Governor’s Medals for Science and Technology announced

Governor Gary R. Herbert, along with the Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative announced the winners of the 2018 Governor’s Medals for Science and Technology. 

The medals will be presented to the four honorees at the Utah Technology Innovation Summit on June 6.

“These medal recipients are defined by their tireless passion and service to promoting science, technology, and innovation here in Utah,” said Gov. Herbert. “These individuals’ contributions in scientific advancement and education make a significant impact in driving Utah’s economy and quality of life forward. Their efforts will benefit Utah for years to come.”

“These winners are true leaders in science and technology that have played a prominent role in Utah’s thriving innovation ecosystem,” said Ivy Estabrooke, Ph.D., executive director of USTAR. “We look forward to celebrating this year’s winners and their achievements at the Utah Technology Innovation Summit.

This year’s winners are as follows:

Lifetime Achievement Award
Dr. Russell M. Nelson, world-renowned heart surgeon and medical researcher, and current president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Dana Carroll, Ph.D., distinguished professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Utah

K-12 Education

Tyson Grover, science curriculum advisor at the Davis School District, elementary STEM professor at Weber State University, and online science endorsement course developer for the Utah State Board of Education


George Hansen, chief technology officer and co-founder, Conductive Composites

Initiated in 1987, the Governor’s Medal for Science and Technology is the highest civilian award bestowed by the State of Utah to residents who have provided distinguished service or made significant contributions to Utah in scientific and technological fields. A panel of industry experts and educators review the nominations and make recommendations to the Governor.

The medals will be presented to the winners by the Governor during the lunchtime plenary session of the Utah Technology Innovation Summit on June 6 at the Salt Lake Marriott Downtown at City Creek. The awards are presented in partnership by USTAR and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

Tickets to the event may be purchased at Tables are also available for purchase by contacting Justin Berry at [email protected]or 801.538.8884. 

***See 2018 winner biographies below***

Dr. Russell M. Nelson

Dr. Russell M. Nelson is an internationally renowned surgeon and medical researcher whose groundbreaking work continues to play a vital role in modern cardiac surgery practices. In 1951, President Nelson was a member of the research team that performed the first open heart surgery employing extracorporeal (outside of the body) circulation, developing the first modern heart-lung bypass machine in the process. In 1955, he performed the first open-heart surgery in the state of Utah — and the first west of the Mississippi — and went on to perform more than 7,000 surgeries throughout his career.

Over his medical career, he served as a leader in thoracic and cardiovascular surgery, serving as the director of the University of Utah Thoracic Surgery Program, president of the Utah State Medical Association, chair of the Division of Thoracic Surgery at LDS Hospital, president of the Society for Vascular Surgery, and director of the American Board of Thoracic Surgery.

Dr.  Nelson is an author of numerous medical publications, and lectured and taught around the United States and world prior to being called to serve as a fulltime General Authority in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1984.  He currently serves as the 17th president of the Church.

In addition to the inaugural Lifetime Achievement for the Governor’s Medal in Science and Technology, Dr. Nelson has received a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Utah, the Heart of Gold Award from the American Heart Association, a citation for International Service from the American Heart Association, and the Golden Plate Award from the American Academy of Achievement. He has also been awarded honorary professorships from three universities in the People’s Republic of China.

Dana Carroll, Ph.D.

Dana Carroll, a distinguished professor of biochemistry at the University of Utah, is being honored for his pioneering work in precise genome engineering, which allows scientists to make specific changes in the genomic DNA of any organism. This technology has promising applications in agriculture and medical sectors that would improve the quality of life not only for Utahns, but also for individuals around the world.

In 2017, Dr. Carroll was among 84 U.S. scientist-scholars and 21 foreign associates elected to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, and has been instrumental in expanding Utah’s role in the fields of molecular and cellular biology over the past 43 years. He also has received two national awards for his work, the 2012 Edward Novitski Prize from the Genetics Society of America and the 2014 Herbert Sober Lectureship from the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Tyson Grover

Tyson Grover is being honored for his commitment to promoting science and technology education in Utah throughout his career in the classroom, and at the district and state levels. He currently serves as the Davis School District K-12 Science Curriculum Supervisor, and also educates teachers through the Elementary STEM endorsement class at Weber State University.

Outside of the Davis School District, Grover is a tireless champion for science education throughout Utah. In addition to serving as an online science endorsement course development and facilitator for the Utah State Board of Education, Grover has been instrumental in writing open-source STEM-focused online curriculum resources for teachers that align with the state’s Science with Engineering Education (SEEd) standards that were adopted in 2015.

George Hansen

George Hansen is being recognized for his contributions to the state’s science and technology industry, especially off the Wasatch Front. The chief technology officer and co-founder of Conductive Composites, Hansen and his company have brought key science and technology jobs to Wasatch and Emery Counties. His business has created $30 million in wages and benefits, and purchased $15 million in local goods, services, and contractors in rural Utah.

With more than forty years of senior leadership in research and development in the electromagnetic spectrum, defense, advanced materials, and chemical processing industries, Hansen is an author on more than 40 technical papers and maintains more than 20 patents. Conductive Composites and Hansen’s work has enabled key innovations in advanced manufacturing and defense applications, and has been supported by the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps.