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Frequently Asked Questions

Volunteer Frequently Asked Questions:

Where can I find a Volunteer Manual?

Download the Volunteer Manual HERE

Where can I find the EXPO Map?

Download the EXPO Map HERE


Where can I find the list of Exhibitors and their locations?

Download the list of Exhibitors HERE 

Who is organizing the Festival and how is it funded?

The USA Science & Engineering Festival is organized by Science Spark, a 501(c)3 non-profit science outreach organization best known for producing the inaugural and hugely successful San Diego Science Festival in 2009 and the USA Science & Engineering Festival in Washington, DC 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014. Science Spark was founded by serial entrepreneur Larry Bock to create compelling and engaging science festivals to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. The USA Science & Engineering Festival is backed by a strong Advisory Board made up of Nobel Laureates, government and industry leaders, experienced educators and other thought leaders in science education. The Festival is funded through corporate sponsorships, grants, and private donations. We are able to create this Festival, offer heavily discounted exhibit space and make Festival events free of charge for the general public because of our sponsors and donors, in particular our Festival Host, Lockheed Martin. Science Spark is operating out of San Diego and is run by a very small team of dedicated professionals and volunteers. 


Where will the Expo take place?

In Washington, DC, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center (www.dcconvention.com)

801 Mt Vernon Place, NW, Washington, DC 20001.


What is the schedule for the 2014 Festival and Expo?

X-STEM Symposium: Ticketed event

Thursday, April 24 - 9:00am to 5:00pm

Sneak Peek Friday:  Pre-registration required

Friday, April 25 - 9:00am to 3:00pm

Finale Expo: Free Event

Saturday, April 26 & Sunday, April 27 - 9:00am to 6:00pm




What do I need to do before registering to be a volunteer ?

You must first create a Volunteer Profile in CERVIS, the Festival’s volunteer management system. Click on the APPLICATION tab on the left of the Volunteer page to establish a CERVIS Volunteer Profile.  You will need this CERVIS password to log in and register to volunteer for all Festival events/time slots.


How do I view and register for an event(s) at the Festival?

  • Click on OPPORTUNITIES UNDER VOLUNTEERS to view a full listing of Festival Events
  • Click inside an event listing window to view details (dates/times) of an event. To return back to the full event listing, and view additional events, click the BACK TO EVENT tab (bottom left) 

After I have decided where and when I want to volunteer, how do I start the registration process?

The registration process can be started from 2 possible locations.

  • On the Listing of Events Page, click the REGISTER FOR AN EVENT tab on the bottom of the page. You will be taken to a LOG IN SCREEN. Enter your email and Volunteer (CERVIS) password, select your date/time and complete your registration
  • If you are viewing one of the Event pages, (containing dates and time slots) select the CLICK HERE TO REGISTER tab on the bottom of that page. You will be taken to the LOG IN SCREEN. Enter your email and Volunteer (CERVIS) password, select your date/time and complete your registration

How does CERVIS know if I have created a volunteer profile?

  • The CERVIS registration system will check your email to see if the you have already established a volunteer profile in the CERVIS Volunteer System
  • If you have created a Volunteer Profile with CERVIS, log in with your password and proceed to select your event, tick your choice of a date/time to complete the registration for your volunteer shift. You will be able to sign up for more than one shift per event.  Within minutes you will receive an email confirming your registration
  • If a CERVIS Volunteer Profile has NOT been established, you will be asked to create one, establish your log in password and then be returned to select your event/date/time and complete the registration. You will be able to sign up for more than one shift per event. Within minutes you will receive an email confirming your registration 

What if I decide that I can’t commit to the time slot that I have just selected?

  • Immediately after registering for an event, you will be able to view your registration under the CURRENT PROFILE REGISTRATION ACTIVITY tab at the bottom of the page. If for any reason you need to cancel this registration, you will be able to do so by ticking the box for that shift and selecting the UNREGISTER FROM SELECTED EVENTS tab, at the bottom of this page.  You will receive an email confirming this cancelation

What if I want to register for another event?

  • To register for another event, please view the window of events listed above your CURRENT PROFILE REGISTRATION ACTIVITY tab. This is a FULL listing of the events, however please note that this window of events will appear different than the list you viewed when you started the registration process. It does, however list all Volunteer events
  • Use the scroll bar to view the complete list.  Since you  will still be logged in at this time, go ahead and click on the event you want, tick the desired date and time slot and complete your registration.  Please be careful to choose a different date and time slot from your current registration commitments.  CERVIS does not recognize duplicate time registrations
  • The FESTIVAL EVENTS SIGN UP TAB on the left of your of the screen will always take you back to your original list of Events, however you will need to log back in to complete registration for additional events when starting from  this page

How would I be able to cancel a volunteer commitment before the Festival?

Volunteers can click the LOGIN TO MANAGE YOUR PROFILE tab at the bottom or top of the Main Festival Event Listing page.  You will be able to Register/Unregister for an EVENT under the Volunteer Main Menu heading.  You will then receive an email confirming this cancelation. We ask that you make all changes 2 weeks prior to the Festival so we can fill your spot.  We rely on your participation, so please be certain you can fill this volunteer position before signing up.


What if I decided that I didn’t want to sign up for any time slot(s) after logging in with my password to view a particular EVENT PAGE?

If no selection is made on this page, but you still want to find an event and time slot that works for you; select the CANCEL REGISTRATION button at the bottom of the page. You will remain logged in but will now be directed back to the full list of EVENTS.


PLEASE NOTE: this page will look very different than the first page of Event Listings that you started with on the Volunteer sign up page.  Also NOTE: the viewing window holding these events is much smaller and you will need to use a scroll bar to view all events and make your selection. Follow the same prompts to click an event and view and tick a time slot(s) to complete your registration.  Within minutes of your selection, you will receive a confirmation email detailing your volunteer commitment.




Will there be age restrictions for any of these volunteer positions?

All volunteers must be 13 years and older to sign up to work independently. There will be some shift responsibilities that will require the volunteer to be at least 18 years of age. Volunteers between the ages of 10-12 must be accompanied by an adult during their respective volunteer shifts. The minimum age for volunteering at the Festival, even when accompanied by a parent or guardian is  10 years of age.


Will the age guidelines be noted on Event sign up listing?

Yes, there will be specific age guidelines within the listing of job roles and responsibilities.




What types of consent and medical release forms will be required of each volunteer?

As part of the CERVIS Profile, required for Festival Registration, all volunteers will need to have accepted  the Consent & Release document  to complete the creation of the Volunteer Profile.  It is mandatory that all volunteers under the age of 18, provide the USASEF organizers with a Liability Waiver Medical/Release Document, signed by a parent or guardian. This document will be kept on file at the Walter E. Washington  Convention Center. No volunteer will be allowed to start his/her volunteer shift unless the document is on file.


How will I know that I am signed up for my particular event?

You will receive a confirmation email for each time slot/shift that you have signed up for, with details of the responsibilities associated with that position.  In some cases you will only be given a location number or letter, such as Location #1 or #2 or Exhibit Hall A, B, C, D, or E.  As we get closer to the Festival, you will receive additional information regarding where you will be assigned and also specific details regarding training sessions.


When will I find out the exact location of my volunteer commitment?

You will receive an email in March with more specific information regarding your role(s), responsibilities and meeting location(s).  It will also be mandatory to attend at least 1 training session, in April, located at the office of K& L Gates (1601 K Street NW, Washington DC) where many of these details will be discussed.




Will there be any required Volunteer Training?

VOLUNTEER TRAINING SESSIONS will be required to attend ONE MANDATORY TRAINING sessions before the Festival. At this meeting the volunteer will receive his/her t-shirt and learn comprehensive information about Festival logistics, and their shift responsibilities. In most cases the volunteers will be able to meet with their respective Captains. Training dates listed below:


Five Mandatory Festival Volunteer Trainings (ATTEND 1) 

Saturday, April 12 - 10-12pm &  1-3pm

Sunday, April 13 - 1-3pm

Saturday, April 19 -10-12 & 1-3pm

Location: K&L Gates, 1601 K Street NW, Suite 1, Washington, DC




What leadership roles and responsibilities are required of a Captain Position at the Festival?

All Volunteers in Leadership or Captain Positions must be at least 18 years of age and have completed high school.  With the 1,300+ volunteers that are expected to offer their time and energy at the Festival, it will be important for both training and communication purposes to create a seamless structure for questions and/ or concerns regarding roles and responsibilities.  The Captains will serve as a critical link between the Festival organizers and the volunteers for updates and training. Captains will instruct and educate the volunteers on their respective duties prior to the Festival and be the point of contact during the Festival. 


When and where will the Captains On-Site Training Sessions Be Held?

A Captain will be required to have a detailed understanding of their respective assigned areas and attend at least ONE of the FIVE Volunteer Festival Training Sessions (listed above) AND attend ONE of TWO on-site training sessions:


Monday, April 21 - 5:30-7pm  

Tuesday, April 22 - 5:30-7pm

Location: Walter E Washington Convention Center

801 Mount Vernon Place NW, Washington  DC


What if I am not able to make any of those training sessions?

All volunteers will receive a Volunteer Manual in March via email, detailing specific information regarding logistics, service hours, etc.  Please contact Carol at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you can not attend.


Can I get Student Service Hours credit for volunteering at the USASEF?

Yes, students can get service credit for volunteering at the EXPO if they are registered for a SHIFT THROUGH CERVIS to get volunteer credit for their school. Trainings are not eligible for SSL hours.  Please let us know BEFORE the Festival if you will need SSL or other Volunteer Service hour certificates. Students are responsible for coordinating service hours with their school and volunteer captain.


Will the Festival be organized into areas of specialization?

The Festival floor plan is creatively designed to help visitors move easily through the exhibit space and find areas of most interest. The exhibits will be organized by pavilion categories for easy navigation and exploration. Some of the pavilions will include:

  • Natural Sciences
  • Earth Sciences
  • Astronomy/Space Exploration
  • Engineering
  • Health and Medicine
  • Energy
  • Social Sciences
  • Math/Computer Sciences
  • High Technology
  • Kids Pavilion (for children under 7 years of age) 

How can my organization get involved in the Festival in addition to the Expo Events (Saturday & Sunday)? 

Local organizations are invited to submit proposals to host a Festival event during the two weeks leading up to the Festival. For more information, click here.

In addition, organizations across the country are invited to host Satellite Events. Our goal is to have hundreds of Satellite Events throughout the country, anchored to the USA Science & Engineering Festival Expo. For more information, click here.


Who does a volunteer contact regarding a special need?

We will do what we can to accommodate a volunteer’s special need or circumstance.  Please send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to discuss your special need.




Is drinking water available? 

Drinking water fountains are strategically placed within the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and water bottles will be offered for sale.


Will food be provided?

Food will not be provided and volunteers will be on their own for all meals.There are several food courts in the convention center as well as concession carts. All food courts and concession carts will be open during the show hours. Most shifts will run between 4 and 5 hours. Volunteers will be allowed several water/food breaks during their shifts.




When will I get my volunteer T-shirt?

Festival T-shirts will be handed out to the volunteers at the training meetings in April.  It is very important that volunteers remember to wear these shirts when they come to work their shifts.  There will be a small number of shirts available at the convention center if for some reason a volunteer is not able to attend one of the training sessions.


What should volunteers wear while working at the Festival?

The dress code is casual. Closed toe, comfortable shoes are a must, as you are likely to be on your feet most of the day.  All volunteers must wear the Festival T-shirt that you will be given at your training session prior to the start of the Festival.  There is no charge for this shirt.  Please wear the Festival T-Shirt for each day that you volunteer. It will be important for the Volunteer to present a consistent “look” and for attendees to know who they can go to for questions.


Can I take photos or record film the Festival?

During your shift we ask volunteers to refrain from videotape or photos. This will allow volunteers to focus on their role and support the event.


What should I bring?

  • Lots of energy, smiles and a “Can Do Attitude.” Working with your Captain and fellow volunteers, you will play an important role in creating a wonderful experience for our Festival guests
  • The Volunteer manual and any extra info sheets that you will have been sent after signing up for your volunteer commitment; including correspondence related to your check-in time and location
  • Your mobile phone
  • Phone numbers of your Captain(s)  and fellow friends and volunteers, who you will be working with throughout the weekend
  • Any medication that you might need throughout the day
  • Money to buy food at the concession carts or food kiosks during the day

What should I wear?

  • Festival Tee Shirt
  • Black Pants or Jeans - NO leggings; NO yoga pants
  • Sneakers (any color);  NO open-toed shoes

What NOT to bring to the Festival?

Personal belongings will be stored in an unsecure room. DO NOT BRING VALUABLES OR WEAPONS OF ANY DESCRIPTION. If in doubt regarding what might be considered a weapon, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further clarification.


Where can I stay?

Please use link below for discounted hotel rooms for the 3rd USA Science & Engineering Festival.




Where can I park?

No event parking is provided. Public parking garages in downtown DC are approximately $25 per day, so plan accordingly. A few public parking locations are listed below, but check closing hours so that your vehicle is not locked in overnight. Also be aware of vehicle height restrictions. This list is not all-inclusive and you may find better parking on your way to these locations. Click here to download a parking map.


Public Parking Lots near the Walter E. Washington  Convention Center


Renaissance Washington Hotel, 999 Ninth Street NW Washington, DC (202) 898-9000

PMI Parking, 915 Massachusetts Ave. NW Washington, DC (202) 785-9191

Quick Park, Grand Hyatt Washington, 1000 H Street NW Washington, DC (202) 582-1234

PMI Parking, 610 Massachusetts Ave. NW Washington, DC (202) 785-9191

Marc Parc,500 K Street NW Washington, DC (202) 464-2900


Handicapped Parking

There are twelve metered public parking spaces designated for the handicapped requiring the display of a disability parking permit or license tag.

7th Street between L and Mt Vernon Streets (3 spaces)

9th Street between Mount Vernon Place and L Street (3 spaces)

9th Street between L Street and M Street (3 spaces)

9th Street between M Street and N Street (3 spaces)


What are the closest Metro stops to the Expo?

The Walter E. Washington Convention Center is located at 801 Mount Vernon Place (between 9th and 7th Streets NW on L Street NW). The Green and Yellow line Mt. Vernon Square/7th St Convention Center Metro Stop exits into the Convention Center. Click here to download the Metro map.


Can I get Student Service Hours credit for volunteering with the USA Science & Engineering Festival?

Yes, students can get credit for volunteering at the EXPO and get volunteer credit for their school. Students in Montgomery County can get SSL credits for the EXPO weekend shifts, and we are working on certification for X-­‐STEM Ambassadors through their schools. Volunteer trainings do not count for volunteer service learning hours.

How can I get my questions answered?

If your question is not answered by the FAQs:

For additional questions on exhibiting or participation please visit the exhibitor FAQs