Simulation Competition: Student Page


WILDFIRE SIMULATION - February 25th and March 4th, 2023

NASPAA is pleased to officially announce the 2023 Student Simulation Competition, which will take place on February 25th and on March 4th, 2023, and will feature the Forio Wildfire Simulation designed by Professor Matt Koschmann of the University of Colorado Boulder. The simulation competition will teach players 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 is working 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.

The simulation competition is a full-day event taking place on a Saturday in late February or early March 2023. The event will follow a hybrid format. Most competitors will be participating in person, but there will be an opportunity for some students to attend virtually. The competition will once again include guest judges from various public service fields. This year we will also be featuring sponsorship opportunities to support student travel and our efforts to integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion elements into the competition experience and into the simulation itself.

If you are interested in hosting the competition at your school, becoming a sponsor, becoming a judge, or just learning more about the competition, please contact Alex Minkoff at

Student Nomination and Registration

Similar to past competitions, students can either be nominated by their school or they can self-nominate. The student nomination/registration window will be open from late 2022 to mid-January, 2023. More information to come.

Students can apply to play in the 2023 wildfire simulation competition either by self-registering or receiving a school nomination. You can be nominated by your deans, program directors, and Pi Alpha Alpha Advisers. Remember, you must be enrolled in a master’s program in a public service degree (MPA, MPP, etc.) at the time of the competition.

The competition will take place at 11 different universities around the world. Four sites will go live on February 25th and seven on March 4th.

The registration and nomination window will be open from early December to mid-January.

Please note that there is no guarantee of a spot in the competition. The selection process is highly competitive. Spots are limited, so tell your advisor, program director, or dean immediately.

  • A unique, immersive experiential learning experience.
  • A full-day event in which students play on teams and compete with each other to solve a real public service challenge.
  • A Friday night reception where you will meet your teammates and other participants.
  • Breakfast, lunch, and snacks provided on Saturday
  • A chance to meet public service students from other schools and start building your network.
  • You will be added to NASPAA’s exclusive simulation competition LinkedIn group.
  • A chance to meet and learn from public service professionals who will be judging the competition.
  • You will take home a copy of the Community Wildfire Protection Plan policy memo composed by your team.
  • A formal letter from NASPAA thanking and recognizing you personally for participating in the simulation competition and for being on the cutting edge of public service learning.
  • A chance for your team to win a $3,000 prize for first place or smaller prizes for second and third place.

2023 Competition Host Sites

February 25th

  • The American University in Cairo (Egypt)
  • Fulbright University Vietnam​ (Vietnam)
  • United Nations University - MERIT and Maastricht University (Netherlands)
  • Universidad del Rosario​ (Colombia)

March 4th

  • James Madison University​ (Virginia, USA)
  • North Carolina State University​ (North Carolina, USA)
  • The Ohio State University​ (Ohio, USA)
  • University at Albany​ (New York, USA)
  • The University of Colorado Denver​ (Colorado, USA)
  • University of San Francisco​ (California, USA)
  • The University of Texas at Arlington and The University of Texas at Dallas​ (Texas, USA)

Pre-Competition Beta Test Sites

  • American University (Washington DC, USA)
  • The Pennsylvania State University (Pennsylvania, USA)