PMIEF Supports Future City Competition

Ever wonder what life would be like somewhere other than Earth? Or what it would take to live on the moon? The student participants in DiscoverE's Future City Competition are wondering just that—and creating bold project management plans for the future.

Future City, a program of DiscoverE, the preeminent engineering competition for middle–school–aged youth, engages more than 40,000 young people each year in the United States and abroad who are interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). This year, the PMI Educational Foundation (PMIEF) and PMI chapter volunteers are helping to judge regional competitions and the upcoming national 2020–2021 Future City Competition–"Living on the Moon"—which challenges teams of youth in sixth, seventh and eighth grades to design a lunar city that uses two moon resources to keep citizens safe and healthy.

Since 2013, PMIEF has helped DiscoverE integrate project management into its premier events and program. As a result, students have learned how to develop a project management plan to guide their design of a city 100 years into the future that addresses myriad social, environmental and technological concerns.

In January and February, PMI chapter volunteers and PMIEF advocates helped judge the winners of the Best Project Plan award for nearly 30 Future City Competition regions across the United States, in preparation for the national event taking place on 13 March.

While PMIEF has been sponsoring the Best Project Plan award for many years now, 2020—2021 is the first academic year where nearly all aspects of the competition have been virtual.

By using PMIEF's questions and scoring rubric (aligned with the Future City Competition handbook's guidelines of "define, plan, do and review"), volunteers assessed how well youth learned and applied project management when designing their city of tomorrow during their regional events. They determined the top–scoring teams by reviewing their written statements and recorded presentations, or by meeting with them during a real–time, virtual Q&A session.

We're so grateful for the help and volunteerism of the PMI chapter members who helped make the Best Project Plan award a reality. Below are some volunteer testimonials about the impact of volunteering with Future City.

For more information on DiscoverE and the upcoming competition, visit And don't forget to check back with PMIEF to learn who the winners of the national event in April 2021 will be!

Participating in Future City is an adventure! All of the presentations submitted and viewed demonstrated initiative and collaboration, and I applaud them all. I tremendously enjoyed judging and presenting PMIEF's Best Project Plan award, as well as the keynote address by Dr. Jan Davis, a former NASA astronaut. Thank you for this opportunity to give back!

When I was asked to judge PMIEF's Best Project Plan award, I wasn't sure what I was getting into! But when I learned this year's theme was "Living on the Moon," I was blown away since this competition is just ahead of NASA's Artemis moon mission, planned for 2024. I was also excited about the opportunity to participate in a three-judge panel with Kapo Bauer,PMP, and Bernadette Sison, PMP. When some of the youth said, 'We set reminders on our calendar and texted if we needed help,' they meant they had learned team management. When others said, 'We mostly used recycled materials and bough materials from the dollar store [to construct our model],' they meant they had learned cost management. And when others said, 'We realized some of our mistakes and felt we could have done some things differently,' they meant they had reflected on their successes and challenges. We believe all of the teams gained a sense of what it takes to get a project done successfully. Thanks , PMIEF, for this wonderful volunteer opportunity!

For the past six years, I have had the opportunity to judge the more than 30 teams that have advanced to the Future City finals in Washington, D.C. This year, I also judged a regional competition. Volunteering as a judge has been exciting, even if picking the winner has always been a hard decision! With guidance and mentoring from their teachers, these innovative middle-school students use the engineering design process—ask, imagine, plan, create and improve—to build their city model. It's energizing to hear these young people articulate concepts like project planning, scheduling and risk management, and also encouraging to know they understand that communication is key to keeping all of the project wheels turning! Great things happen when you get involved with PMIEF!