Mentoring Tips

BE PATIENT: Building trust takes time. A young person may not show it at first, but your help may be just what is needed. Be persistent.

PRAISE IS POWER: A word of praise in a critical world works miracles in the life of a student.

SET BOUNDARIES: Most mentoring relationships develop and flourish without problems. Occasionally, however, something comes up. Mentors have an important role, but this doesn't include replacing family or social service professionals. A mentor can help guide a young person to the appropriate source for additional help.

TRY TO UNDERSTAND A STUDENT'S VIEWPOINT: Even if you don't share his or her point of view, trying to appreciate it shows you care.

CELEBRATE DIFFERENCES: Experienced mentors report that working with a young person from a different background broadened their own horizons and deepened their understanding of other people and cultures. Sometimes it is the differences that make the difference.

BE HONEST: Kids know adults aren't perfect. If you make mistakes, admit it. Say you're sorry. It's a skill a student may only learn from you.

BE THERE: Just the sound of your concerned voice can make a big difference in the life of a sttudent.

BE POSITIVE: Ask yourself, "What encouragement can I give if my young friend disappoints himself or herself?" Mentors are in the business of helping young people make the most of their lives. Allow the student to make a few "growing" mistakes when they learn new things.

BELIEVE: Many students in our communities struggle with self-esteem. Your faith in them can be the greatest gift you can give.

What is Mentoring?

A mentor is an adult who, along with parents and teachers, provides young people with support, counsel, friendship, reinforcement and a constructive example. Mentors are good listeners, people who care, and people who want to help young people bring out strengths that are already there.

Future City Competition mentors are engineers representing any technical discipline or profession who are both willing and qualified to provide the guidance to the students and support of the teachers through the life of the competition. The mentoring relationship can take many forms. In the best relationships, the mentor will help the students define and achieve the goals of the competition.

A Future City engineer-mentor should expect to spend 25-40 hours from September - January working with the student teams.

As a mentor, you will help your mentee:

  • Develop a plan that facilitates the successful completion of all deliverables related to the competition
  • Explore or identify potential resources necessary to complete the city design
  • Schedule activities, visits or presentations visits that relate to the different competition deliverables including city design, conducting research, constructing scale models, improving writing skills and making effective presentations
  • Guiding the continuing education process (overall guidance for possible coursework in high school and college) and discussing possible engineering careers or technical career options
  • Learn more about the community and how to help others
  • Strengthen communication skills and ability to relate well to all kinds of people
  • Make healthy choices about day-to-day life

Matching Mentors, Schools and Students

The people you would want as mentors are the people who are doing everything else as well. They are involved in their profession, active in community affairs, they participate in multi-disciplined teams and are willing be dedicate the time and energy that will positively impact the student’s success.

While there are a multitude of potential reasons a technical professional is willing to become a mentor, four primary reasons are most common:

  1. Wants to support their 6th-8th grade child’s education
  2. Wants to make an impact on the education of middle school students in their immediate neighborhood
  3. Wants to make an impact on the education of middle school students in “underprivileged” areas or inner city schools
  4. Has established a relationship with a local school, school teacher or student group and feels they could use his/her technical expertise or experience

Any of these reasons are excellent rationale as a commitment to mentoring. When recruiting a mentor, one discussion point that should be made clearly with the prospective mentor is one of time commitment and time away from the job. Since the mentoring is normally school-based, the mentor must factor time away from the job (travel to and from, team mentoring) into the decision. In addition, the time when the students or teacher needs the mentor on campus will be driven by when the team has the opportunity to meet. In some cases, teams meet before school, during lunch periods, during a class period or after school.  Only after considering all of these factors can the mentor determine which school is best for the mentoring assignment. There may be schools close to the job where time away is reduced.

There are several options that mentors can consider, among them are:

  • Electronic or E-mail mentoring. That approach integrates face-to-face team visits with guidance messages using the Internet.  Communications can also be through teleconference calls or video links.
  • Team-based mentoring. This utilizes co-workers to share mentoring responsibilities. While this abandons the traditional mentor-mentee relationship, co-workers can provide assistance in different technical areas, demonstrate teamwork, communication skills, the strength of using multi-disciplinary teams and the importance of project planning.


Click here for mentoring tips

This page will contain information for society judges as it is received from their respective technical and engineering societies. All society judges must register. Click here to register.

With the kids heading back to school, it’s become that time of year again; the time for the 20th Annual Future City Competition!  

The Future City Competition is a national program sponsored by the engineering community to promote technological literacy and engineering to middle school students.  The program fosters an interest in math, science, and engineering through hands-on, real world applications.  The competition is open to all public, private and parochial schools.  The national finals of the Future City Competition are a featured event during Engineers Week, with students from across the country competing in Washington, D.C.

We are seeking your assistance with sponsorship of a Society Award in the Arizona Region Competition

As with previous years, we are asking that all society award sponsors commit to:

  • Gathering an organized team of 5-8 society judging members
  • Designing (or maintain from past years) a competition award that relates to the overall goals of the completion and/or the individual society
  • Participating in the training session
  • Visiting the Burton Barr Central Library for preliminary judging
  • Attending and actively participating in the Competition Day including: attending presentations, speaking with students and providing promotional materials on your society, and presenting the award at the afternoon ceremony
  • Arranging delivery and presentation of the award to the winning students in the months after the competition day


Key Dates:

Society Award Judge Team Registration: Fall 2017

Society Judge Training: TBD

Future City Models on Display, Library Downtown Phoenix: TBD

All-Day Competition: TBD

A Future City Professional Society Judge will spend about 20 hours in December and January reviewing student team deliverables using society specific scoring guidelines.  Society sponsored awards are presented at the region finals.

Cost and Donation opportunities

Society Sponsored Award Cost: $500

Looking for ways to further support the competition?  We have additional exciting opportunities for sponsorship; please let me know if you are interested.

One more item to note:  Have you ever wished there was a group that brought all the Engineering Societies together to share in technical knowledge, networking, outreach, and even politics?  Well, there is one, and your partricipation is vital to its success!  Be sure to “LIKE” The Arizona Council for Engineering and Science, ACESA, on Facebook and learn more about it!

We are hopeful that we have your support this year’s competition. Please contact me via email, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., as soon as possible to confirm your society’s participation, and feel free to let me know if you have any questions or concerns. Let’s make this year the best Future Cities Competition yet!

Best Regards,
Jessica Dresang
Future City Competition - Arizona Society Award Coordinator
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Encourage your children and be amazed

The Competition provides you an opportunity to develop a different relationship with your child.

Imagine moving your interaction from "Do your homework" or "Turn off the TV or videogame" or "Are your chores done" to a discussion about quality of life issues in a city or the innovations that a city of the future might have or need.  There are countless stories that relate the impact the competition has had on the quality of the relationship or changes in attitude between the parent and child.

  • Contact your child’s school and request that they participate in the competition
  • Encourage your child to find two friends to create a team
  • Provide outside opportunities to support learning by taking your child to events and
      places that have scientific or engineering relevance to the competition deliverables
  • Watch your child’s team practice their presentation
  • Help your child find recycled materials for their scale model
  • Visit the scale model displays at the Phoenix main library in January
  • Ensure that your child attends the all-day regional finals in Phoenix in January
  • Celebrate your child’s team successes after the regional finals
  • Continue to encourage advanced learning and team building after the competition


If you're qualified, how about being an engineering mentor?

There are many volunteer opportunities in the Future City Competition-Arizona Region team besides teacher-sponsors, engineer mentors, and competition judges. Some opportunities are year-round while others are for specific events.

Year-Round Opportunities

Leadership Team - volunteers ensure the Future City Competition - Arizona Region is the best possible experience for all participating students and teachers. They ensure that all of the training, registration, and event facilities are in place for the competition. The leadership team is responsible for the entire Future City Competition in the Arizona region.

Media Relations Team - volunteers promote the Future City Competition to media outlets such as newspapers, radio stations, and TV stations. Team members write press releases, arrange interviews, prepare public service announcements, etc.

Relationship Managers - volunteers act as personal representatives of the Future City Competition to a group of teacher-sponsors. Team members work with the competition registrar to ensure that the teachers that they represent are fully informed. They also act to assist teachers through any problems they encounter in the competition.

Administrative - volunteers with skills such as fundraising, video production, accounting, and website management assure that the Future City Competition-Arizona Region operates smoothly.

Event Activities

Library Host (January) - volunteers host the scale model exhibition at the Burton Barr library the week prior to the competition. They greet members of the public, distribute Public Choice Award ballots, answer questions about the exhibition and the competition, and ensure that the scale models are not damaged. Volunteer time may be as little as an hour or as much as a morning, afternoon, or evening shift.

Scale Model Mover (January) - on the afternoon before competition day (Friday), volunteers move scale models from the library to the ASU Memorial Union. They load a semi truck at the library, unload it at the school, and move the scale models to the school's gymnasium.

Day of Event Volunteer (January) - volunteers perform various tasks during the Future City Competition event. Tasks include moving scale models from the gymnasium to the presentation rooms, serving as hall monitors, distributing lunches, or other tasks as needed.