What is the Nova Program?

The Nova Program is a new BSA initiative that promotes Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). 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. Our council is preparing itself to implement these initiatives. The Nova program incorporates and expands upon existing STEM-related adventures and merit badges.

What is the difference between the Nova and Supernova award?

The NOVA award is a distinctive pocket patch with a separate pi pin device awarded for each subsequent Nova completed by the youth.

The SUPERNOVA Award program is similar to the BSA Hornaday Award Programand is designed to encourage and recognize more in-depth achievement in STEM. The basic requirements include earning certain Adventures or options as on Cub Scouts, 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. The SUPERNOVA awards are medals on neck ribbons.

What is a Nova Counselor/Supernova Mentor? 

A Nova Counselor is an adult who helps Scouts earn a Nova patch or pin. A counselor can oversee many youth and needs no STEM experience.

A Supernova Mentor is an adult who has some experience in STEM because the Supernova projects are more in depth.

Leaders must submit an application to be serve as a Supernova Mentor or Nova Counselor. An application consists of:

  • the BSA Adult application (no fee position; complete pages 4 & 5 entirely, but leave the position code blank)
  • Youth Protection Training certificate (go to
  • Supernova Mentor information sheet (for Supernova Mentor only)

Complete applications should be sent to your District STEM Coordinator (see below) or delivered to NCAC HQ in Bethesda, MD. Email with questions.

How do I find a Nova Counselor/Supernova Mentor?

Contact your District STEM Coordinator found at the bottom of this page. If your district does not have a coordinator listed, contact your District Executive or Advancement Chair. 

How does my Scout receive recognition for their Nova/Supernova award? 

Nova Awards are handled at the unit level. The Counselor should fill out a unit advancement report (as Cubs would with adventures, for example) and submit this to the Unit Advancement Chair. Packs may recognize the Supernova at a Blue and Gold, or other Advancement Recognition night.

Supernova Awards are processed through Council.The Mentor should submit a Supernova Application and Supernova Info sheet/workbook copy to the District STEM Coordinator. The Council STEM Committee will review and approve the Award; and mail a Supernova Certificate for the Scout. The unit may then show this Certificate to the Scout Store in order to purchase the Scout’s Supernova medal.

Can I mentor my own child?

You may serve as a Supernova Mentor for your child only if working with more youth as well. This restriction does not apply to Nova Counselors; parents may counsel their youth for the Nova Awards as long as they are registered.

Nova Passports

Nova Passports are a useful and simplified tool created by Matt Baker in order to help mentors guide Scouts to obtain a Nova awards. Check it out! NOVA Passports


District STEM Contacts:


Service Area


Francis Scott Key

Mountain West

Nick Maliszewskyj


Virginia South


Chain Bridge

Virginia Central



Virginia Central

Tony Springer

George Mason

Virginia Central


Goose Creek

Mountain West

Nagaraju Nookala


Virginia South


Prince William

Virginia Central

Justin Youtz

Old Dominion

Virginia Central

John Selstrom


Virginia Central

Sokhom Kith


Virginia South

 Beth Murray



Stanley Fricke


Mountain West



Three Rivers

Mark Bruno



John Butler


Mountain West

 Dr. Hatcher Tynes

Washington D.C.

Three Rivers


Western Shore

Three Rivers


White Oak


Kevin Hopson