Design Competition

For Mentors and Judges

STEM experts and STEM University students can serve as either a mentor, a judge – or both! This is a highly rewarding role where you can enthusiastically share your work and experience to inspire middle school students to pursue a STEM career! You can also help to keep educators inspired and support them in their teaching practice. So, get ready to plant seeds and watch them grow! Note – all mentoring and judging activities will take place online/virtually.


As a mentor, you will be directly involved with students providing them with value feedback on their project design. You will also share your career and real world experience with them to help them translate their academic studies into real design and engineering work.
You will interact with students virtually via email or video-conferencing – which ever works best for you and the school.

To learn more about the role of a mentor for this year’s competition, download this mentor flyer.  And make sure to check out the FAQs below for even more information.


As a judge, you will decide whether to judge the Habitat entries and/or the Technology entries. You will be provided a simple scoring rubric to use as you judge each entry. You will also be asked to provide constructive feedback to the student teams.

Your support as a judge is vital to the program success. And your interaction with the teams will inspire students and educators to pursue STEM education. It is fun and rewarding and will leave a lasting impression! To learn more about the role of a judge for this year’s competition, download the judge’s flyer.  For more information check out the FAQs.

Ready to register as a mentor or judge?

Mentors must register by March 11th.

Mentor Registration Form

Judges must register by April 10th.

Judge Registration Form

Mentor FAQs

Who can serve as a mentor?
We recruit a diverse group of people to become mentors. A variety of backgrounds are preferred such as career professional in science, technology, engineering and/or mathematics. College students studying related STEM fields and those who are retired from a STEM profession are welcomed to join!
What makes a good mentor?
Good mentors enjoy their career and are interested in inspiring students to purse a STEM career. Good mentors know how to provide constructive feedback and are willing to coach students and educators.
How much time will I spend as a mentor?

At minimum, mentors will spend about 20 minutes per team (teams consist of 4-6 students). This includes reviewing a team’s 2 min Introductory video and providing them with either video, voice, or written (email) feedback on their project design/concept. At this time, we also ask you to introduce yourself and your profession to the student teams. You will be assigned between 2-3 teams (depending on the number of mentors available). This will take place around mid to end of March. Mentors are encouraged to follow-up with their teams around mid-April to check on the team’s progress and answer any questions. This follow-up will take approximately 15 minutes per team. See the schedule in the Competition Handbook for exact dates.

I do not have experience as a space engineering or architect, can I still be a mentor?
Mentors should have a technical background to understand the project and coach a team. You may need to do a bit of research about the moon and space, but you do not need to be a technical expert in those areas. As long as you have a good understanding of engineering and science practices you will be set. Also, resources focused on lunar topics will be provided to you on the NWAY webpage. Remember, your goal is to help students brainstorm, research, problem solve and think creatively – no matter what your STEM area of expertise is.
Can I be a mentor and a judge?

Yes! In fact, we would love that! We will assign a different set of teams to you as a judge so that you are not judging the same team(s) you are mentoring. Please see the judges flyer and the FAQs for judges to learn more.

What resources are available to me as a mentor?

The NWAY website is a great resource to provide a background about the program and program goals. The Competition Handbook can provide specific details about this year’s competition.

Judge FAQs

Who can serve as a judge?
We recruit a diverse group of people to serve as judges. A variety of backgrounds are preferred such as career professional in science, technology, engineering and/or mathematics. College students studying related STEM fields and those who are retired from a STEM profession are welcomed to join!
How much time will I spend as a judge?

It depends on how many categories you decide to judge and if you decide to judge both the large group competition and the Final round. For details and dates please see the Judge’s Flyer. As a general overview:

  • The large group competition will take place late-April. Each judge will be assigned a minimum of 4-6 teams to judge (if you can take more, that would be great!). You will view the 4 min. video presentation for each team and complete the scoring rubric. You will also provide feedback (written or audio recorded) to each team. In total, the estimated time to judge each team is 15-20 minutes. You will have approximately 4 days to complete the judging for your assigned teams and upload the scores and feedback.
  • The Final Round will take place early May and will be held online in a conference styled setting (see flyer for specific date and time). Your time commitment will include 20-30 min to familiarize yourself with the online conference tool and approximately 2 hours for the conference.
    You can decide to participate as a judge in both competitions or only one.
Will training be provided?

A training video will be provided prior to the competition and the NWAY team will be available to answer questions.

Can I serve as a judge if I have mentored a team (or teams)?

Yes, however you will be assigned to judge teams that you have not mentored.

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