STEM Nova Awards

What Are the Nova Awards? NOVA-clipart

The Boy Scouts of America developed the Nova Awards program to excite and expand a sense of wonder in our Scouts. By working with an adult counselor or mentor, the various modules allow them to explore the basic principles of STEM and discover how fun and fascinating STEM can be.

Two Types of Awards

  • Nova Awards
    • The Nova awards allow Scouts to discover some of the basic principles of STEM. Scouts may complete any Nova award with a parent or unit leader’s guidance (even if they have little or no background in STEM) as long as the adult is registered as a Nova counselor.
      • Once a youth has fulfilled the requirements for the Nova Award the award information is logged into Internet Advancement or Scoutbook.
      • You will then need to print out an advancement report to take with you to the Scout Shop to receive you recognition.
        • When a Scout completes their first Nova award they should be presented the Nova Emblem for their program level. For each Nova award earned after the first they should be presented a Pi pin to wear on their emblem.
  • Supernova Awards
    • The Supernova awards are offered for those who enjoy a super challenge and have a greater interest in the STEM fields.
      • Once a Scout has completed the requirements for a Supernova award they will need to obtain all required signatures on the Supernova Award Application.
        • Supernova Award applications must be turned into the Council Supernova Cooordinator at least 45 days prior for Cub Scouts or 60 days prior for Scouts, BSA and Venturers.
        • When submitting the application to the Council Advancement Committee a copy of an advancement report from Internet Advancement 2.0/ Scoutbook. 
          • Optional types of additional documentation include:
            • Binders/folders with papers showing the work for the requirements such as the people they researched and what they found, pictures of experiments and science fair projects, project and experimental data, interview notes with teachers, etc.
            • Lastly Workbooks that show the work that the Scout has achieved in completing the necessary requirements for the award. Requirements for each award can be found at the corresponding links below.
            • Once all applications are approved, the Unit is informed and funds must be made available through the Pack/ Troop/ Crew for purchase of all medals which includes shipping and handling through the Council Service Center.
              • Certificates will be provided by the council for the youth.
            • Once Medals and certificates arrive to Council Service Center, the Unit will be informed by the Council Advancement Committee Staff Advisor.
              • As an option, at the request of the Unit, the Super Nova Coordinator or the Council Advancement Committee Staff Advisor could present the medals and certificate to the Scouts.

How to Become a Nova Awards Counselor or Supernova Awards Mentor

  • Nova Counselor- To register as a Nova counselor please submit:
    • A complete BSA Adult Application
    • Copy of Youth Protection Training, if not currently registered with the council.
    • Copies of PA State Clearances, if not currently registered with the council.
  • Supernova Mentor-A Supernova Awards mentor must be age 21 or older, be a subject matter expert in a STEM (science, technology, engineering,or mathematics) field, and be registered under the Supernova Awards mentor position code 52.
  • A Supernova mentor they must complete:
    • A BSA Adult application
    • the SuperNova mentor application
    • Copy of Youth Protection Training, if not currently registered with the council.
    • Copies of PA State Clearances, if not currently registered with the council.

Steps to complete for renewal:

  1. If you are planning on continuing as a Nova counselor or Supernova Mentor, then keep an eye out for an email around December asking you if you would like to continue as a merit badge counselor.
  2. Complete the information that is requested from the email and continue conducting your duties as either a Nova Counselor or Supernova Mentor.

For more information about STEM and the Nova Awards program, visit Discover how the Nova Awards program helps youth be “Prepared. For Life.”