STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) are considered by many to be the foundation of an advanced society.  In many forums - including political, governmental, and academic - the strength of the STEM workforce is viewed as an indicator of a nation's ability to sustain itself.

To engage our youth members in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, the Boy Scouts of America has created new program initiatives that emphasizes STEM in the context of the current advancement programs.

The BSA's STEM initiative gives Scouts an opportunity to explore relevant skills and experiences and to be recognized for their achievements. The aim is to expose youth to new opportunities and help them develop the STEM skills critical for the competitive world marketplace. 

Nova and Supernova Awards

To stimulate interest in STEM, the BSA has instituted a series of new awards entitled Nova and Supernova.

The NOVA  Award program consists of individual activity elements in various STEM topics structured for Cub Scouts,  Boy Scouts, & Venturers.   These topics, or four NOVA awards for each program level, are designed to encourage participation and to increase interest in STEM by making it relevant and fun.  The NOVA award will be a distinctive pocket patch with a separate pin on device awarded for each individual topic completed by the youth.

The SUPERNOVA Award program is similar to the BSA Hornaday Award Program.  The basic requirements include earning certain Academic Pins for Cub Scouts, Activity Badges for Webelos and Merit Badges for Boy Scouts, plus complete additional, more rigorous STEM related requirements.  The Venturing requirements are based on more independent achievement and teaching activities.  SUPERNOVA is designed to encourage and recognize more in-depth achievement in STEM.  The SUPERNOVA awards are medals on neck ribbons.

Counselors & Mentors



A Counselor is required to help a Scout complete the requirements for a Nova award.  Any registerd Scouter who has completed Youth Protection Training can be a counselor for the NOVA awards with unit approval - there is no paperwork for this process. 

Mentor is required for the Supernova award (on all program levels), Mentors must be registered Scouters who have completed Youth Protection Training and must be approved by the STEM/Nova Committee.  A special Supernova Mentor application form is available for this process. Completed applications should be turned into the Scout Service Center for processing.  

Mentors should be experienced in a STEM related field (i.e., Scientists, Engineer, Technologists, Science Teachers, Math Teachers, etc.).   Only if a Mentor is willing to work with two or more Scouts on the SUPERNOVA at the same time will the exception of a parent with a STEM background be allowed.  Scouters with a STEM background may work with Scouts in their unit and encouraged as well to work outside of their own unit.  

To take find out more about Youth Protection and/or to take the training, click on the Youth Protection logo on the right side of this page.

To download the application to be a Supernova Mentor, click HERE.
Thanks in advance for helping to mentor our Scouts on the Supernova.

Guidebooks & Awards

Instructions on how to implement the awards program and all of the requirements for the awards are provided in guidebooks which may either be purchased in the Council Scout Shop or ordered online via


Forms are available for use to track progress towards completion of the awards.  See the appropriate STEM/Nova Program Resources webpage - Cub Scout, Boy Scout or Venturer - to download.

Once any of the awards are earned by Scouts, completion of the award is recorded on the standard unit advancement form, which can be filled out and submitted to the Scout Shop.  For those Scouts who have completed a Supernova medals, the Supernova Award Application can be downloaded here and turned in with the advancement form.

All Nova awards (patches & pins) and Supernova medals & certificates are available for purchase through the Scout Shop, after completion of the appropriate paperwork.

STEM Resources

Click on the links below for addtional STEM resources & information.

CLICK HERE to visit the Boy Scouts of America STEM/Nova Website

CLICK HERE to download the Supernova Mentor Application

CLICK HERE to download the Supernova Award Application

CLICK HERE for Cub Scout Resources

CLICK HERE for Boy Scout Resources