Finn H., a Bear with Pack 278, spent the year working towards earning the Dr. Luis W. Alvarez Supernova Award. The Dr. Luis W. Alvarez Supernova Award is an achievement for Wolf and Bear Scouts in the Cub Scouts, BSA. Over the course of a year, Finn worked with his Supernova Mentor, Clare Davis, to complete nine different requirements in the area of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Pack 278 is located in Braddock Heights, Maryland and has been chartered with the Braddock Heights Volunteer Fire Department for over 60 years. Finn H. is the first Scout in the history of the Pack to earn this award.
In July of 2019, Finn began the journey by completing his first requirement; visit with someone who works in a STEM-related Career. Finn’s grandfather, an Eagle Scout, is an oceanographer who works for the University of Southern Mississippi. Dr. Eric Powell has been in the field of oceanography/marine biology for the past 34 years studying shellfish and oyster restoration. Finn interviewed Dr. Powell to learn what he enjoyed most about his work. Dr. Powell’s favorite parts of the job were learning new things that were not known before and computer programming.
Learning about influential people in the STEM fields is a large part of the process in earning the Supernova Award. Along with learning about Dr. Luis W. Alvarez himself, Finn had to choose three other famous scientists, technology innovators, engineers, or mathematicians. Finn chose to investigate the lives of Albert Einstein, Neil Armstrong, and Josef Kates. Upon learning about these men, Finn learned that they had many similarities in their lives. All had a curious streak as children that would occasionally get them into trouble but ultimately drove them to excellence in their careers.
Throughout the year, Finn completed Bear electives investigating different science fields. During the Forensic Adventure, Finn learned about fingerprints and chromatography. The highlight of this adventure was watching a Police K-9 dog conduct a working track. During the Make It Move Adventure, Finn learned about the physics behind simple machines and created a Rube Goldberg-type machine with the help of his den.
With only two requirements left to complete, the COVID-19 lockdown threatened Finn’s successful completion of the Supernova Award. Finn completed a science experiment investigating how solar ovens work and planned on presenting it in the Annual Frederick County Public School Science Fair in April. Due to the lockdown, Finn’s mother had to record his presentation from home and send it to his Mentor. Finn’s last requirement was to participate in a NOVA Award activity with his Pack. Finn joined several Scouts from his pack and a Scout from Pack 651 in Adamstown to complete the Up and Away Nova over Zoom.
Without the dedication of Finn’s Supernova Mentor and Pack Leaders, Finn would have had difficulty finishing this award during regular times. As Finn’s mother, and fellow STEM enthusiast, I would like to thank all those that helped Finn complete and earn the achievement. He is already excited to start again this summer on the next one, the Dr. Charles H. Townes Supernova Award!