Student Simulation Competition

NASPAA's Simulation Competition: An opportunity for students to network, compete, and learn through experience.


2024 Host Nations Simulation Competition

Become a sponsor image

The competition will take place on February 24th and March 2nd, 2024, and will feature the Host Nations Simulation by DMS Academy. Sponsors will contribute to the creation of a meaningful, educational and exciting day for students from around the world as they compete and network in an immersive learning event while using a computer simulation designed for public service education. The Host Nations simulation will challenge and teach students to deliver effective and equitable policies, consider the diverse needs of various populations, interpret data to evaluate and reorient policy decisions, practice inclusive decision-making and navigate challenging and asymmetrical intergovernmental relations. The 2024 NASPAA Simulation Competition is the best opportunity for students looking to find their public servant voice, gain real-world experience without real-world risks and proudly represent their school.

Visit the Host Nations Simulation Competition page.

NASPAA Student Simulation Competition Program

The NASPAA Simulation Competition is an annual event in which students from around the world learn through experience in a unique, innovative learning opportunity. Students will connect classroom theory to practice by taking on real-world challenges in real time to achieve skills that will prepare them for their roles as future public service professionals. The learning objectives of the simulation competitions will focus more on aligning with NASPAA's universal competencies, especially with regard to teaching students about the role of diversity, equity, and inclusion in public service.

The new and enhanced simulation competition will allow us to more effectively meet NASPAA's mission of ensuring excellence in education and training for public service and promoting the ideal of public service. The new simulation competition will be revamped and reoriented to focus even more on the students, their professional development, their ability to communicate big ideas with other students from all over the world, their unique teaching and learning opportunities, and how they will take these new skills and experiences into their future roles as public service providers.

For more information about the competition, or if you are interested in supporting the program by becoming a future simulation education committee member, please contact Alex Minkoff at or Stacy Drudy at

A Peek at Last Year's Competition


NASPAA's 2023 Student Simulation Competition was held on February 25th, March 4th and March 11th, 2023, and featured the Forio Wildfire Simulation designed by Professor Matt Koschmann of the University of Colorado Boulder and built by Forio. The 2023 simulation competition taught students practical communication and negotiation skills as they balance their roles against their team goals to collaborate on a joint wildfire mitigation plan for the fictional town of Westmount. In addition, as part of NASPAA's initiative to improve how we embody diversity, equity, and inclusion as an organization and as an essential part of public service education; NASPAA worked with Forio to update the simulation to incorporate DEI facets of wildfire mitigation and public service decision-making as core elements of the learning experience.

2023 Simulation Competition

Is your school interested in hosting the NASPAA Student Simulation Competition?

NASPAA is always on the lookout for enthusiastic member schools to serve as host sites for future NASPAA Student Simulation Competitions. Host sites have the opportunity to create a meaningful, educational and exciting day for students from around the world as they compete and network in an immersive learning event while using a computer simulation designed for public service education. NASPAA simulations allow students to practice many skills required for effective policy-making and leadership, such as negotiation, data analysis and team management. If you are interested in hosting a NASPAA Simulation Competition, click the link below to review the expectations and email Alex Minkoff at

Hosting the Simulation Competition

Want to Become a Simulation DEI Sponsor?

The NASPAA Simulation Competition offers unique sponsorship opportunites. Your sponsorship will support NASPAA’s mission to improve public service simulations and make them more prevalent. This year, NASPAA has worked hard to bring you a high-level public service education simulation that features diversity, equity, and inclusion elements of refugee migration. Your contribution will go towards DEI integration for innovative teaching and learning tools, overall simulation development, enhancing competition delivery to exceed what we have done in the past, and enabling take-home toolkits to students, public service programs, and professors. Interested? Click the link below!

Learn More about Sponsorship Opportunities

Want to Become a Judge?

Every year, NASPAA and our competition host schools ask public service professionals to attend the competition to observe and evaluate students during the full-day Saturday event. Judges are enthusiastic, public service professionals or academics who use their knowledge and expertise to evaluate students' use of communication, negotiation, teamwork, and critical thinking skills during the competition. These skills are needed to excel in public service and in the professional world. Judges also determine how well students have considered the diversity, equity, and inclusion facets of the simulation topic, and the impacts of their policy decisions. Judges are recognized on NASPAA’s website, social media, newsletter, and in the post-competition program book. Interested? Click the link below!

Learn More about Simulation Judges

Sending your Students to Compete / Nominating Yourself

All NASPAA member schools are eligible to send students to the NASPAA Simulation Competition anywhere in the world that it's being hosted. Schools and/or students are responsible for travel, lodging and registration fees, but students will be fed the Friday evening before the competition and will receive breakfast and lunch on the competition Saturday. Students can be nominated by deans, program directors, and Pi Alpha Alpha Advisers. Remember, students must be enrolled in a master’s program in a public service degree (MPA, MPP, etc.) at the time of the competition.  There will be a registration link on this page during the student registration window which is typicall from December to early February each year.

If you are a student and you want to learn more about what to expect for the competition, click on the link below. You can even nominate yourself to compete! Although nominated students are typically given first priority for registration, self-nominated students will also be accepted unless the local host school is not over capacity.

Visit the Competition Student Page

Simulation Education Committee

  • Dana Harsell (CHAIR), University of North Dakota
  • Luis Luna-Reyes (CHAIR), University at Albany
  • Yushim Kim, Arizona State University
  • Christina Barsky, University of Montana
  • Sk. Tawfique M. Haque, North South University
  • Peter Linquiti, The George Washington University
  • Julieta Marotta, Maastricht University


Supporting the Simulation Competition Development Process

There are plenty of other ways to get involved with the NASPAA Student Simulation program, even beyond the competition. NASPAA members are eligible to be considered for positions on committees including the Simulation Committee and the Innovative Teaching and Learning Committee. Members are also more than welcome to share ideas about simulations and serve as advisors and subject matter experts. If you are interested in becoming a part of the NASPAA Simulation Program, just reach out to


If you have any questions for the NASPAA competition staff about any of these opportunities, please contact and we will be happy to assist you. Expect to receive an email response within one business day.

Learn More

Sim 2020

Why Simulations?

Participatory simulations are immersive, experiential learning tools that provide a bridge between classroom learning and real-world application.


Past Competitions

Find out more about our past competitions. See what simulations have been used and which teams won.

Students at Student Simulation Competition

Get Involved

Want to host the competition at your school? Give your support through a sponsorship? Become a competition judge? Register as a player? Serve as a subject matter expert to help design the next simulation? Click here to learn more! 

Check out the new JPAE Article on Sim Education!