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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, OSA’s Awards and Honors System. 

The nominator will enter your name and contact information into BEAM.  You will then receive an email from OSA with a link to the reference form in BEAM. If you have difficultly accessing BEAM, please contact the OSA Awards Office or use the password reset link in the email. Important - please do not create a new OSA 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?

  1. Provide a letter or statement describing your specific knowledge of the nominee's accomplishments that support the nomination for this award. 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.

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 OSA Awards & Medals

Important Note:  The nominee does not participate in the process. To maintain confidentiality, the necessary facts should be obtained from the nominee only if the complete and correct background information is not available elsewhere.


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.