About the Awards

The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) recognize those who have made significant contributions to mentoring and thereby support the future productivity of the U.S. science, technology, engineering and mathematics, (STEM) workforce.  The program was created to identify and recognize individuals and organizations that have contributed outstanding efforts in mentoring and have enhanced the participation of individuals (including persons with disabilities) who might not otherwise have considered or had access to opportunities in STEM disciplines and professions. The National Science Foundation (NSF) administers the awards program on behalf of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). OSTP selects both individuals and organizations to receive the honor. Each Presidential Awardee receives a certificate signed by the President of the United States and a $10,000 award from NSF. Awardees are honored at an award ceremony which takes place in Washington, D.C.

Individuals and organizations in all public and private sectors are eligible for PAESMEM awards, including industry, academia, K-12, military and government, non-profit organizations, and foundations.  Exceptional STEM or STEM-related mentoring in both formal and/or informal settings is eligible for the PAESMEM award. Applications are encouraged from all geographical regions in the U.S. including its territories and particularly jurisdictions designated by Congress under NSF's Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR).

Individual applicants must:

  • Be working in industry, academia, primary and secondary education, military, non-profit organizations, foundations, or government
  • Have at least five years of sustained, exceptional mentoring with demonstrated impact on individuals historically underrepresented in STEM
  • Be US Citizens or permanent residents
  • Not be a current Organizational applicant
  • Not have received the PAESMEM award as an Individual applicant in any prior competition
  • Not have received the PAESMEM award as an Organizational applicant in the past 10 years

Organizational applicants must:

  • Be affiliated with a U.S. educational institution or agency, corporation, foundation, military or government agency, or not-for-profit organization
  • Have at least five years of sustained, exceptional mentoring with demonstrated impact on individuals historically underrepresented in STEM
  • Not be a current Individual applicant
  • Not have received the PAESMEM award as an Organizational applicant in the past 10 years

Recipients of the award receive the following:

  • A certificate signed by the President of the United States
  • A paid trip to Washington, D.C., to attend a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities
  • A $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation
  • An opportunity to build lasting partnerships with colleagues across the nation

The Awards Process: Overview

Anyone, including colleagues, principals, mentees, or other members of the public, may nominate exceptional individuals and/or organizations. Nominations can be made for "Individual" and "Organizational" PAESMEM awards. To submit a nomination, the nominator will complete the nomination form, which requires the mentor's name, organization, and email address. A nominator may nominate multiple individuals or organizations. Contact info@paesmem.net if you have any questions regarding PAESMEM or the nomination process.

The application consists of two components: administrative and narrative. These components will allow applicants to showcase how their mentoring activities go above and beyond to meet the needs and interests of the mentees.

The review criteria are as follows for "Individual" nominations:

  • Impact: Are the impacts and outcomes of the mentoring outstanding?
  • Significance: Are the mentoring accomplishments above and beyond what would be expected for other individuals in similar positions? Are the mentoring activities and strategies regarded as exemplars with potential for wider implementation?
  • Quality: How well has the nominee designed, tailored, and implemented the mentoring activities and strategies for the targeted mentees? How well has the individual assessed the impacts of the mentoring activities?

The review criteria are as follows for "Organizational" nominations:

  • Impact: Are the impacts and outcomes of the mentoring outstanding?
  • Significance: Are the mentoring accomplishments above and beyond what would be expected for other organizations of similar scope? Are the mentoring activities and strategies regarded as exemplars with potential for wider implementation?
  • Quality: How well has the organization designed, tailored, and implemented the mentoring activities and strategies for the targeted mentees? How well has the organization assessed the impacts of the mentoring activities?

For complete details, please review the 2019-2020 Application Packet (Adobe PDF). If needed, download a free copy of Acrobat Reader for PDF files.

Selection committees will include outstanding scientists, mathematicians, engineers, STEM education researchers, STEM educators, and other STEM or STEM-related professionals. These committees will review applications and make recommendations to NSF.

NSF will consider the advice of reviewers and will formulate the recommendations for both Individual and Organizational awardees. After review and consideration of appropriate factors, NSF will provide its recommendations to the Director of OSTP for final selection. All awardees will be subject to a Federal Bureau of Investigation background check.

Applications are good for two years post-submission.

Each Presidential Awardee receives a certificate signed by the President of the United States and a $10,000 award from NSF. Awardees are honored at an award ceremony in Washington, D.C. Additional events may include professional development opportunities and discussions with policy-makers about how to improve STEM education. There is no fixed annual date for the award announcement or for scheduling the recognition ceremony.