For Individual Volunteers, NOT Groups

Join Backup List to Officiate for the Northeast Regional Middle School Science Bowl

2023 green and blue National Science Bowl logo


  • Saturday 2/25/2023, 8:30am to 1pm or to 6pm
  • Rain or shine.
  • Sign up by 2/01/2023
    2/1 is also the deadline for submission of the completed form and identification required for authorization of background checks by non-MIT student/staff applicants.

    Join the Backup List if you can reserve this day/time.


This fast-paced question-and-answer competition on subjects across biology, chemistry, earth and space science, physics, energy, and math will engage middle school students from MA, NH, ME, VT & RI. The winning team will compete against the other middle school regional bowl winners for the national title in-person in Washington, DC (4/27-5/1).

This is the eighth year that this regional competition is being held, and the first time middle school teams will compete in-person since the pandemic began. Matches will be played head-to-head.

While no science/engineering knowledge is required to keep score or time, or serve as an administrator, a positive and supportive attitude and attention to detail are very important for all roles.

We need volunteer moderators, science/question judges, score keepers, time keepers, and administrators:

  • Moderators Read questions for the students for several hours. Strong STEM background is required, and prior competition experience as a competitor and/or official is strongly recommended.
  • Science/Question Judges Follow along to ensure that moderator reads questions accurately, operate buzzer software and recognize students, and handle challenges on scientific merit. STEM background required. Prior NSB/comparable quiz bowl experience desired.
  • Score Keepers Keep track of and tally the scores for two teams. Requires attentiveness, focus on game play/details, and accurate arithmetic skills.
  • Time Keepers Make sure moderator and students observe the timing rules of the competition. As needed, loudly announce when time runs out and "5-second" warnings.
  • Administrators Check teams in, run score sheets, set up, and perform miscellaneous tasks to help the competition run smoothly - No prior experience or training-practice required
Volunteers will receive free lunch and t-shirts that must be worn while officiating.

Learn more about the National Science Bowl organized by the US Department of Energy at


MIT, Cambridge

Note: PMD only shares specific directions, maps, and other details with registered volunteers since we cannot accommodate any walk-ins, i.e., unregistered volunteers simply showing up.


The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Science Bowl® (NSB) is a nation-wide academic competition that tests students’ knowledge in science and mathematics.

The NSB encourage excelling in the sciences and math, and further encourage STEM careers. Teams answer fast-paced questions about biology, chemistry, earth and space science, physics, energy, and math. Students meet current and retired professionals from STEM fields. NSB also exposes students to opportunities offered by the DOE's Office of Science, such as internships, jobs, and connections to basic research.



It has been several years since the last in-person version of this competition has taken place due to the pandemic, so training-practice is required on Thursday 2/16*, 6-8pm at MIT for all non-administrative volunteers UNLESS they officiated for the 11/12/22 in-person MIT Science Bowl invitational in the same role(s) that they plan for 2/25/23, they plan to volunteer in only an administrative role and not any backup official role.
*People who require training-practice but who are unavailable on 2/16 can request a makeup session at MIT by listing their availability 2/17-22.

To officiate apply by 2/1 at
Registrants must be age 18 or older, agree to an online MIT Science Bowl Code of Conduct, AND non-MIT-students and non-MIT staff must authorize PMD to conduct required background checks (new in 2023).
Incomplete submissions cannot be honored.

We canNOT accept any UNregistered, walk-in volunteers.

Participation is required for the entire project shift for which you sign up.

AFTER the 2/1 application deadline, interested volunteers can join the backup list, since we anticipate (and promote) cancellations due to illnesses and covid-19 exposures. Joining the PMD backup list means making a commitment to reserve the shift (and any required training) that you select until the date you provide.

Call PMD if you cannot apply using our form.
If you experience any difficulty applying online to volunteer with PMD, please immediately CALL THE PMD OFFICE at (*82) 1-781-963-0373 so that we can help you AND troubleshoot the problem so that other potential volunteers will not face the same problem. Thanks!

After you apply, you will see a confirmation screen and receive a confirmation email message, so be sure to save the date and times on your calendars AND add to your address/white/allow list.

Then a few days before the training-practice and this competition the MIT organizers will email specific details, including directions to the project site by public transit and by car, what to expect, checklist, and map.



Up to 150 middle school students from MA, NH, ME, VT, and RI on as many as 30 teams will compete head-to-head, in-person at MIT (after two virtual years). Each team has 4-5 students and a coach who is usually a teacher.

MIT students from the MIT Science Bowl Club organize this annual competition as well as a high school invitational each November.

People Making a Difference (PMD) is a nonprofit organization that promotes informed and responsible volunteerism by involving people in tangible work that meets local needs and by assisting companies in building successful community involvement programs that:
  • Produce appreciable results while conserving recipients' limited resources
  • Educate volunteers about broader issues
  • Bring people together to make a difference
PMD is hosting the virtual 3/18/23 Maine High School Science Bowl, for which volunteers may apply at by 2/27.



Video of the in-person middle school 2022 national finals championship round:

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