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Reference Guide

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 in BEAM. 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 requests.

What information is provided in BEAM?
References are able to view the following information:

  1. Award/medal scope
  2. Proposed citation for the nominee
  3. 1-page narrative/letter of support from the nominator
  4. Nominee’s CV/Resume


What is required from references?

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 - this must be a PDF document.

What makes a strong reference?

  • One that focuses on achievements, contributions, etc. that support the proposed citation.
  • One that presents a personal perspective.
  • One that avoids duplicating the nominator’s narrative and that provides a unique interpretation of the value and impact of the nominee’s contributions.
  • One that focuses on accomplishments that support the scope of the award/medal.

Do I need to submit a new reference letter for each review cycle?

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.


When are References due?

15 April
Paul F. Forman Team Engineering Excellence Award & OSA Treasurer's Award  

10 August
Herbert Walther Award 

18 August
John Tyndall Award

10 October
All other Awards & Medals


Paul F. Forman Team Engineering Excellence Award
15 April

OSA Treasurer's Award 
15 April

Herbert Walther Award
10 August
All materials for 2020 should be submitted to DPG.

John Tyndall Award
10 August
All materials for 2020 should be submitted to IEEE Photonics Society.

All Remaining Awards & Medals
10 October

Please note that not all awards/medals are presented every year.