For Individual Volunteers, NOT Groups

Officiate for the virtual Alumni Ocean Sciences Invitational (AOSI)

2023 blue Alumni Ocean Sciences Invitational logo


  • Sunday 5/14/2023, 8:30am to 1:05pm or to 2pm ET
  • Rain or shine.
  • Sign up by 5/01/2023
    ~1 volunteers are still needed.


This fast-paced question-and-answer competition on marine sciences will pit eight teams in an academic quiz bowl format. Competitors will use a digital buzzer system to respond to rapid-fire multiple choice and short answer questions. Additionally, team members collaborate to answer complex analytical Team Challenge Questions (TCQs).

While no ocean sciences knowledge is required to serve as a recognizer, timekeeper, scorekeeper, or monitor, a positive and supportive attitude and attention to detail are very important for all roles.

We need volunteer moderators, ocean science judges, recognizers, ocean sciences graders, rules judges, scorekeepers, timekeepers, and monitors:

  • Moderators Read questions clearly and maintain the pace of the game and the competition room. Must demonstrate excellent public speaking skills and mastery of technology during training/selection process. While one computer is OK, two are ideal so that you will not risk accidentally screen sharing the questions and answers. Also required to serve as zoom meeting host, for which "how to" instructions will be provided. Prior competition experience as a competitor and/or official is strongly recommended since this person runs the competition zoom meeting.
  • Ocean Science Judges Ensure that Moderators reads the questions and answer choices accurately. When needed, help Moderator decide whether an answer is correct. Address scientific challenges. Sometimes review/correct questions in advance of competition Strong ocean sciences background required.
  • Recognizers Control lockout buzzer software and verbally recognize p who buzzes in. Requires very reliable internet connection and computer. Fast reactions are critical.
  • Ocean Sciences Graders Grade/score teams' responses to team challenge questions in TCQ software and resolve scientific challenges. Requires strong ocean sciences/STEM background.
  • Rules Judges Take attendance and ensure consistent screen name usage. Maintain order in the competition rooms, enforce rules, respond to challenges to the rules, and issue warnings. Also cross-train and serve as Scorekeepers and/or Timekeepers during the competition day if needed.
  • Scorekeepers Track and record the teams' scores throughout the game on a google spreadsheet that is shared with teams within zoom. Obtain team captains' confirmation of final score and team winner in zoom chat. Check and submit final scores/scoresheet spreadsheet. Also cross-train and alternate as Rules Judges during the competition day if possible.
  • Timekeepers Mark the game time with an online clock and shared scoresheet that are selectively screen-shared with teams within zoom. Issue loud verbal warnings before time runs out.
  • Monitors Visually observe competitors in zoom to ensure that they are not consulting outside sources of information. Help rules judge enforce rules.
Learn more about the new AOSI at



Note: We only shares zoom links, schedules, and other details with registered volunteers and teams since we cannot accommodate any observers/audience members or walk-ins, i.e., unregistered volunteers or teams.


This virtual competition will provide competitors with fun opportunities to test their knowledge and understanding of ocean sciences.

2023 would just not feel right without celebrating ocean sciences through some friendly competition.... NOSB alumni/ae volunteers have long bragged about their ocean sciences knowledge and understanding behind-the-scenes, so with the advent of virtual, head-to-head competitions during the pandemic and then NOSB suspending all official competitions in 2022-23, we decided that 2023 would be a great time to offer alumni this opportunity to show their stuff!

People Making a Difference (PMD) aims to strengthen the community, including STEM education, by engaging volunteers as officials and role models. PMD has hosted all virtual Blue Lobster Bowl (BLB; MA) and Quahog Bowl (CT & RI) regional competitions "head-to-head" (and all prior in-person BLB competitions at MIT) for the National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB), also founded by Admiral James D. Watkins seven years after he founded the National Science Bowl (NSB).



A 2-hour zoom training-practice session is required for all volunteer officials on either:
  • Saturday 4/22, 9:30-11:30am or 12noon-2pm ET, or
  • Tuesday 4/25, 7-9pm ET, or
  • Sunday 4/30, 3:30-5:30pm, or 6-8pm ET
unless you will serve as an ocean sciences Grader (for which a separate, 40-min zoom meeting is required and will be scheduled via doodle) or a Monitor with no back-up roles requiring training and practicing.

To officiate, apply by 4/14 at

Incomplete submissions cannot be honored.

We canNOT accept any UNregistered volunteers.

Participation is required for the entire competition morning, but as teams are eliminated, then we will try to honor as many volunteers' requests for early dismissal as we can.

AFTER the 4/14 application deadline, interested volunteers can join the backup list, since we anticipate cancellations due to illnesses.
Joining the PMD backup list means making a commitment to reserve the morning and training-practice session 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 training-practice and competition dates and times on your calendars AND add AND to your address/white/allow list.

Then a few days before your (assume first-choice unless notified at end of February) training-practice session and this competition PMD will email specific details, what to wear/expect, checklist, important links/downloads, etc.



Teams of high school students and other alumni competitors of regional competitions of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB) will compete virtually for bragging rights during this "gap year."

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.



"We need to respect the oceans and take care of them as if our lives depended on it. Because they do."
-Sylvia Earle

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