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A DiscoverE Program

Philadelphia Future City Competition Volunteer Information

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and uncertainty surrounding the school year and extracurricular activities, the regional and national competitions will be held virtually for the 2020-2021 competition year. We will still need many volunteers for the competition. Activities include working directly (virtually) with the student teams, virtual judging of essays prior to the competition, judging models and presentations, evaluating for special awards, general tasks, and serving on the Steering Committee to help plan the competition.


Mentor: Work with a student team to build their model and prepare for the competition. Teams are meeting virtually this year so you may be asked to work with a team outside your geographic area.

City Essay Judge: Evaluate a 1,500-word essay describing each team's city and response to the engineering challenge. The instructions for accessing and judging the essays will be emailed to you. Essays will be available for judging in mid-December and judging will be completed by mid-January. We anticipate 30-35 essays will be submitted; all judges will evaluate all essays, which could take about 20 minutes per essay. Rubrics will be provided.

Model/Presentation/Q&A Judge: All judging will be done virtually this year using Zoom and judges will input their scores into the Competition Management System (CMS). There will be three deliverables for each team that the judges will need to evaluate. The Model Slideshow (a pdf file) and a seven-minute Video Presentation will be available shortly after January 16; both will need to be judged and scores inputted into the CMS by January 26. The live ten-minute Q&A Session will be the morning of January 30. We anticipate that each judge will evaluate five to six teams and will need to evaluate all three elements for these teams. Rubrics will be provided for each deliverable. Training before the competition will be provided.

Special Awards Evaluator: Select which teams meet the criteria for a Special Award. Evaluators will be able to review team model slideshows and video presentations (available shortly after January 16) before the competition. These will also be available on the day of the competition. Evaluators will need to be available on the morning of January 30 to meet with teams virtually for Q&A. Scores will be recorded online which can be done using a mobile device while the a computer is used for Q&A via Zoom with the students. Training and detailed instructions will be provided.

Competition Support and Zoom Hosts: If you have been a “Competition Support” person in previous years, this is the equivalent role in the virtual world and we still need you regardless of Zoom experience. Zoom is our virtual platform and we need assistance both before and on the day of the competition to keep everything running smoothly. Individuals of all experience levels, including none, are needed. Duties will range from being virtual escorts for teams to helping to set up our virtual convention center. Instead of photographers we need people who can do screen captures. Training will be provided at all levels as needed.

Zoom Experts and Tech Gurus: The 2021 Philadelphia Future City Competition will be held in a virtual convention center and have about 50 simultaneous Zoom meeting throughout the morning. If you are already a Zoom expert or are an experienced tech person and know Zoom really well or want an excuse to learn more about it, we need you to help us pull this off. HTML and CSS skills would also be helpful but not required.

Contact me next year: I will not be able to participate this year, but contact me next year for the competition.

CLICK HERE to volunteer for the Competition
CLICK HERE for more information on the Future City Competition in Philadelphia
CLICK HERE for the national Future City Competition site