About the Awards

The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM) are the highest honors bestowed upon mentors who work to expand Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) talent. 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 performing exceptional mentoring activities in formal and informal settings are eligible for a PAESMEM award. This includes all public and private sectors, including industry, academia, K-12 schools, military and government, non-profit organizations, and foundations.

Nominations are encouraged from all geographical regions in the U.S., its principal five 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

Do you know an individual or an organization working hard to nurture future STEM talent?

If so, consider nominating them in the future for PAESMEM. Anyone – colleagues, supervisors, mentees, or members of the general public - can nominate an individual or organization for a PAESMEM award. or 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?
  • Quality: How well has the nominee designed, tailored, and implemented the mentoring activities and strategies for their mentees?

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

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

NSF convenes a national selection committee composed of industry, government and military, non-profit, business, academia, and foundation members who are selected based on their experience in mentoring and their work to expand STEM participation. The national committee reviews applications and recommends up to sixteen awardees to NSF. The Director of NSF then submits the recommendations to the Director of OSTP. All finalists will be subject to a Federal Bureau of Investigation background check.

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. Additional events may include professional development opportunities and discussions with policy-makers on how to improve STEM participation and mentoring.