Mentor Network

How the Mentor Program Works

The Challenge and Prize Mentorship Program launched in 2015. It was developed to help advocate for public-sector prize competitions, and to amplify their benefits and positive impact by providing support and expertise to agencies as they design and execute competitions.

Mentors are skilled prize practitioners spanning the spectrum of federal agencies. On a voluntary basis, they offer the benefit of their experience to federal challenge managers in project planning, prize design, marketing and outreach, policy and other areas in the format of one-on-one meetings, calls, training opportunities or speaking engagements at community events.

Additionally, these government civilians participate in an annual strategic planning meeting with the General Service Administration’s (GSA) Challenge.gov Program and White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to help set goals and training curricula for the program, and provide user feedback.

Mentors volunteer their time to provide advice and guidance to the federal workforce. They are not full-time employees of GSA or OSTP, and they are able to dedicate a limited number of hours per week in volunteer support. Mentors offer a solid foundation in project research and planning, and can speak to example and case studies; however, federal challenge managers should always consult with their own agencies’ acquisition and legal professionals for contractual and legal guidance. Mentors should not be used as substitutes for a dedicated agency challenge manager or appropriate support from an outside contractor or third-party vendor, if needed.

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Challenge.gov Mentor Adam Wong

Adam Wong

Senior Innovation Analyst, Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, Dept. Health and Human Services

Challenge.gov Mentor Ami Grace-Tardy

Ami Grace-Tardy

Deputy Assistant General Counsel for Energy Efficiency, U.S. Department of Energy

Chad Nelson, FTC

Chad Nelson

Management and Program Analyst, U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Challenge.gov Mentor Denice Shaw

Denice Shaw

Prizes and Challenges Lead, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Challenge.gov Mentor Heather Evans

Heather Evans

Sr. Program Analyst, Program Coordination Office, Director’s Office, National Institute of Standards and Technology

Jenn Gustetic

Jenn Gustetic

Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Program Executive

Challenge.gov Mentor Kati Daffan

Kati Daffan

Attorney Advisor, Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

Challenge.gov Mentor Col Matthew Hepburn

Col Matt Hepburn, MD

Program Manager Biological Technologies Office, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)

Challenge.gov Mentor Maurice Kent

Maurice Kent

Innovation Advisor, U.S. Agency for International Development

Challenge.gov Mentor Patricia Hsue

Patty Hsue

Staff Attorney, Division of Marketing Practices, Bureau of Consumer Protection, U.S. Federal Trade Commission

Challenge.gov Mentor Sandeep Patel

Sandeep Patel

Open Innovation Manager, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

Steve Rader

Steve Rader

Deputy Manager, Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Challenge.gov Mentor Tammi Marcoullier

Tammi Marcoullier

Prize Architect, Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing, National Institute of Standards and Technology