IBM Scientist Honored As California's Volunteer of the Year

Thomas Zimmerman Receives Governor and First Lady's Medal For Service
SAN JOSE, Calif.

IBM research scientist Thomas Zimmerman, based at the company's Almaden lab in San Jose, has been named California's Volunteer of the Year by Governor and First Lady Schwarzenegger. He was presented with the award today at the National Conference on Service and Volunteering in San Francisco.

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Zimmerman has been bringing his hands-on approach to volunteerism to local schools for more than seven years, with specific focus on low-income, non-native English speaking students. Together, Zimmerman and the students have built circuits and devices, an electric guitar and drum kit out of plastic pipe, a microscope with no lens, and a mini Mars rover, among many other things. Many of these projects have been published in Make, a magazine for do-it-yourself enthusiasts.

After receiving a grant from the National Science Foundation, Zimmerman formalized his activities into a curriculum at the Latino College Preparatory Academy (LCPA), a public charter high school in East San Jose run by the National Hispanic University. Over one hundred students have participated in this two-year program that combines extreme activities with science and includes a summer camp.

"Tom's presence at our school has been transformational," said David Johnson, director of development at the National Hispanic University, which operates LCPA. "Hundreds of our students have had their lives altered for the better and for a lifetime because Tom took it on himself to volunteer his time."

Under Zimmerman's leadership the program has grown to 16 teachers, attracting scientists and engineers from NASA Ames, Lockheed Martin, San Jose State University and the United States Geological Survey. He is now expanding his volunteer work to the college level at the San Jose State University Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering, supporting minority students on solar energy projects and providing mentors for his high school students.

"We are proud of Tom Zimmerman and this well earned recognition. Tom is not only generous with his time, but his expertise makes a real difference, improving the lives of the young people in his community every day," said Stanley Litow, VP of Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs. "At IBM, community service is in the company DNA which is why so many of our employees volunteer. We wish they were all honored, but Tom clearly is special."

IBM's global volunteer initiative is encouraged and supported worldwide through its On Demand Community, which provides volunteers with Web-based solutions and company matching grants to encourage its employees to volunteer, and they do in record numbers. Today, IBM's On Demand Community includes more than 115,047 employees and retirees with 8.6 million volunteer hours contributed in the last six years.

The inaugural Governor and First Lady's Medals for Service recognize one outstanding volunteer, one innovative business volunteer program, and one non profit leader whose innovation in the field of volunteerism has had a tangible effect in their community, region, or state of California.

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