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International Judging
Regional Web Sites
The websites for regional conferences are accessible here for your convenience. Please check the conference site for your region for specific information on your conference.
AIAA Regional Student Conference Portal
Conference Rules



All the conferences vary in character from one another, but essentially their purpose is to provide a forum for AIAA Student Members at colleges and universities within the region to present technical papers in public competition. Cash prizes of USD$500, USD$300 and USD$250 are awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes in the undergraduate and graduate (masters candidates only) categories. The conferences serve to indoctrinate students into the practice of presenting technical work at AIAA meetings.

The fundamental objective of AIAA Regional Student Conferences is to provide student members with an educational experience that prepares them for their future as practicing aerospace engineers. Although regional conferences vary in character, students attend and present technical work as they would at a professional AIAA meeting. In addition, they establish professional relationships, learn from others, and hone their communication skills. Their work, both written and oral, is evaluated by professional members serving as judges, with the primary intent of providing substantial feedback on the quality of their work. The highest scoring papers are also recognized with awards and prize money.

Any AIAA member, student or professional, is invited to participate in a conference. Only undergraduate and Masters level student papers are accepted for competition. Ph.D. student papers are NOT eligible to compete for awards or prize money. Their work may be presented for review only; it would be more appropriate for them to present at AIAA professional technical meetings.

AIAA Regional Student Conference Organization and Rules

Please review the following rules carefully. Papers that do not adhere to these rules will be disqualified. If there are questions about the rules, please contact Rachel Andino at rachela@aiaa.org.

The following rules govern AIAA Regional Student Conferences. This information is for both organizers and student competitors. In order to assure a successful conference and financial support from AIAA Headquarters, you must comply with these rules.

1. AIAA provides $3,550 towards the operation of each student conference ($3,150 for prizes, $400 for miscellaneous expenses), PLUS $50 funded by the AIAA Foundation, for each current AIAA Student Member and official AIAA Faculty Advisor attending the conference.

2. Regional Student Conferences are to be sponsored jointly by student branches and the Region and local professional Sections, where it is feasible.

3. Except when prearranged by a Section or a branch, Regional Student Conferences must be hosted by a student branch. The term “hosted” means that the members of a participating student branch will act as titular hosts to visiting students during the various meetings and social affairs of the conference. It does not necessarily imply that the students must provide the management of these meetings and affairs when this management can be better provided by members of the participating Sections.

4. Undergraduate, Master’s, and Team papers are eligible for first, second, and third place prizes in their respective category. AIAA Regional Student Conference prize amounts per winning entry are: first place-$500; second place-$300; third place-$250. No other cash prize awards are sponsored by the AIAA Foundation at this time. Unused prize money must be returned to AIAA Headquarters within 30 days of the completion of the conference.

Regional Student Conference organizers may establish additional competitions besides the Undergraduate, Master’s, and Team categories. Unfortunately, funds for these additional categories are not available from the AIAA Foundation and winners are not eligible for national competitions or awards. An oral-presentation-only category with prizes of first place, $75; second place, $50; third place, $35 may be established by each Region. The fund for the optional “oral competition” category will not be provided by the AIAA Foundation. Students winning in this category will not be eligible for any awards. Financial support for additional categories must be obtained from other sources.

Undergraduate, Master’s, and Team category first place papers are invited to compete in the International Student Conference, typically held January at the AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting & Exhibition. Only basic modifications of the original paper are allowed. The fundamental content of the paper must resemble that which was presented at the Regional Conference, no new material is allowed. THE PAPER IS SUBJECT TO AIAA COPYRIGHT RULES AND THEREFORE MAY NOT BE PRESENTED OR PUBLISHED IN ANY OTHER PLACE PRIOR TO THE INTERNATIONAL STUDENT CONFERENCE. VIOLATION OF THIS WILL RESULT IN IMMEDIATE DISQUALIFICATION OF THE PAPER.   PLEASE NOTE: In the cases of co-authored and team papers, only one author is funded to attend the International Student Paper Conference.

Additional award guidelines:

a. When three papers or fewer are entered in either the Undergraduate, Master’s, or Team category in an AIAA Regional Student Conference, the number of prizes awarded will equal the number of papers presented. If only one paper is presented, the first award will be given, etc.

b. There is no tie for the first place award; however, ties are permitted for second and third place awards. If there is a tie for second place, the second and third place awards will be added together and divided evenly. In such a case, there will be no third place winner. If there is a tie for third place, the third place award will be divided evenly.

5. Funds for the conference, provided by the AIAA Foundation, may be used only for items necessary to conduct the conference in its most fundamental form (e.g., awards, meeting rooms, accommodations, meals, the awards banquet, audio/visual equipment rental, announcements, programs, postage, transportation reimbursements, etc.). Expenses incurred for extravagant social affairs or non-student functions are examples of unauthorized expenditures.

The purchase of alcoholic beverages using the AIAA Foundation conference funds is not permitted (for liability reasons).

An initial (i.e., estimated ) and final conference budget must be approved by both the AIAA Regional Deputy Director of Education and the Student Programs Office. Only those expenses deemed fundamentally necessary to conduct the conference will be approved.

Private, non-AIAA, Headquarters donations may be used for both basic and other conference expenditures.

6. Each conference is to submit a final report to the AIAA Regional Deputy Director of Education and the Student Programs Office no later than 30 days after the conference is held. This report should include (a) the final conference budget, detailing all expenses and income; (b) statistics on the number of faculty, students, other attendees, and the number of schools represented; (c) the name of each student that is awarded a prize by AIAA; and (d) the name of the school for each student that is awarded a prize by AIAA.

The final conference budget, and hence the AIAA Foundation support, must be jointly approved by the Regional Deputy Director of Education and the Student Programs Office. Expenses deemed necessary to conduct the conference will be supported. Extravagant or improper expenses will not be reimbursed by the AIAA Foundation.

7. The papers presented at Regional Student Conferences shall be from branches located within the region. Each branch is allowed to present papers at only one Regional Student Conference in any year.

8. Student conference papers are to be submitted to the AIAA Conference Administration System according to the timeline established by the conference organizer to allow sufficient time for the technical judging of papers. Student conference papers are to be judged by recommended procedures established by the AIAA. (Technical pre-judgment of papers and judgment of the oral presentations are to be made by two separate boards of judges.) The judging chairman will recommend directly to the AIAA staff member present graduate papers found worthy of submissions for the Dr. Abe Zarem Award.

9. All student participants must be current AIAA student members. A student member ID number will be required at the time of pre-registration to ensure that the student is a current dues-paying member. Failure to obtain a valid student member ID number will void the $50 reimbursement for that student attendee. Only 1 Faculty Advisor per university will be counted toward the reimbursement.

10. First prize Undergraduate, Master’s, and Team winners at recognized AIAA Regional Student Conferences are the only individuals considered for the International Student Paper Conference.

11. A committee, formed for each region, composed of Faculty Advisors, student branch chairmen, professional Section representatives, and the Regional Deputy Director Education will provide advice and information concerning the operation of Regional Student Conference for each region.

12. A student branch is permitted to petition to move from one conference region to another. Approval of the petition will be contingent upon the endorsement of the AIAA Vice President - Education and the AIAA Student Activities Committee.

13. A student may not enter the same paper in more than one AIAA student conference, nor can they present a paper which has been presented in a conference sponsored by another society, another region, or if it has been accepted for publication, or presentation by any society. THIS IS A VIOLATION OF THE AIAA COPYRIGHT TO WHICH STUDENT CONFERENCE PAPERS MUST ADHERE.

14. Only work completed as an Undergraduate or Master’s student is eligible for competition. If a student has received their degree and wishes to present the results of work completed while an Undergraduate or Master’s degree candidate, they may do so if the degree is received after 1 August of the year preceding the conference and the paper has not been changed from its original form.


15. For the Undergraduate or Master's student category, no more than two student authors may prepare and/or present a paper at any AIAA student conference. Topics submitted may not be the same or a part of any project involving more than two students. Papers prepared jointly by an undergraduate and Master's student will be scored in the Master's category.  
If more than two students and less than ten students were involved in the project effort, then the paper must be entered in the Team category. Team paper entries must be from Undergraduate level participants. Only one Master’s level student will be permitted to participate on a team (and may only be listed as a co-author, similar to faculty rules listed herein).
Authors or teams presenting more than one paper will not be eligible to win more than one award.

If appropriate, faculty AIAA members that advised students during the preparation of their work can be listed as a co-author (never as a first author).  Principle responsibilities for a submitted student conference paper fall with the student author/s and as such they must be listed first.  

Clearly identify the status of all authors (i.e., Undergraduate student, Masters student, or faculty AIAA member) on the submitted paper.  It is the number of students, not including the faculty co-author, listed that determines the competition category.  Responsibility for proper participation in the Undergraduate, Master's, or Team category rests with the authors (not the conference organizers or chairman).  IMPROPER SUBMISSIONS ARE SUBJECT TO DISQUALIFICATION.

Faculty and Masters co-authors can not present the paper or answer questions at the student conferences, nor are they eligible to receive any prize money.  Violations of these rules subject papers to disqualification.

16. The primary concept of a paper must be the work of the author(s) listed. Papers that result from co-op, internship, sponsored research must include an acknowledgement statement specifying contributions of other participants in the project. The Judging Chairman reserves the right to establish that the work is, in fact, the work of the author(s) listed.

17. In order to be eligible to compete in the AIAA Regional Student Conference, papers must comply with standard AIAA professional conference format.  The length of each paper will be limited to 11 pages, including the abstract, references, and figures.  Consult the “AIAA Author Kit” for additional formatting guidelines.  HOWEVER, THE RULES LISTED HERIN SUPERSES THOSE LISTED IN THE “AIAA AUTHOR KIT” AND DEVIATIONS FROM THE RULES PRESENTED IN THIS DOCUMENT SUBJECT PAPERS TO DISQUALIFICATION.

18. Written remarks on annotated papers (if possible) from each judge should be returned to the author(s) as soon as possible. This step is crucial to provide participants with timely and constructive feedback. Actual score and rank information (beyond 1st, 2nd and 3rd place), are NOT to be shared to the faculty or student participants.