Volunteer Roles

The NOSB owes much of its success to the concerted efforts of hundreds of volunteers at both the Regional and Finals Competitions. These volunteers serve in many capacities as competition officials, question writers, technical advisory panelists, or scientific mentors. Learn more about our volunteer opportunities below and complete the Volunteer Interest Form to indicate your interest in volunteering with the NOSB.

Volunteer Interest Form

Question Writers

Question writers play a very important role in the NOSB because they provide the multiple choice, short answer, and critical thinking team challenge questions (TCQs) used in the competitions. The questions are drawn from the scientific and technical disciplines used in studying the oceans. Categories include: Physical Oceanography, Chemistry, Biology, Geology, Geography, Marine Policy, Technology, and the Social Sciences. The NOSB recruits Question Writers every year who earn up to a $1,000 honorarium for writing 150 buzzer questions and 6 TCQs. If you’d like to write questions for the NOSB but cannot commit to the required amount, please reach out to nosb@ucar.edu to learn about submitting questions on a purely volunteer basis.

Sample questions

Guidelines to Writing Buzzer Questions

Guidelines to Writing Team Challenge Questions

Buzzer Question Template

Team Challenge Question Template

Question Reviewers

The NOSB takes great pride in its scientific content and challenging questions for each year of competition. Therefore, it is necessary to ask scientists, researchers, and educators to serve on a Technical Advisory Panels (TAP) to participate in the question review process. 

During the TAPs, ocean scientists, university-level educators and other professionals provide overall guidance and advice on the content and scientific accuracy of the NOSB competition questions. Panelists provide expertise in their respective fields: Physical Oceanography, Chemistry, Biology, Geology, Geography, Marine Policy, Technology, and the Social Sciences. 

The TAPs are held in Washington, D.C. at the office of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership between September and November of each competition year.

Competition Officials

During the NOSB Regional and Finals competition, a team of volunteers is needed to serve as officials for each of the competition rooms. Click on the links below to find out more about each role.

Moderator

Moderator

The moderator is the person responsible for controlling each match and reading the questions.  It is important that the moderator be familiar with how the game is played and all of the rules.

Science Judge

Science Judge

The science judge determines if the answer given is acceptable or not. The science judge also resolves question challenges.

Rules Judge

Rules Judge

The rules judge ensures all competition rules are followed. To serve in this capacity, it is imperative for the rules judge to fully understand ALL competition rules.

Scorekeeper

Scorekeeper

The scorekeeper keeps record the competition score.

Timekeeper

Timekeeper

The timekeeper operates the official competition time clock.

Runner

Runner

Runners transport the team challenge questions (TCQs) to the Judges’ Appeals room to be scored.  Once graded, the runner returns the questions to the science judge in the competition room.

Additional Opportunities

There may be opportunities where volunteers are needed to support other aspects of the NOSB Regional and Finals competition outside of the competition rooms or one-off opportunities to support National Office activities. Click on the links below to find out more about potential roles.

Scientific Mentor

Scientific Mentor

A scientific mentor is someone who can help a team with studying and preparation if the coach doesn’t have enough of a background in a topic. Sometimes we’ve been able to match a person looking to fill that type of role with a specific team in their area.

Other Competition Support

Other Competition Support

Sometimes NOSB Regional or Finals competitions need additional support outside of the competition room. This can include event photography, registration, setting up lunch, setting up and breaking down rooms, etc.

Presenter

Presenter

The NOSB National Office and Regional Bowl Coordinators offer additional learning opportunities for teachers and students via virtual or in-person presentations, field trips, or activities. These can be scientific or career-based presentations.

Content Developer

Content Developer

The NOSB Regional and Finals competition have a specific theme that changes each year. Additional learning opportunities and resources related to that theme are provided to teachers and students. In this role, you could assist with competition theme resource development.

National Office Admin Support

National Office Support

Occasionally, the National Office needs support with administrative or creative tasks such as graphic design, digital media creation, fundraising, copy writing, database creation/organization, event photography, etc. 

Other

Other

Do you have another skill or passion that you think would benefit the NOSB? We’d love to hear from you!