S.T.E.M. & NOVA Awards

STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

STEM is part of an initiative the Boy Scouts of America has taken on to encourage the natural curiosity of youth members and their sense of wonder about these fields through existing programs. From archery to welding, Scouts can’t help but enjoy the wide range of STEM-related activities. To support this initiative, the BSA developed the Nova Awards program so that youth members have fun and receive recognition for their efforts.

What Are the Nova Awards?

The Boy Scouts of America’s Nova Awards program incorporates learning with cool activities and exposure to science, technology, engineering and mathematics for Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Venturers. The hope is that the requirements and activities for earning these awards stimulates interest in STEM-related fields and shows how science, technology, engineering and mathematics apply to everyday living and the world around them. Counselors and mentors help bring this engaging, contemporary, and fun program to life for youth members.

The Nova Awards

There are multiple Nova awards for Cub Scouts, Webelos Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Venturers. Each award covers one component of STEM—science, technology, engineering, or mathematics.

For their first Nova award, Scouts earn the distinctive Nova award patch. After that, a Scout can earn additional Nova awards, each one recognized with a separate pi (π) pin-on device that attaches to the patch. The patch and the devices represent each of the four STEM topics—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

The Supernova Awards

The Supernova awards have more rigorous requirements than the Nova awards. The requirements and activities were designed to motivate youth and recognize more in-depth, advanced achievement in STEM-related activities.

  1. For Wolf and Bear Cub Scouts: Dr. Louis Alvarez Supernova Award
  2. For Webelos Scouts: Dr. Charles H. Townes Supernova Award
  3. For Boy Scouts:
    1. Dr. Bernard Harris Supernova Bronze Award
    2. Thomas Edison Supernova Silver Award
  4. For Venturers:
    1. Dr. Sally Ride Supernova Bronze Award
    2. Wright Brothers Supernova Silver Award
    3. Dr. Albert Einstein Supernova Gold Award

For earning the Supernova award, Scouts receive a medal and certificate. Requirements may be found in the Nova awards guidebooks, available through the Strong Scout Shop or online. The requirements can be completed with a registered counselor (for the Nova awards) or registered and Council-approved mentor (for the Supernova awards). Each guidebook includes a section for the counselor and mentor.

How To Become a Nova Award Counselor and Supernova Award Mentor

  1. Register Annually by filling out BSA application (Nova Counselors use position code 58, Supernova Mentors use position code 52)
  2. Be at least 21 years old
  3. Proof of current youth protection training
  4. Be knowledgeable in the award subject by vocation, hobby, education
  5. Submit Supernova Mentor Application
  6. Be approved by Council STEM Committee by contacting Jenn Clancy, STEM Nova Awards Chair at mrsclancy411@gmail.com or 315-694-0918

FAQs for Nova Counselors and Supernova Mentors

SWC STEM Committee:
Jenn Clancy, Chair mrsclancy411@gmail.com 315-694-0918

District STEM Coordinators

The STEM Committee meets on the 3rd Tuesday of each month at the Council office from 6-7 pm. Please join us!

Events featuring STEM Activities

  • Merit Badge University, sponsored by Towpath at RIT on 2/15/20. STEM Nova Awards to be earned: Mendel’s Minions, Hello World and Designed to Crunch. Prerequisites will be required to fully complete the award.
  • University of Scouting on 3/7/20. Offering TBD – information about the Nova Awards and an engineering challenge or possibly a full STEM Award opportunity?
  • Scouts BSA Resident Camp at Babcock-Hovey – did you know that STEM is part of CBH’s mission statement? CBH specializes in STEM activities through the resources of Sci-Tek at Eagle Lodge and the Monroe Community College STEM trailer.
  • Cub Resident Camp at Babcock-Hovey – Jenn “The Professor” Clancy is CRC’s perennial mad scientist bringing STEM to campers every August
  • Top Shot Challenge at Babcock-Hovey – Did you know that the shooting sports merit badges count toward two of the Nova Awards?
  • Scoops’ Chess Challenge or Orienteering Challenge – Use the Chess or Orienteering Merit Badge as a requirement for Designed to Crunch

Here is a document that contains ideas and resources on where to go or what to do for STEM opportunities. It will be updated as information becomes available. Please email mrsclancy411@gmail.com if you can help contribute to this list.