GMiS Frequently Asked Questions

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General Questions

Are GMiS Scholarships renewable?

GMiS scholarships are one-year scholarships. Students must apply each year and compete against our annual candidate pool.

Approximately, how many scholarship are awarded each year?

The number of scholarships that are awarded each year depends on the amount of scholarship support that is provided to Great Minds in STEM™.  

Do graduate and undergraduate students compete for the same scholarships?

No. Graduate students and undergraduate students compete within their own grouping.

If I qualify for more than one sponsored scholarship, will I be considered for all the scholarships I am qualified?

Yes. Based on the requirements of the sponsors, Great Minds in STEM™ determines what scholarships you are eligible to compete. Your GPA, major, university, classification, citizenship status, essay, courses, leadership, activities, resume, and letters of recommendation will be among the determining factors.

Is the application process completely online?

Yes. Great Minds in STEM™ does not accept paper applications for its GMiS Scholarship Program. All supporting documents, including official transcripts, must be submitted electronically. Applicants must first create a username and password to gain access to the scholarship portal. Applicants will be able to log back in and continue to review, edit, delete and or resubmit a new application through 11:59 pm PST on April 1.

Eligibility

Do I need to be Hispanic to qualify for a GMiS scholarship?

Applicants must be of Hispanic descent and/or must significantly participate in and promote organizations and activities in the Hispanic community.

Do I have to be an United States citizen to apply for the GMiS scholarship?

The GMiS Scholars Program accepts applicants who are U.S. citizens, U.S. residents, F1 Visa, or DACA status.

Are individuals on a J1 Visa (exchange students) eligible to apply?

Individuals who are studying on an exchange visa – i.e. J1 Visa – are not eligible to apply.

Is there a minimum GPA?

Yes. The minimum overall GPA is 3.00. However, in rare extenuating circumstances, students with a GPA below a 3.0 may be considered.

Which fields of study qualify for the GMiS Scholars Program?

All science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields of study AND health/medical fields of study qualify for the GMiS Scholarship Program.

Does an MBA, executive MBA, law degree, education degree etc. even if they focus on some aspect STEM, qualify as a STEM degree?

No. An MBA, executive MBA, law degree, education/teaching certificate of any sorts is not considered a STEM degree for the purposes of this scholarship program.

I am planning to enter the health professions, am I eligible for a GMiS scholarship?

Yes, students pursuing a health profession field of study are encouraged to apply..

Are students at a community college eligible to apply?

Yes. Students pursuing an accredited program of study in science, technology, engineering or math at a 2-year community college, in the U.S., leading to an associate’s degree or a transfer program, are eligible to apply and will be considered for a scholarship.

Do I have to be enrolled in college in the fall to be eligible for a scholarship?

Yes, you must be enrolled as a full-time student (i.e. 12 hours undergraduate; 9 hours graduate), in an accredited academic program, at a community college or 4-year university, the following fall semester/quarter to receive a scholarship. Great Minds in STEM requires enrollment verification prior to receiving your scholarship.

May I be enrolled in a technical, trade or vocational school?

No. Students must be enrolled in a degree-granting 2-year or 4-year institution. Students enrolled in certification programs or receiving technical or vocation training are ineligible for a GMiS Scholarship.

May I be enrolled in a non-degree post-baccalaureate program at the time of application of at the time of award?

No. Students must be enrolled in an accredited degree-granting STEM or health program of study at a 2-year or 4-year institution..

Does the University of Phoenix, Western Governors University, of similar institutions qualify as an accredited institution?

No. The nature of the institution, primarily to provide an online, distance education, does not qualify as an accredited institution for a science, technology, engineering or math degree.

I am a college student, do I have to be enrolled full-time during the spring semester that the applications is due?

Yes. You must be currently enrolled full-time in an accredited academic program, in the United States or its territories, during the application period.

I am a college student, but an currently studying abroad, do I have to be enrolled full-time during the spring semester that the application is due?

Yes. Your home institution, in the United States or its territories, must consider you to be enrolled full-time in an accredited academic program, during the application period.

I am a first year college student, in an undeclared major, but looking to move into a STEM program of study, am I eligible to apply?

Yes. Undeclared college students looking to switch into a STEM field of study are eligible to apply. However, if selected, scholarship recipients must be pursuing a STEM field of study and must submit proof of enrollment the following fall semester.

I am a senior in high school, do I qualify for the GMiS Scholarship?

Graduating high school seniors qualify for the scholarship if they will be enrolled as a full-time student, in a science, technology, engineering or math field, at an accredited college/university, in the U.S. or its territories, in the fall semester immediately following their graduation. Enrollment verification in a STEM field of study is required the proceeding fall semester.

I have been out of high school or college for some time. May I still apply for the scholarship?

Yes.  If you are returning to college after an absence, you will be required to submit the official transcript of the educational institution you last attended. Enrollment verification in a STEM field of study is required the proceeding fall semester.

I graduated from high school outside the U.S., and am looking to enter college for the first time in the U.S., and am looking to enter college for the first time in the U.S., am I eligible to apply for this scholarship?

Yes. However, transcripts must be translated into English into a 4.0 scale. Both the international transcript and the translated transcript must be submitted.  GMiS does not accept transcripts that are not in English.  The GPA must appear on the transcript.  Enrollment verification in a STEM field of study is required the proceeding fall semester.

I completed my undergraduate studies outside the U.S., and am entering into a graduate program in the U.S., am I eligible to apply for a GMiS Scholarship?

Yes. So long as your parents are on active duty and you are completing your studies in an approved course of study, you are eligible to apply for this scholarship.  Transcripts must be translated into English on a 4.0 scale.

I am home schooled, am I eligible to apply for a GMIS Scholarship?

Yes, if you are considered a graduating high school senior and the high school curriculum you are completing is an accredited curriculum.  Transcripts must be submitted on a 4.0 scale.

I am a working professional pursuing a college degree part-time, am I eligible to apply for a GMiS Scholarship?

No. You must be enrolled full-time (12 hrs undergraduate; 9 hrs graduate) in an accredited academic program, in the United States or its territories, both at the time of application and during the term of the scholarship, if awarded.

I am a doctoral candidate working full-time, am I eligible to apply for a GMiS Scholarship?

Doctoral candidates, i.e. those students who have passed all their comprehensive examinations, must be making satisfactory progress toward their dissertation and be enrolled at least half-time in their academic program.

If I am a previous HENAAC scholarship recipient, am I eligible to re-apply?

Yes.

Requirements

What documents are necessary for a complete scholarship application package?

You must submit the following seven documents, online, for your application to be considered complete:

  • HENAAC Scholarship Application
  • Resume: one-page limit
  • Personal Statement. Refer to the application page for the current question.
  • Official Transcripts: Transcripts must include the seal of your university/college or high school or signature of the Registrar. The cumulative GPA, weighted or unweighted must appear on the transcript. If you received a sealed envelope with your transcript, you may open it and scan the document to either upload as part of your application or email directly to scholars@greatmindsinstem.org.
  • One faculty letter of recommendation (From an advisor, dean, principal, faculty or instructor – i.e. someone who can speak on behalf of your academics)
  • One peer letter of recommendation (From a friend, classmate, lab partner, teammate, member of a student organization). The letter may not be from a mentor, coach, or supervisor. It must be from a peer.
  • Photo: The photo will not be used in the scholarship selection, but rather used for publications of scholarship recipients, in print and online
    • The photo must be professional in style and content.
    • The photo must be of high quality – i.e. 300 dpi. In other words, no cell phone photos. The photo must be taken with a digital camera or scanned at a high resolution. An indicator of a high-quality photo is a photo over 1 MB.
    • The photo should be a head-shot. There is no need for a full-body photo.
    • The photo should not be a party-shot (i.e. taken at a party), a scantily-clad photo, a “selfie,” a glamour shot, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or other social media photo
    • The photo should not be Black and White or Sepia. Photos must be in full color.
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What is the essay question?

Please refer to the application page for the current question.

Does the essay have to be exactly 700-850 words?

No. The 700-850 word count is an approximation. The essay should be succinctly written to address the essay questions. The essay is like an interview and should present the applicant to the scholarship reviewer as a highly qualified applicant

Does my resume have to be limited to one page?

Yes. Unless you are submitting a curriculum vitae, resumes must be limited to one page.

Is there a specific resume format?

No. There is no specific resume format. However, it is strongly suggested that the resume be formatted in a manner which will allow them to be scanned and entered into a database by sponsors.

What GPA must appear on the official transcript?

The Overall or Cumulative GPA, on a 4.0 scale, must appear on the official transcript.  Weighted scores or numerical scores must be converted to a 4.0 scale.  No exceptions. Transcripts will not be accepted if there is no GPA indicated.

I have a transcript that reports grades on a 10-point, 6-point or 12-point scale. Is that acceptable?

No. The GPA must be re-calculated to at least a traditional U.S. 4.0 grading scale. If your institution does not provide this service, you may seek an unofficial GPA converter or guide to provide the re-calculation. However, the re-calculated GPA must be verified and validated by your institution by a letter from your advisor/counselor that is submitted with the re-calculated transcript.

What if my GPA is not on my official transcript?

Your GPA must appear on your official transcript. If it is not automatically included, you must include a signed letter from either the guidance counseling office or registrar’s office indicating your Overall GPA on a 4.0 scale. The letter must also include the official seal/stamp of the institution.

What if my university does not provide course grades?

GMiS is aware of the handful of institutions that do not provide a grading scale. You must include a signed letter from the registrar’s office indicating your Overall GPA on a 4.0 scale. The letter must also include the official seal/stamp of the institution.

What if only a weighted overall GPA is provided?

You must include a signed letter from either the guidance counseling office or registrar’s office indicating your Unweighted Overall GPA on a 4.0 scale. The letter must also include the official seal/stamp of the institution.

I am currently in a first semester as an undergraduate and do not have a GPA, what transcript do I submit?

You must submit your official high school transcript.

Who is considered a “faculty” for my letter of recommendation?

A faculty is a teacher, professor, dean, principal, guidance counselor, or academic advisor. A faculty is someone, who can write about your academic abilities.

Who is considered a “peer” for my letter of recommendation?

A peer is someone, who is within your same age group – a friend, neighbor, classmate, lab partner, teammate, or member of a student organization/youth group.  Your peer should be someone, who can write about your leadership and character.

Why do I need to submit a peer letter of recommendation?

The GMiS Scholarship requires a peer letter of recommendation because in the future, your peers will become those individuals you will turn to for a job recommendation, and will come to know your work ethic and personality.

Can my mentor, sports coach, priest/pastor, community member be considered a peer for the purposes of the peer letter of recommendation?

If your mentor, coach, pastor or community member is of your same approximate age group, the letter provided by that individual will be considered a peer letter of recommendation. Otherwise, you need to find a peer to write your peer letter of recommendation.

May I submit more than two letters of recommendation?

No. Only two letters – one from a faculty and one from a peer – may be submitted. Any additional letters will be discarded.

Is there a specific format for the letters of recommendation?

No. However, the letters should reflect the extent to which the writer knows the applicant and can address specific qualities – academic, interpersonal, professional – that presents the applicant as a future STEM professional. Applicants are encouraged to persuade their recommenders from submitting standard form letters. Applicant’s name and university should be listed in the upper left hand corner of each page.

Must I submit a self-photo at the time of application?

Yes.  However, the photo will not be used in the determination of the scholarship selection

Why is a self-photo required?

The self-photo is required to assist in the post-selection marketing of the GMiS Scholars via social, print and electronic media.

What are the requirements of the self-photo?
  • The photo must be professional in style and content.
  • The photo must be of high quality – i.e. 300 dpi. The photo must be taken with a digital camera or scanned at a high resolution. An indicator of a high-quality photo is a photo over 1 MB.
  • The photo should be a head-shot. There is no need for a full-body photo.
  • The photo should not be a party-shot (i.e. taken at a party), a scantily-clad photo, a “selfie,” a glamour shot, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or other social media photo.
  • The photo should not be Black and White or Sepia. Photos must be in full color

Submission Process

What is the application deadline?

The online application closes at 11:59 PM PST, on April 1. All materials must be submitted by this deadline.

How do I submit my scholarship application?

You must apply online through the GMiS Scholars Portal. Additional documents: essay, letters of recommendation, resume and official transcripts must be uploaded online. Paper copies of application materials are not accepted.

Do all documents have to be submitted at the same time?

No. Applicants will be required to establish a login ID and password, which will enable them to return and complete their application and upload their documents at a later time. However, it is STRONGLY recommended that you have all your documents ready to upload before you begin the application process.

What if I started an application and closed the browser or exited without submitting, is my application saved?

Yes.  If you closed your browser before submitting your application, the content is saved. You will need to login to the portal and continue your application.

If I upload the transcript, is it still considered official?

Yes. If your school/university provides you a sealed envelope with your transcript, for our purposes, you may open the transcript, scan and upload with your application. Scanned transcripts must be legible and uploaded as a PDF not as a photo. 

So long as the uploaded transcript contains the university or high school seal or registrar office signature, the transcript is considered official. Transcripts that contain the words “Unofficial” or documents that are a menu of course listings, or in any way altered, are unacceptable.

What if I have more than one transcript to upload?

You must scan all the transcripts into one document and then upload that single document.  Scanned transcripts must be legible and uploaded as a PDF not as a photo. 

What if my high school/college/university will not issue the official transcripts to me?

If the institution will not release the transcripts directly to you, there are several options: 1) They may email directly or use a clearinghouse to email the transcript to scholars@greatmindsinste.org.  2) They may mail the transcript via mail. The transcripts should be sent to: Great Minds in STEM, ATTN: GMiS Scholars Program,  2465 Whittier Blvd, Suite 202, Montebello, CA 90640. The transcripts must be postmarked by April 1.

My college/university uses an online clearing house to send transcripts, is this sufficient?

Yes. Please notify the institution to send the e-transcripts to Dr. Gary Cruz at scholars@greatmindsinstem.org.

My peer or faculty prefers to email the letter directly to Great Minds in STEM™. Is this permissible?

Yes. Please notify the recommender to send the letter to Dr. Gary Cruz at scholars@greatmindsinstem.org. Letters must be sent as a pdf and must be signed by the recommender.

Notifications

Will I be notified if my GMiS scholarship application was received?

Yes. Upon submission of your COMPLETE scholarship application you will automatically receive a response generated by the GMiS Scholars Portal indicating that your application is received.  Remember, that if you uploaded place holder documents, you must upload with the correct documents before submitting.

Will I be notified if I am selected for a GMiS scholarship?

Yes.  Great Minds in STEM™ will also send a general press release to all scholarship applicants by mid-August.

Will I be notified if I am not selected for a GMiS scholarship?

Yes. Applicants who are not selected as a GMis Scholar will not be notified. The list of scholarship recipients will be posted on the GMiS website no earlier than mid-August.

Support to GMiS Conference

If awarded a GMiS scholarship, do I have to be present at the GMiS Conference?

All GMiS scholarship recipients must attend the GMiS Conference. If there is an extenuating circumstance that prevents scholars from attending the conference, those instances will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

If I am selected as a scholarship recipient, do I have to pay the GMiS Conference student registration fee?

No. As a GMiS Scholar, your conference registration fee is complimentary.  Registration includes lodging and meals.  Lodging is four students to a room with two beds.

If I am selected as a scholarship recipient, do I have to pay for my travel to the GMiS Conference?

No. As a GMiS Scholar, your travel expenses to the GMiS Conference will be arranged by Great Minds in STEM™.

What if I have concerns and/or travel restrictions and I am not able to attend the GMiS Conference?

If there is a concern, you may contact scholars@greatmindsinstem.org or by phone at (323) 262-0997.

Selection

Who selects the scholarship recipients?

The Scholarship Selection Committee is comprised of corporate, government and academic representatives. Selections are also made by the individual representatives on behalf of the sponsoring companies.

HENAAC Nominations

Do you need to be an engineer to be nominated for a HENAAC Award?

Individuals who are not technical professionals can compete in the categories of Diversity & Inclusion, Community Service and Education. The individual must work to recruit, train, mentor, counsel or promote careers in STEM. In special circumstances when a non-technically trained individual has made a large impact on a STEM organization, that individual may be considered for a Special Award based on the recommendation of the Selection Committee for the category in which they are nominated. Other HENAAC Award categories are primarily open to scientists, mathematicians, computer scientists, technologists, and engineers.

Do you need to be Hispanic to be nominated for a HENAAC Award?

No. There are five award categories where non-Hispanics may be honored. The categories are: Chairman’s Award (awarded at the discretion of the GMiS Chair), Education, Diversity, Community Service and the Vanguard Award. A non-Hispanic must perform work or outreach activities that strongly impact the Hispanic community’s participation in STEM.

Do you need a STEM bachelor’s degree to win a HENAAC Award?

In most cases, a person needs a bachelor’s degree in a STEM-based major to be eligible for awards other than those listed in Question #1. However, for military, law enforcement candidates and technologists, on-the-job training and breadth of experience will be considered in lieu of a bachelor’s degree.

How are the Engineer of the Year and/or Scientist of the Year selected?

You may not nominate an individual for the Engineer or Scientist of the Year. These individuals are selected from among the top candidates submitted in all professional categories. These honorees can be leaders working in any area of the STEM Enterprise. The Selection Committee seeks individuals, who model the technical excellence and leadership that significantly impact an industry, a field of science and/or engineering, academia, the Hispanic community, and our nation.

How is the 2020 nomination submission process different from previous years?

Two of the award categories available in previous years, Civil/Environmental Distinction as well as Information Technology are now part of the broader nomination categories such as Most Promising, Professional Achievement and Executive Excellence. The uploading and online process for nominations remains the same.  Due to the impact of “safer at home” orders and restrictions which continue to affect our nation and limit stakeholders’ access to personnel and organizational resources, GMiS has extended the deadline for the HENAAC Awards Nominations.  GMiS is also preparing to wave the attendance requirement for any prospective honoree who may be unable to travel due to Covid-19 related restrictions that may still be in effect. The nomination deadline this year is extended to June 19, 2020. You will be able to upload your nomination online – the nomination portal will be available in March. For more information, contact Monica Villafaña, Director, Client Relations & Executive Services at mvillafana@greatmindsinstem.org

What information is required for the online nomination form?

Once you create an online profile on the GMiS website nomination portal, you will be able to start your nomination process and see the nomination form. This form requests full name, title and contact information for the nominator as well as for the nominee. Additional information is needed for the nominee including: type of industry where nominee works, years of professional experience, levels of education, degrees & universities where individual matriculated, and information on nominee’s ethnic background.

What is the nominator statement?

Nominators must submit a statement which is a brief description, in 1,000 words or less, of why the individual they are nominating is deserving of the HENAAC award. The focus of this statement should be based on the criteria of the award category for which the individual is being nominated. A strong nominator statement should guide the selection committee on the important information on which they should focus while reviewing the nomination.

How many letters of recommendation should be included?

There should be a minimum of three (3) and a maximum of five (5) letters of recommendation dated in 2020. The letters can be written by a supervisor, co-worker or someone who has experienced the value of the person’s contribution in their specific STEM field. Each letter should be unique and not a repeated form letter. Any additional letters received after the 5th letter will not be included in the nomination packet for review.

What is an acceptable length for the biography?

The biography should be no more than 2-3 pages and should be a personal history including information the nominee is comfortable in disclosing publicly. The biography is an opportunity to share significant early-life experiences and motivating factors leading to their success or persistence in STEM. Nominees can share information about their background, struggles and achievements, awards or commendations, family history, special projects, unique hobbies, or other important life events. The biography should include information not discussed in the letters of recommendation.

Will you accept an entire thesis, papers, research, books, and video clips?

It is not necessary to include documents in their entirety. If the candidate has written a thesis, a book, or paper, please do not include these documents. With a limited amount of time to review each nomination packet, reviewers will not have the time to read such documents in depth. However, it is imperative to inform the committee of these accomplishments either in a brief summary or list. The only category that should submit more detailed research information is Outstanding Technical Achievement.


Video Clips: Please do not submit any multimedia clips. The committee will not have time to review video clips during the selection process. However, if the nominee is selected for an award, Great Minds in STEM™ will ask the organization for video clips that may be used in the award presentation.

May I resubmit a 2019 nomination packet?

Yes. However, GMiS requires new letters of recommendation with a current 2018 date. Letters of recommendation from previous years, have a tough time competing against current letters from other candidates.

May candidates be nominated in more than one category?

Yes. However, we do not recommend nominating a candidate for more than two categories in a given year. On the online nomination form please list under category the two categories where you would like the nominee to be considered. For example: Professional Achievement Level I & Outstanding Technical Achievement. You do not need to submit two separate packets. Great Minds in STEM™ will prepare the packets to be reviewed by the respective selection committees.

Is attendance at the HENAAC conference and Awards Show mandatory to win?

Due to the impact of “safer at home” orders and restrictions which continue to affect our nation and limit stakeholders’ access to personnel and organizational resources, GMiS is  preparing to wave the attendance requirement for any prospective honoree who may be unable to travel due to Covid-19 related restrictions that may still be in effect.

Yes. All winners must be able to attend the HENAAC Conference either in person or through virtual means from October 7-10, 2020 at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Lake Buena Vista, FL. If a winner is unable to attend, the next highest ranked candidate in that category will be declared the winner. Typically, the only exceptions to this rule are for service men and women who are on active duty, maternity leave or an extreme family emergency. In these cases, a leader from the organization or family member may accept on the winner’s behalf.

Does my company have to be a sponsor of the HENAAC Conference in order for me to apply and win an award?

No. The nomination and peer-review selection process is independent of conference sponsorship. GMiS has many winners from companies and organizations that are not conference sponsors.

When and how will candidates be notified if they are selected for an award?

GMiS will first contact individuals who nominated the winners via email. Winner announcement will take place on our website the week of August 6, 2018. A press release and a formal letter of notification with details about the conference, awards show, rehearsals, etc. will be mailed and sent by email the third week of August 2018. The nominators of individuals who did not win will receive letters and certificates of recognition indicating that their candidates were not selected for an award by the end of August 2018.

Who makes up the Selection Committee?

The Section Committee is composed of various Great Minds in STEM™ stakeholders, who have expertise in their given discipline. These committee members are divided into sub committees to evaluate the nominations. For example, individuals with doctoral and master degrees in technology serve on the Outstanding Technical Achievement Committee. These committees report to the Selection Committee Chair(s), who will make the final award selections. The Chair(s) of the committee is the Dean(s) of engineering or science of the Conference Academic Host(s).

Do you have to be a U.S. Citizen to be nominated?

No. You do not have to be a U.S. citizen to be nominated.

What are the components of a complete nomination package?
  • Online Nomination Form (see question 6)
  • Nominator Statement (see question 7)
  • Resume
  • Full Job Description
  • Organizational Chart
  • Biography (see question 9)
  • Recommendation Letters (see question 8)
  • High Resolution Color Photograph that is at least 300 dpi or higher
  • Synopsis of Key Research (for technical award categories only)
  • Articles about the Nominee (if applicable)
What if I still have additional questions?

If you have additional questions, please contact Monica Villafaña, Director of Professional Programs, at (323) 262-0997 or via email to mvillafana@greatmindsinstem.org