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Science  •  Technology  •  Engineering  •  Mathematics


What is STEM?

  • STEM is an acroynm that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. These are areas of education that are currently being leveraged in a new, revolutionary approach to education by incorporating each area of STEM into a curriculum with the goal of creating a "meta-discipline."


  • Currently we live in a time of great opportunity and of technological and scientific evolution. To be able to seize these great opportunities before us we need to position ourselves to make the most of the technological and scientific advances through STEM education.

Impact of STEM

  • Experts have said that technological innovation accounted for almost half of the U.S. economic growth over the past 50 years.
  • Almost all of the 30 fastest-growing occupations in the next decade will require at least some background in STEM.
  • STEM literacy is also critical because it has a profound and growing impact on our day-to-day lives. The National Science Foundation "estimates that 80% of the jobs created in the next decade will require some form of math and science skills."

STEM & the BSA

  • The BSA has partnered with ExxonMobil to increase STEM awareness in youth and offer them the opportunities to "Be Prepared for Life."

NOVA Awards Program

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.


  • For their first Nova award, Scouts earn the distinctive Nova award patch. After that, a Scout can earn three more Nova awards, each one recognized with a separate pi (π) pin-on device that attaches to the patch. Combined these represent each of the four STEM topics.

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


Cub Scout Awards

Science Everywhere

Tech Talk Swing! 1-2-3 Go!

Boy Scout NOVA Awards


Start You Engines Whoosh! Designed to Crunch

Venturer NOVA Awards


Power Up Hang On! Numbers Don't Lie



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.

  • Upon completed the Supernova Award, Scouts receive a medal and certificate.

Wolf and Bear Cub Scouts

•  Dr. Louis Alverez Supernova Award  


Webelos Scouts

•  Dr. Charles H. Townes Supernova Award  


Boy Scouts

•  Dr. Bernard Harris Supernova Bronze Award  


•  Thomas Edison Supernova Silver Award  



•  Dr. Sally Ride Supernova Bronze Award  


•  Wright Brothers Supernova Silver Award  


•  Dr. Albert Einstein Supernova Gold Award  


















Additional Information

•  Awards  

•  What is STEM & NOVA?  

•  Program Support  

•  NOVA News  

•  Cool Stuff  

•  Important Links  




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