NATICK, Mass. -- On Oct. 6, it was announced that Dr. Claire C. Gordon, senior research scientist (biological anthropology), U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, was awarded a 2008 Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Senior Professionals.

According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management Web site, "Each year, the president recognizes and celebrates a small group of career senior executives and senior career employees with the Presidential Rank Award. Recipients of this prestigious award are strong leaders, professionals, and scientists who achieve results and consistently demonstrate strength, integrity, industry and a relentless commitment to excellence in public service."

There is a rigorous selection process, OPM notes, with the nominees being selected by their agency heads, evaluated by boards of private citizens, and approved by the president.

Gordon's nomination began at NSRDEC, and then it had to be endorsed by the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command and the U.S. Army Materiel Command before going on to the civilian panel and the president.

Gordon said she wasn't aware that she had won the award until she received congratulatory telephone calls from the RDECOM and AMC commanders.

"It's been a privilege to be part of NSRDEC, where Soldier safety and performance are at the heart of everything we do," said Gordon, "and it's a huge honor to have my work recognized when I consider the awesome scientific accomplishments and impact of my fellow ST's [Senior Professionals]."

Gordon's nomination specifically cited her contributions to human engineering anthropometry including that, "Her research provides the valid, reliable data for the effective design of military and civilian equipment and systems," and, "She was the first to recognize the critical importance of anthropometric variability along demographic lines thereby ensuring that women and minority groups are appropriately and accurately represented."

The nomination called Gordon a "world leader in biological anthropology applied to product and system development," and noted that Gordon is "the authority in the measurement of the human form."

Gordon has been working at the NSRDEC since 1983.

She holds a bachelor of science degree in biology from the University of Notre Dame (1976), master of arts and doctor of philosophy degrees in biological anthropology from Northwestern University (1977, 1982), and a master of science degree in biostatistics from the Harvard School of Public Health (1990).

Gordon and her family are residents of Sutton, Mass. She is the daughter of the late Catherine Tigner Gordon and Dr. Robert E. Gordon of LaGrange, Ga.

The news release that announced the winners said, "Winners of the prestigious Presidential Rank Award represent the cream of the crop within the Federal executive ranks."