Inspiration to Impact

Elevating STEM voices that have historically been left out of the conversation so that more students can visualize their own successful career in STEM.

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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 that support all who wish to endeavor there. With our Unscripted Series, inSTEM mentoring program, Experts Connect Program, and Virtual STEM Spotlights, we are committed to creating these types of supportive STEM communities.

Through our programs, we seek to:

  • Lower the STEM attrition rate among college students from underrepresented groups
  • Give students and teachers the tools they need to create more inclusive STEM communities on campuses across the country
  • Build an alliance across academia, government, industry, and nonprofit sectors to give students access to a broader, more comprehensive support network
  • Elevate voices that have historically been left out of the conversation so that more students can visualize their own successful career in STEM
  • Honor STEM’s high achievers by including them in the work of building equitable communities
The Unscripted Series

What we have learned over the years is that through our Unscripted program, we have an opportunity to expand the universe of stories being shared on our stage. Moreover, many of the students in our audiences, especially those from underrepresented groups, do not always see themselves reflected at the highest levels of STEM.

We take these lessons to heart each time we plan an Unscripted event. The numbers speak for themselves. To date, 83 percent of Unscripted speakers and 79 percent of attendees were from underrepresented communities in STEM. In the past three years, we have welcomed more than 2,060 in-person attendees and more than 20,000 online views. The Unscripted series has landed at 16 colleges and universities, featuring 47 Laureates and experts in intimate settings with students and members of the public.

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:

2019 Annual Report

2018 Annual Report

Your contribution to the NSTMF not only serves to celebrate scientific advancement, ingenuity, and exploration, but also symbolizes your commitment to building a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive future in STEM.


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