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Nominations Frequently Asked Questions

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 are Luminary Honorees and STEM Heroes selected?

Individuals cannot be nominated directly for the Luminary or STEM Hero Awards. To be considered for one of these award categories the nominee must first be nominated in one of the HENAAC Award Categories. The Selection Committees will recommend individuals for these awards. Please note, individuals do not have to be Hispanic to received these awards, however they should impact the Hispanic STEM community.

How is the 2022 nomination submission process different from previous years?

In 2020, the nominations review committee began a paperless, fully virtual online nomination process. This new process necessitated a few changes in how you will upload your nominations. Although you will continue to upload nominations through a web portal on our website, the portal will request you submit each document in a PDF format and individually.

The nomination portal will open in early March for you to start uploading information. For more details contact Monica Villafaña, Director, Client Relations & Executive Services at

Note: All information submitted via the nomination portal is protected and secure. Only authorized reviewers and administrators will have access to nomination information.

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 has a nominator and nominee section and requires the following:

Nominator: This section will require the nominator’s – Full Name, Title and Contact Information (including email and phone number).

Nominee: This section will require the nominee’s – Full Name, Title and Contact Information (including email and phone number). Type of industry where nominee works & years of professional experience. Levels of education, degrees & universities where individual matriculated. 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. A strong nominator statement should guide the selection committee reviewers on the important information on which they should concentrate while reviewing the nomination. The focus of this statement should be based on the criteria of the award category for which the individual is being nominated.

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. All letters must be current and dated in the nomination year. 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 3 pages and should be a personal and professional history including challenges and obstacles the candidate is comfortable in disclosing. 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 2021 nomination packet?

Yes. GMiS encourages individuals who were not selected to be nominated again. This is a very competitive process and many deserving individuals do not receive an award on the first nomination. If an individual was previously nominated, we encourage you to review the packet and enhance it with any additional information or accomplishments from the previous year. Even if the packet is left as is, GMiS requires new letters of recommendation with a current 2022 date. Letters of recommendation from previous years, have a tough time competing against current letters of recommendation submitted in nominations for other candidates and are not advisable.

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 choose 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. However, when putting the nomination together please make sure they meet the criteria and include the appropriate documents for both categories. In the example above, the documents required for Outstanding Technical Achievement should be included. Great Minds in STEM™ will ensure the packets meet the criteria for both categories and that they are reviewed by the respective selection committees.

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

Yes, Traditionally all winners must be able to attend the conference which is taking place in Pasadena, CA – October 5-8, 2022. However, Safety is of the utmost priority and due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, GMiS will remain flexible to meet the needs called for by the situation. If a winner is unable to attend (in any capacity), 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 a personal or 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 second week in August 2022. 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 2022. 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 2022.

Who makes up the Selection Committee?

The Section Committee is composed of various Great Minds in STEM™ stakeholders, including many past award winners 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
  • Nominator Statement
  • Resume
  • Full Job Description
  • Organizational Chart
  • Biography
  • Recommendation Letters
  • High Resolution Color Photograph that is at least 1 MB – 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 extension 103 or via email to