STEM Supernova Award

Noah R earns the Dr. Bernard Harris Supernova Medal

The Boy Scouts of America’s STEM Nova Awards program incorporates learning with cool activities and exposure to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) for Cub Scouts, Webelos Scouts, Scouts BSA, Sea Scouts, and Venturers. These activities and associated awards stimulate interest in STEM-related fields, and show how these subjects appear in everyday life and the world around us. 

Nova Awards
There are multiple Nova awards for each level: Cub Scouts, Webelos Scouts, Scouts BSA, and Sea Scouts and Venturers. Each award covers one specific subfield of a STEM subject area.

Supernova Awards
The Supernova awards have more rigorous requirements than the Nova awards. They are designed to motivate Scouts and recognize more advanced achievement in STEM-related activities, and thus have more rigorous and in-depth requirements than Nova awards. There is one Supernova award for Wolf and Bear Cub Scouts, and one for Webelos Scouts, two Supernova awards are available to Scouts who have earned First Class rank, and three Supernova awards are available to Venturers and Sea Scouts.
Scouts can earn the Dr. Bernard Harris Supernova Bronze Award and then the Thomas Edison Supernova Silver Award. These two Supernova awards are available to all Scouts who have earned First Class rank. The Dr. Bernard Harris Supernova Bronze Award requires the Scout to have earned three Scouts BSA Nova awards, in addition to other requirements. The Thomas Edison Supernova Silver Award requires completion of a fourth Scouts BSA Nova award, in addition to the Harris Supernova Award and other requirements.

Our conversation with Noah . . .

Q: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself? 

A: My name is Noah R, and I’m a Life Scout in Troop 273 out of the Mission Peak District

Q: Which Nova awards did you earn as a part of getting your Supernova?

A: I earned Splash! (All about the special science of water), Whoosh! (All about the science and engineering of motion), and Let It Grow! (All about plants and agriculture)

Q: Besides Scholarship Merit Badge, which additional merit badges did you earn for the Supernova?  

A: Programming, Geology, Nature, Environmental Science Merit Badges

Q: When did your start your STEM and Supernova journey?

A: I started this through the Summer of Stem in 2020 which is where I also met my Supernova Mentor, Dr. McDowell, for the first time. These classes alone sparked my interest in STEM when I got to do hands-on activities that included creating my own car from Legos and a motor, growing my own radish, and taking tours of water treatment facilities 

Q: What inspired you to pursue the Supernova award?

A: My biggest motivation to achieve the award originally was my mom, she had seen somewhere that the award was being offered and I had done must of the merit badges, STEM badges, and other requirements just before witnessing the award so it was an excellent opportunity to further my STEM knowledge by pursuing it. Later down the line of working on it I often found that I lead myself to do more research and sooner than I expected I was doing my own research and spending time really working on the award. 

Q: This has been a long process.  What kept you motivated to finish?

A: My biggest motivation to finish was the amount of hard work that I already had put into the award since months and months of work had gone into it. There was a time when I wanted to take a break, but I had to really push and then I would get back into it again and then my own interests took over and I was done with the award before I even realized I was.

Q: Will you be pursuing the Thomas Alva Edison (Silver medal for Scouts BSA)?

A: I do plan on pursuing this award because I think that I should keep myself busy since I am always asking myself questions on the topic of the stem. I think especially since I have so much time left there isn’t a reason not to.

Q: Will you pursue the Albert Einstein Gold medal (now open to Scouts BSA)?

A: As much of a challenge I think this Award maybe I think I will go for it as long as I have time. Why stop now after getting so far? 

Q: What one or two things would you like to share with your fellow Scouts about the importance of STEM and why they should work on the Nova Awards and Supernova Awards?

A: Something that I would like to tell my fellow scouts is that Stem rules the world. There isn’t a single place or job that doesn’t require it. Especially where we live it’s as we revolve around it so I think to set yourself for success in the future career-wise I think all scouts should pursue some kind of stem activity to see where their attention is grabbed

Q: What do you want to do as a career in STEM?

A: One of the careers that I want to go into involving STEM is firefighting. The science that is required to go into this line of work is insanely important. Learning how the fires work and how to cut them off efficiently and safely is how we keep our communities safe and that’s what I want to do. Keep our communities safe.

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