The US2020 STEM Mentoring Awards are a platform to celebrate and encourage exceptional work in the STEM mentoring field. Together, as a community of intermediaries, funders, and practitioners, we have an incredible opportunity to develop proof points that will validate STEM mentoring as an important tool in education reform.

This year’s winners will receive public recognition as part of the 2017 STEM Mentoring Symposium in Washington, DC.

Click to learn about STEM Mentoring Award winners from previous years.

2017 STEM Mentoring Award Categories


Students explore NXT computer programming and construct
their own robot with help from a Girl Scouts mentor.

Excellence in Volunteer Experience

Active US2020 STEM mentors overwhelmingly cite initially hearing about their volunteer opportunity from a friend or colleague - second only to hearing about it from their employer. If we are going to bring STEM mentoring to the scale needed to address our country’s STEM education challenge, we need to treat every volunteer not just as an educator, mentor and coach for youth, but also as a powerful promoter and recruiter for our work. It is pretty simple: if volunteers have a great experience volunteering with your organization, they will encourage their friends and colleagues to participate as well.

The Excellence in Volunteer Experience award will recognize education partners that provide high-quality, well-supported engagements for their volunteers during a spring semester or academic year STEM mentoring program.

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Registration is closed for the STEM Mentoring Awards.

Students participate in a hands-on STEM demonstration with the US2020 Research Triangle Park Coalition.

Excellence in Volunteer Mobilization

Recruiting volunteers can be difficult. It can be even more difficult to recruit volunteers with specialized skillsets. Through the US2020 mentor-matching platform, we have seen volunteer opportunities that require content expertise in everything from coding to urban gardening. In order to tap into the wide spectrum of passions and talents STEM professionals can provide young people access to, youth-serving organizations collaborate with companies, professional associations and institutions of higher education to recruit dedicated and inspiring mentors.

Youth-serving organizations can nominate their top volunteer-providing partners for the Excellence in Volunteer Mobilization STEM Mentoring Award. We are particularly looking for examples of effective strategies for volunteer mobilization that can be shared with the wider field. 

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Registration is closed for the STEM Mentoring Awards.

Former Mayor Michael Nutter and the US2020 Philadelphia Coalition.

Excellence in Public-Private Partnerships

Leadership from public agencies and officials is critical to the growth of STEM mentoring efforts, from raising awareness about STEM mentoring to convening key stakeholders to tapping the mentoring talents of experienced government employees. When the public sector partners with the corporations employing large STEM workforces or the nonprofits serving youth, STEM mentoring magic can happen. Connecting students with talented volunteers who can provide compelling, real-world STEM learning opportunities requires a collaborative, cross-sectoral approach. This award category seeks to define what works, how it works and begin to develop blueprints for effective, cross-sectoral partnerships that break down barriers for students and communities.

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Registration is closed for the STEM Mentoring Awards.

Two students building a solar car.

Most Innovative Hands-on Project

It’s been said that “real science takes real stuff.” While STEM-related concepts can be taught through more traditional pedagogical approaches, such as lectures and books, when children are given exposure to the same concepts through hands-on learning, they develop a deeper, more personal connection to the material, while becoming independent thinkers. Studies have shown that hands-on learning is the most popular type of learning with students as well. So, in summary, hands-on STEM learning is a win-win approach for everyone involved.

The Most Innovative Hands-on Project award will be presented to organizations that are developing creative, hands-on curriculum that is judged to be innovative, scalable, and community-focused, with the potential to spark student interest and skill building in STEM. A panel of expert judges -- public, private, and education leaders connected to the STEM mentoring movement -- will review and score the submitted projects.

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Registration is closed for the STEM Mentoring Awards.

Excellence in Impact Measurement

The STEM mentoring field is rapidly expanding. There are many valid approaches to increasing student interest and academic engagement in STEM. Questions remain around what specific indicators of student impact are most important to measure, and which program models are most effective in getting us to our long-term goal of a seeing a STEM workforce that represents the diversity of our country. In order to answer these critical questions as a field, we need to have sophisticated performance measurement and management systems in place to track student progress, outcomes, and, ultimately, impact.

This new SMA category seeks to learn more about our partners’ strategies and underlying logic for tracking specific student impact indicators. We know this work is resource intensive. We are looking for best practices across a range of organizational size and financial resources. Successful applicants will be organizations that are leading the field in their emphasis on and commitment to tracking student impact.

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Registration is closed for the STEM Mentoring Awards.
Learn More About The 2016 STEM Mentoring Award Winners