Events and Programs

Inspiration to Impact

Today, we not only celebrate STEM excellence, but we also advocate for the creation of inclusive, diverse, and equitable STEM communities and the tangible benefits they have on scientific and technological progress.

The NSTMF was founded nearly thirty years ago on the belief that scientific and technological advancement are potent agents of positive change. Our mission then was focused on celebrating the women, men, and companies who received the National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation - the nation’s highest STEM honors.

In the last five years, the Foundation has evolved dramatically. Today, we not only celebrate STEM excellence, but we also work to build inclusive, diverse, and equitable STEM communities and the tangible benefits they have on scientific and technological progress.

Through our programming, the NSTMF pursues the following objectives.

Inspire a new generation of STEM leaders that reflects the diversity of our society.

Through our inSTEM program and the Unscripted Series, we aim to build resilient and diverse STEM communities at colleges and universities across the country. The high attrition rate of first-year STEM students, especially those from underrepresented groups, perpetuates a representation problem in collegiate and post-collegiate STEM communities. We believe that intervention at this point in a student’s journey is critical. Through effective mentoring, community building, and storytelling, we give students the tools and the inspiration they need to succeed.

Build public appreciation for the role of science and technology in our lives and the role of diversity in innovation. 

Breakthroughs in science and technology benefit nearly every realm of human endeavor. From sport to medicine, photography to quantum computing, the impact of STEM pioneers cannot be overstated. We believe that broad appreciation for science and technology makes it easier for scientists and innovators to fund, apply, and earn recognition for their work. Moreover, we believe it is essential to shed light on the role diversity plays in achieving a scientific breakthrough or a technological advancement. Through our events, programming, and publications, we provide public forums for voices that have historically been left out of STEM conversations, showing a new generation that diverse STEM communities are strong STEM communities.

Honor those doing excellent work in STEM, advancing their field, and creating more equitable STEM communities.

For thirty years, the NSTMF has had the privilege of honoring the Laureates of the National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation and we continue to honor these extraordinary individuals. Additionally, we are committed to highlighting the many other STEM leaders paving the way for a more equitable future. As we look to the future, we see a world where the new classes of NMS and NMTI Laureates reflect the diversity of our society. Achieving this goal will require intervention at every point in the STEM pipeline to keep people of all races, genders, sexual orientations, abilities, and socio-economic statuses engaged in and valued for their work. And it will require talented role models and teachers who can support and identify with this new generation of scientists and innovators.

The Unscripted Series

The Unscripted Series, formerly “An Evening With,” features National Medal Laureates and other prominent STEM experts in intimate, discussion-centric events where students are encouraged to participate and ask questions. Now in its fourth year, the program has featured 47 experts, reached an audience of more than 18,500 students, professors, and members of the public, and fostered relationships with 14 universities and institutions. 

The program is designed with underrepresented groups in mind and features a diverse group of speakers, showing students of all races, genders, and socio-economic backgrounds that there is a bright future for them in STEM. Since 2017, we have hosted 47 speakers 70 percent of whom are women and people of color. In 2019, 20 of 24 speakers were women and people of color.

 The diversity of our stages reflects the diversity of our attendees. 2019 marked our most diverse in-person audience yet with more than half of attendees identifying as a woman and/or person of color.

"The speakers were directly responding to the questions in a very informative and educational manner. Despite the intellectual level of the discussion, there were few pieces of the conversation that I did not immediately grasp."

Our Unscripted Series is a national program; since 2017, it has been hosted at the following schools:

Washington, DC: The George Washington University, Georgetown University, Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies, Howard University, Georgetown Day High School
Troy, NY: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Atlanta, GA: Spelman College
Evanston, IL: Northwestern University
Baltimore, MD: University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Portland, OR: Portland State University
Stanford, CA: Stanford University
Haverford, PA: Haverford College
Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Tampa, FL: University of South Florida
Los Angeles, CA: University of Southern California
Madison, WI: Wisconsin Institute for Discovery
Arlington, TX: University of Texas at Arlington

"Dr. Tapia’s story was inspiring! I felt like he was speaking to me directly."

The Unscripted Series has grown to reach high school students through our luncheon program. On the day of each Unscripted evening event, we bring Laureates and experts to a catered lunch with local high school students where age and stature don’t matter. At these bright and conversational lunches, students ask insightful questions that spark conversation and make generational differences seem insignificant. 


In the Fall of 2020, the NSTMF is launching inSTEM, an auxiliary support network of and for students. With the rising number of students leaving STEM majors, inSTEM creates a support system that provides students with the resources and experience they need to succeed in their field. This program primarily aims for undergraduate students to build community, gain professional development, and have access to opportunities to connect with mentors and role models.

"It was great to hear from such a successful female chemist openly talk about the challenges women in STEM face."

To learn more about the NSTMF's programming:

Annual Report 2018

This page was last updated in January 2020.