Nomination Frequently Asked Questions

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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 effectThe 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

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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.

11. 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.

12. 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.

13. 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.

14. 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.

15. 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.

16. 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).

17. 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?
A. Online Nomination Form (see question 6)
B. Nominator Statement (see question 7)
C. Resume;
D. Full Job Description
E. Organizational Chart
F. Biography (see question 9)
G. Recommendation Letters (see question 8)
H. High Resolution Color Photograph that is at least 300 dpi or higher
I. Synopsis of Key Research (for technical award categories only)
J. Articles about the Nominee (if applicable).

18. 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