognition from several distinguished organizations, including the Tech Museum of Innovation in Silicon Valley, Calif.; Skewl Sites, a Web site for teachers by teachers; and the Scout Report, a site based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and funded from a National Science Foundation grant. The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) selected “Science for Kids” for inclusion in its project called “SciLinks,” which features teacher-approved Internet resources in designated textbooks.

The annual “Excellence in Information” honor is awarded to an ARS employee for outstanding contributions to the ability of the agency to coordinate and deliver information services and technologies that support agricultural research and education.

ARS Acting Administrator Edward B. Knipling will present Suszkiw with a cash award and a plaque with a citation recognizing him for “sustained creativity in opening children’s minds to agricultural research and providing resources for science teachers” during the Feb. 12 ceremony.

Suszkiw was born in Washington, D.C., and raised in Maryland. He began working with ARS as a public affairs intern in 1987. He worked with the agency on summer and winter breaks from college each year until he graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 1991 with a B.A. in English literature and a minor in journalism. After graduation, Suszkiw accepted a full-time position with the agency.

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