Frequently Asked Questions about the TCS Competition

Q. Who should participate?
A. High school sophomores and juniors who are interested in one of the themes of the competition, including cities and sustainability (Sustainable Urban Environments, or SUE contest); science, technology, medicine, law and society (Science, Technology, and Society, or STS contest); or digital art and technology (music, film, apps, video games, etc.) (Integrated Digital Media, or IDM contest).

Q. May I work with a team?
A. Yes.  If you choose, you may work on a team with one or two classmates on a project and split the prize money if you win. You may also work independently.

Q. How do I get started?
A. As a student, the first thing you do is find a faculty mentor and, if you choose to apply as a team, up to two other team members.  Your second step is to register your team at the competition website engineering.nyu.edu/TCScompetition. This makes sure you have selected your mentor and it also ensures that you’ll receive on-going announcements. Make sure you keep a lookout for the contest Webinars, which will provide you with helpful information about the competition and give you a chance to ask questions of the Department of Technology, Culture and Society’s representatives.

Q. Who should be my mentor?
A. Ideally, this is a current high school teacher from a class that is relevant to the competition. However, sometimes this person is not available, so you may choose any trusted adult – another teacher, guidance counselor or school recommended adult volunteer.

Q: What should be in the initial proposal?
A:
The initial proposal should explain the proposed response to the contest theme. This requires some thinking and research so that the proposal has enough information to intrigue the judges. You can think of this step as creating a summary of the finished project. The more developed your preliminary work, the better your proposal will be.

For submissions that are research papers, your proposal should be no less and no more than two pages double-spaced.  It must also include a list of references that you will use for your research paper.

For submissions that are videos, your proposal should be no longer than 30 seconds. The video should show and explain your project. Videos can be in any format such as animation, stop motion, live action, cartoon, graphic, black and white, etc. Be creative!  The video needs to be uploaded to vimeo.com- (**videos with passwords will not be watched so please do not make your video password protected).  Please title your video as IDM Contest - Your Project Title OR SUE Contest—Your Project Title (for example IDM Contest - My Super Cool Robot or SUE Contest-Combatting Rising Sea Levels) at the beginning of the video.

Q. May we submit a final submission that is different from the proposal?
A.
It sometimes happens that, with more thinking and additional work on your project, your original idea needs to be revised. You should submit the best final project that you can, and if it’s necessary to change an aspect of the project, then do so. You do not need to get approval to change the project. Keep in mind, however, that the judges were interested in your proposed project, so you should try your best to stick to your original plan.

Q. What is the format for the final submission?
A.
For submissions that are research papers, the final submission should:

  • Be written with well-edited text. 
  • Be no less and no more than 12 pages in length, double-spaced, with 1 inch margins and a readable font (such as 12 point Times). 
  • Include a title page at the beginning of the paper.
  • Be divided into clearly labeled sections (for example, Introduction, Background, etc.).
  • Document sources using the Chicago Manual of Style author-date system. This means that there are parenthetical citations in the paragraphs when you are relying on outside sources
  • Include a list of works cited at the end of the paper. 
  • The use of graphics (photos, graphs, etc.) is encouraged.
  • Finalists for the research papers will give a 15 minute Powerpoint presentation of their papers for the judges. 

For submissions that are videos, the final submission should:

  • For IDM video submission:  Be 90 seconds in length and shows how you made the coolest digital thing ever. This can be an explanation video.
  • For SUE video submission:  Be up to six minutes in length, discussing the particular problem, the potential damage to the city, and your proposed recommendations.
  • Videos can be in any format such as animation, stop motion, live action, cartoon, graphic, black and white, etc. Be creative!
  • The video should be uploaded to vimeo.com- (**videos with passwords will not be watched so please do not make your video password protected).
  • Please title your video as IDM Contest - Your Project Title OR SUE Contest—Your Project Title (for example IDM Contest - My Super Cool Robot or SUE Contest-Combatting Rising Sea Levels) at the beginning of the video.
  • Finalists for the video contest will show their videos and answer any questions for the judges. 

Q. To whom should I submit my proposal to?
A. All proposals can be submitted to Krysta Battersby, Project Manager, via email at TCS@poly.edu.

Q. May I submit a project I worked on for school?
A.
Yes. The project should be your own, original work, but it may be based on a project you did for school. It would not be a bad idea to start with a project that you did for school, condense it into a proposal, and then expand and develop it further if you are selected for the final round of the competition.

Q. Where can we get additional information about my topic for the SUE and STS contests?
A.
For SUE and STS contests, you might want to start with simple search engine results, but you should also consider what textbooks, printed books, reports, credible web sites, and even articles from scholarly journals are available.

Q. Where can a teacher/mentor direct any additional questions specific to the competition?
A.
Questions and concerns about the competitions may be sent by e-mail to: TCS@poly.edu.

Q. Can you explain how the finalists were selected?
A.
A team of professors from each subject area read each proposal and discussed which submissions best answered the prompt given above.

Q. My team was selected for the finals. If we don't attend, are we still eligible for the finalists scholarship?
A.
No. In order to be eligible for the finalists scholarship, your team must present on Friday, April 4th.

Q. Can my team change topics for the final presentation?
A.
No. Your team was selected based on the proposal that was submitted and reviewed by our professors. It would not be fair to the other teams to choose another topic.

Q. Can I use media (video, powerpoint) during my presentation?
A.
Yes. Please inform Krysta Battersby of the media needed for your presentation, at least a week before the final presentation.