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Awards & Medals Reference Guide

This guide is intended for individuals who have been asked to serve as a reference for an award or medal nomination.  Your contribution to the process is very important.  In the interest of efficiency and speed, all references are submitted online through BEAM, our Awards and Honors System.

Please remember that the nominee should not participate in the nomination process, nor be aware that they have been nominated. Please do not contact the nominee directly regarding their nomination.

The nominator will enter your name and contact information into BEAM.  You will then receive an email from with a link to the reference form.

If you have difficultly accessing BEAM, please contact the Awards Office or use the password reset link in the email.

Important - please do not create a new account as it won’t be associated with your reference request(s).

Reference Deadlines

30 June
Herbert Walther Award 

10 August
John Tyndall Award

10 October
All other Awards & Medals

Reference Information

All reference information is submitted online through BEAM. Any documents must be uploaded as PDF files. The following is needed for a reference:

  1. A letter or statement describing your specific knowledge of the nominee's accomplishments that support their nomination for the award/medal. This should emphasize those achievements that align with the scope of the award/medal.

Note: Nominations are automatically considered for three consecutive review cycles. Reference letters are carried over into the next cycle automatically. While no changes or new letters are required, it is recommended that references update their documents to make sure the information is current. Please note that the review committee can only see the most current letter submitted, they do not have access to materials submitted in prior cycles.

Information Available to References

When you access the reference submission site you will see the following information:

  1. Award/medal scope
  2. Nominee’s name
  3. Proposed citation
  4. A link to the nominator’s one (1) page narrative/statement of support that outlines why this nominee should be recognized
  5. A link to the nominee’s CV/Resume
Reference Do's and Don'ts


  1. Include the nominee in the process!
  2. Forget to check for spelling errors, typos and grammatical errors.
  3. Repeat/duplicate the narrative.
  4. Comment on achievements/accomplishments that you are not familiar with.
  5. Assume that the reviewer knows the nominee well.
  6. Use generalizations.
  7. Focus on accomplishments/work that are outside of the award/medal scope.
  8. Just say your nominee is outstanding – prove it!
  1. Review the materials submitted by the nominator before starting your reference.
  2. Focus on the achievements, contributions, etc. that support the proposed citation and award/medal scope.
  3. Proofread your material for typos and mistakes.
  4. Include qualitative and quantitative facts, statistics, metrics, etc.
  5. Provide a personal perspective, and highlight what makes the nominee unique.
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