Important State Conference Information now available - 3/8/2021

Hi everyone—

As this year’s conference is taking on a virtual format, our conference schedule will be unlike anything we’ve experienced at Seven Springs in the past. Preliminary submission (March 22-29) for many events means students will be completing projects well in advance of the actual conference dates. This might be the only year we don’t have kids finishing projects on the bus en route to Seven Springs! All testing (April 5-9) will be done electronically, which means no scrambling for a sharpened no. 2 pencil this year! Zoom rooms will be used for the “live” portion of competitive events. As a nod to our venue and as a way to keep things organized, we’ve named the Zoom rooms after places we’d frequent at Seven Springs. Alpine, Dogwood, Fox Den, Hemlock, Laurel, and Sunburst will be used for competitive events. Matterhorn will be used for special interest sessions and Wintergreen will serve as our conference headquarters.


A small, dedicated group of PA-TSA alum and volunteers are developing a proprietary system that will handle the collection of entries, facilitate judging/scoring, and enable electronic testing. As part of this system, each entry will have its own unique code. For security reasons, iServices will be used as our way of distributing submission codes, test access codes, and zoom links. This information will be available after registration closes. Advisors will need to login to the system and then distribute codes/links to students.


As always, please reach out if you have any questions/concerns. I appreciate those of you who have already done so. Every year, I am blown away by the staggering number of people who come together for this organization, with “what’s best for kids” as their sole motivation.


Lauren Lapinski

PA-TSA State Conference Director

llapinski [at] ()<!--style="color:#0563c1; text-decoration:underline"-->


Important dates and deadlines:

  • Conference registration: March 4-19 (iServices open for registration on March 4, closes at 11:59PM on March 19)
  • Preliminary submission of competitive events: March 22-29 (closes at 11:59PM on March 29)
  • Testing window for competitive events with test component: April 5-9 (opens 8AM on April 5, closes at 5PM on April 9)
  • PA-TSA State Conference: April 14-17 (schedule link)


Competitive event information:

  • A matrix of competitive events that will be offered at the PA-TSA (virtual) State Conference has been posted here. The matrix has been broken down by grade level (MS and HS tabs at the bottom of the screen) and includes the maximum number of entries per chapter, which events require submission prior to the actual conference dates, and what each preliminary round submission includes (PDF and/or URL). Please note that several events require a preliminary submission and include a live component. While all efforts are being made to follow the National TSA competitive event rules as written, changes may be necessary due to logistical challenges. Consult the READ-READ-READ document for specifics about each event.
  • The PA-only event rules have been updated for this year’s virtual state conference and posted here. While we are not able to offer all PA-only events in the virtual setting, the ones we are able to offer have been updated to a virtual format. Please note that this set of rules will be in effect for the State Conference.



  • Given the virtual format of this year’s conference, there will be varied opportunities for judging. As always, we will need plenty of volunteers to make the event a success. The conference will have two portions, and you can participate in either or both:
    • Preliminary judging: Students will submit their projects online. You will receive a scoring rubric and a list of submissions on or about March 30, and you will have until April 9 to evaluate them at your own convenience.
    • Judging during the conference: Real-time interviews, contests, and other competitions will take place throughout the day on April 15 and 16. Judging during the conference will require interaction, most likely in a video format, with students and/or fellow judges.
  • Advisors willing to judge and/or coordinate a competitive event can have their $60 registration fee waived.
  • Sign up here: judges’ sign-up form. Please feel free to forward to other teachers, parents, alumni, community members. Every effort will be made to avoid conflicts of interest.


Looking ahead:

  • Letter to admin – As this year’s conference is unlike any other, we recognize that your usual procedures for securing field trip permission/conference participation may not work. To help, we’ve put together a letter you could you adapt as you see fit to potentially ease the conversation with your school leadership to get you and your students what you need in order to participate in the State Conference. Access that letter here.
  • General sessions and leadership opportunities – The state officer team is working diligently to design a variety of synchronous and asynchronous activities that will focus on core principles of TSA, such as leadership, teamwork, communication, and vision. More details will be shared as soon as possible. If students or advisors have ideas for activities, please reach out to members of the State Officer Team.