A Pat on the Back to Mensa's Backbone — Its Volunteers

With pride, we celebrate those Local Groups and individuals within our ranks that continue to go above and beyond to make American Mensa the great organization that it is. Following are the 2018 American Mensa national and group award winners.

Margot Award Winner: Art Mattson

Art Mattson

He's overseen American Mensa's national awards committee for five years, and the AMC thought he deserved one of his own — the highest honor you can receive in Mensa, actually.

Art Mattson becomes the 17th recipient of the Margot Award, given to a member for exceptional service over an extended period to the organization. Margot Seitelman, American Mensa’s first Executive Director, was the first recipient, and in 1980 the award was named for her.

For many Mensans, Mattson was the man at the helm (often in a captain’s cap) of Treasure Hunts, a beloved highlight of many RGs and AGs. He’s a captain to some and a colonel to others, as in Colonel Foolery, under which he wrote two books of brain teasers as well as the occasional column for Oracle, the Orange County Mensa newsletter.

However, his service and devotion to Mensa plumb deeper than that. Since joining Mensa in 1978, Mattson, a Life Member, has been a model volunteer on the local, regional, and national levels.

Besides chairing the National Awards Committee, Mattson served as Regional Vice Chair 9 from 1983-85 and 2009-11 and AMC Treasurer from 1985-89. And he was chair of the 1990 AG in Anaheim, Calif. For Orange County Mensa, he was Local Secretary from 1980-83, 1995-97, and again from 2011-12. He’s been a Proctor since 2011 and was Assistant LocSec from 2016-18. From 2009-11, Mattson also served as his Local Group Ombudsman.

His many years of service — “with a smile and wonderful attitude,” says LaRae Bakerink, AMC Chair and longtime friend — are surpassed perhaps by one other award: meeting wife Angie at the 1989 AG in Atlanta.

Margot Award Winner: Dr. Abbie Salny

Dr. Abbie Salny

By 1985, her exceptional service to American Mensa propelled Dr. Abbie Salny to become the third recipient of the Margot Award. Three decades later, she has lapped the field and is certain to have her likeness carved on Mensa’s Mount Rushmore right alongside Margot Seitelman, the award’s namesake.

Salny is now the only two-time winner of the Margot based on that continued record of service and inspiration. She joined Mensa in 1964 and by 1972 was its Recording Secretary, the first of myriad responsibilities. By 1978, she was American Mensa’s Supervisory Psychologist, adding the same role a year later for Mensa International. That trailblazing work, ending in 2002, was honored with the creation of the Abbie Award for Proctor of the Year.

More work and more awards — including the Distinguished Service Award in 1990 — followed for Salny, a member of Northern New Jersey Mensa. Somehow, she managed to find time to author or coauthor several best-selling works, including the Mensa Genius Quiz Book and the Mensa Page-A-Day calendars.

Director of Science and Education and Honorary President and Vice President of Mensa International — it might be easier to list the roles she hasn’t fulfilled! And then there is the impact she had during her 26 years on the board of the Mensa Education & Research Foundation. Most notably, she helped create its scholarship program, Awards for Excellence in Research, and Distinguished Teacher Award, along the way expanding the Foundation’s reach internationally.

Chairman’s Service Award

Awarded by the Chair in recognition of superior service to the organization

2018 Chairman's Service Award winners
  • Greg Webster for his 10 years of dedicated service as Mind Games Chief Judge.
  • Art Mattson for his service on the National Award Committee.
  • Jan Pfeil Doyle and Teresa Gregory for their time and efforts in organizing and planning the 2018 Annual Gathering: Monumentally Mindbending!
  • Stephanie Thornton for her continued behind-the-scenes help on surveys and other insights into Mensa membership.
  • Guy Conti, Marie Mayer, Jill Beckham, Jon Gruebele, David Peery, Brian Reeves, Deb Stone, Jameson Thornton, and Alexis Wise for their hard work and diligence serving on the Transistion Committee in reviewing American Mensa’s incoming Executive Director.
  • Alexis Wise for her counsel and service on the AMC.

National Certificates of Appreciation

Given in gratitude of a noteworthy contribution to the organization by a member. Recipients are nominated by members and confirmed by the Awards Committee.

Desiree E. Elliott, Jennifer Jewell, George Hayes

National Service Awards

Recognizing faithful service to American Mensa and contributing greatly to the growth and betterment of the organization

Harley C. Berger, Nancy McMahan Farrar, Gregory R. Kontz, Richard Alan Magnus, Kenneth A. Silver, Stephanie Thornton

Achieving Communications Excellence Awards

Recognizing Local Groups that meet or exceed communications standards in newsletters, websites, and social media

Gold Medal: Chicago Area Mensa
Silver Medal: Charlotte-Blue Ridge Mensa

Owl Awards

The Innovative Owl is presented to the Local Group with the highest year-over-year membership retention percentage. The Profilic Owl is presented to the group with the Local Group with the highest percentage of year-over-year membership growth.

Innovative Owl: Southwest by South Florida Mensa, 93 percent retention
Prolific Owl: Northern Louisiana Mensa, 4 percent growth

Jewel Awards

Recognizing participation in Mensa activities and accomplishments, including Mind Games®, CultureQuest®, Mensa Testing Day, and Leadership Development Workshops

Achievement levels are, lowest to highest: the Emerald, the Sapphire, and the Ruby. Additionally, each of the five Local Groups obtaining the highest points in individual classes are specifically recognized separately as the Diamond Group winner for each level.

Class I (900+ members)
  • Diamond: Chicago Area Mensa
  • Emerald: Gulf Coast Mensa, Mensa In Georgia, North Texas Mensa, San Francisco Regional Mensa, Southeast Michigan Mensa, Metropolitan Washington Mensa
2018 Mensa Award winners composition
Class II (400 to 899 members)
  • Diamond: Charlotte/Blue Ridge Mensa
  • Sapphire: Mid-America Mensa, Connecticut/Western Massachusetts, Denver Mensa, Mensa of Wisconsin, San Diego Mensa, Orange County Mensa, Central Indiana Mensa, Central New Jersey Mensa
  • Emerald: Broward Mensa, Maryland Mensa, Cincinnati Area Mensa, Western Pennsylvania Mensa, Lonestar Mensa, Oregon Mensa, Mensa 76, South Texas Mensa, Sacramento Regional Mensa, Cleveland Area Mensa, St Louis Area Mensa, Central Pennsylvania Mensa
Class III (200 to 399 members)
  • Diamond: East Central Ohio Mensa
  • Sapphire: Piedmont Area Mensa, Nebraska-Western Iowa Mensa, New Hampshire, Tidewater Mensa
  • Emerald: Mensa of Northeastern New York Dayton Area Mensa, Manasota Mensa, Tucson Mensa, Mensa of Jacksonville, Channel Islands Mensa, Northern Nevada Mensa, New Orleans Mensa, Kentuckiana Mensa, Mensa Hawaii, Rhode Island Mensa, Southern Connecticut Mensa, Lehigh Pocono Mensa, Middle Tennessee Mensa, Western New York ensa, Central Oklahoma Mensa
Class IV (100 to 199 members)
  • Diamond: French Broad Mensa
  • Ruby: Plains and Peaks Mensa, Central South Carolina Mensa, North Alabama Mensa
  • Sapphire: Redwood Empire Mensa, Northwest Florida Mensa, Triad Mensa, Delaware Mensa, Central Iowa Mensa, Central Alabama Mensa, Kansas Sunflower Mensa
  • Emerald: Mensa Alaska, Savannah Area Mensa of Georgia, Iowa-Illinois Mensa, Northeast Indiana Mensa, Eastern Oklahoma Mensa
Class V (fewer than 100 members)
  • Diamond: Sangamon Valley Mensa
  • Ruby: High Mountain Mensa, Monterey County Mensa
  • Sapphire: Paso del Norte Mensa, Vermont Mensa
  • Emerald: Northern Michigan Mensa, North Dakota Mensa, Wyoming Mountain Mensa, South Dakota Mensa, Northern Louisiana Mensa

Gifted Youth Coordinator of the Year

Given for superior service as a Gifted Youth Coordinator and for contributing to the growth of programs that serve gifted youth and/or Young Mensans

Martha Williams, North Alabama Mensa and William M. Rock, North Texas Mensa

Abbie Proctor of the Year

Named after longtime American Mensa Supervisory Psychologist Dr. Abbie Salny and given to members who are ambassadors of Mensa, make test sessions enjoyable, test regularly, show originality with testing sessions, and are conscientious Proctors

Angie Mattson, Orange County Mensa

Dave Felt Testing Coordinator of the Year

Named after longtime Testing Coordinator Dave Felt and given to Testing Coordinators who encourage new proctors, find test sites, and show originality in advertising and promoting testing

Angie Mattson, Orange County Mensa

CultureQuest XXIX Winners

CultureQuest 2018 Award winners
Teams of up to five members — 107 this year — gather in neighborhoods across the U.S. and Canada to compete for cash prizes and cultural literacy bragging rights. Sean Cannon was Coordinator of this year’s CultureQuest.
Rank Team Captain Local Group Pts Award
1 Tragic Kingdom Holly Horton Central Florida Mensa 183.5 $550
2 The Phoenix Phive Diane Rowley Greater Phoenix Mensa 119 $350
3 OCDisorders Tim Bentley Orange County Mensa 118.5 $300
4 Rocket Surgeons Dennis Tomlinson Columbus Area Mensa 117 $250
5 CAMera Obscura Andrew Bolda Chicago Area Mensa 112 $175
5 The Original Standard Deviants Marty Flowers Western Pennsylvania Mensa 112 $175

NextGen Team Winner (for highest-scoring youth team): Teen Angst YM I Here?, Cincinnati Area Mensa

Full Winners List