Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh)

Regional Coordinator: Carl Schwartz

Future City Pittsburgh Volunteer Opportunities

Ways to Get Involved  

We can't host the Pittsburgh Regional Future City Competition without your help! We are in need of a wide array of Pre-Competition Day and Competition Day Judges and Volunteers, the descriptions for each opportunity are listed below.

If you are interested in signing up to be either a Future City Competition Judge or Volunteer you may register via the following link -

NEW Dates are being determined!


The Pittsburgh Region is beginning its 21st year in the National Future City Competition. The number of Middle Schools that have registered in the Pittsburgh Regional Competition has grown each year. The Competition's growth is testimony to the program's unique capacity to challenge students to learn and test new concepts related to engineering and city planning, to apply the mathematics and science they have already learned, to explore their imaginations about what our Cities will be like in the future, and to build an example of the result using ingenuity and their own hands. But another facet of the Pittsburgh Regional Future City Competition that has allowed it to expand is the associated growth of a cadre of dedicated volunteers. Because without volunteers, there would be no Competition.

Volunteer as an Engineer Mentor:  

Starting in September, the Competition begins to recruit volunteers to act as the Engineer Mentor for each of the schools that would like to enroll. The Mentor meets with the student team and the teacher at regular intervals from October through Competition Day, on Saturday, January 18, 2020. Serving as a Mentor may require from 30, to as many as 40 hours of your time, and although there must be only one official Engineer Mentor, we may assign two mentors as co-mentors at some schools, to spread the load and increase the student's contact with engineers.

The mentor's first responsibility is to guide the students through, what might be described as, the project development process. The students must become familiar with the Competition's requirements and rules, and the schedule for deliverables. The students will need to develop their own plan and schedule for completion of their project and divide and assign responsibilities for various tasks. And of course, the students must assess unexpected difficulties and occurrences and revise their plan and schedule.

The mentor's second responsibility is to teach the students about the various engineering disciplines, and the role that engineers play in building and maintaining a city. Before the deadline for school enrollment, October 14, 2019, we estimate that we will need to identify as many as thirty volunteers to act as Engineer Mentors. 

Register to be an Engineer Mentor Online:


Volunteer as a Virtual City Judge (November 25 - January 12, ONLINE):

The teams will design a Virtual City using SimCity software and present their city’s progress via a slideshow on November 25, 2019. Once a volunteer has reviewed the rubric, it takes about 15 minutes to judge. Each team’s Virtual City slideshow will be judged by three different judges, and we expect as many at least thirty schools to submit them.  We anticipate a need for ten to twenty judges for this deliverable.  Judging can be done at your convenience. As judges complete their scoring, they will submit the scores via the National Future City online database (CMS). 

Volunteer as an Essay Judge (December 16 - January 12, ONLINE): 

On December 16, 2019, The City Description is due for the second deliverable. Each City Description will be judged by three different judges, with each judge scoring several submittals. We anticipate a need for a minimum of twenty city design judges. Each judge will work independently, scoring their city descriptions and submitting their scores via the National Future City online database (CMS). 

Volunteer as a Project Plan Judge (January 11 - January 18, ONLINE):

On January 11, 2020 the third and final online deliverable is due, the Project Plan. Judges are needed to confirm that the each team has submitted a Project Plan online before or on January 11th. Unlike the other Future City deliverables, there is no rubric for the Project Plan. Teams that complete and submit all four parts of the Project Plan (Part 1. Set Goals, Part 2. Create a Schedule, Part 3. Conduct Check-Ins, Part 4. Reflect on the Project) will receive ten points. Teams that submit an incomplete plan will receive five points. Teams that do not submit a plan will receive zero points. 

Volunteer as a Model/Presentation Judge  (January 18 @ Carnegie Science Center):

Finally, on Saturday, January 18, 2020, the final competition will be held at the Center for STEM Education and Career Development at the Carnegie Science Center. Judges are needed to judge student presentations, knowledge of the city, and models during Competition Day on Saturday, January 18th. 

Special Awards Judges (January 18 @ Carnegie Science Center):

Judge model cities for special awards such as Best Use of Steel, Best Transportation System, etc. as sponsored by various companies and technical societies during Competition Day on Saturday, January 18th.

Specification Judge (January 18 @ Carnegie Science Center):

Verify that the models and presentation aides meet dimensional and technical specifications during Competition Day on Saturday, January 18th.

Register to be a Judge Online, If you have any questions regarding Pre-Competition Day and Competition Day Judging, please contact Keith Jensen at for more information. If you have any questions regarding Special Awards Judging, please contact Lori Rankin at

Model Movers:

Assist with unloading team models, set up, and tear down during Competition Day on Saturday, January 18th.

Room Managers / Time Keepers:

Control the judging process in a presentation room, pass out scoring materials, and time the actual presentation and question period. Room Managers and Time Keepers are critical to maintaining the judging schedule during Competition Day on Saturday, January 18th.

Score Keepers:

Receive scoring information, double-check it, and input data into Excel during Competition Day on Saturday, January 18th. 

Control (Guides/Security):

Ensure that participants and volunteers are in the correct and/or designated locations as assigned. Provide general assistance in solving problems and guiding students, teachers, teams, and judges to through the Science Center during Competition Day on Saturday, January 18th.

If you would like to sign-up to be a Future City Competition Judge or Volunteer, please register via the following link -

**Our goal is to identify all volunteers and make assignments by January 12, 2020. Note that the Volunteer Committee makes every effort to assign volunteers to the requested volunteer function, but you may be requested to help in another role.

Add Your Name to Our Volunteers List! - Volunteers are crucial to the success of the Pittsburgh Regional Future City Competition. We need more than 200 volunteer throughout the competition. Judges and Mentors can be engineers, technical professionals, architects, city or urban planners or others who work in the engineering and technical community. Judges are required to review the Judging Manual and become familiar with the rubrics and challenge topic. Event day volunteers will be provided with an orientation prior to school arrivals on competition day. Please contact Lorren Kezmoh at for additional information.