Info for Students

The Capstone Design Expo provides an incredible opportunity to showcase your project to prospective employers, investors, and the public. Here are some quick tips to get you set up for a great first impression! The following information is for the Fall 2021 semester.

STEP 0: Register for the Expo

    • Visit:
    • Deadline: 11:59pm of 15th October 2021
    • The quick help guide for expo registration is here
    • Send any technical questions about the website to webmaster[at]

STEP 1: Review Judging Criteria and Awards

    1. Expo judging rubric
    2. Awards:
      • Best Project award from each School (AE, BME, ECE, ID/ME, ISYE, ME) will be determined based on the equally weighted combined score averages from online and in-person judges – $1,000 for the team
      • Overall Awards (subject to change depending on the number of teams that present online)
        • Best ONLINE Team Award (Hybrid and online-only teams eligible for this award)
          • Best ONLINE Overall Team – $2000 for the team
          • Best ONLINE Interdisciplinary Team – $1500 for the team
        • Best IN-PERSON Team Award (Hybrid and in-person only teams eligible for this award)
          • Best IN-PERSON Overall Team – $2000 for the team
          • Best IN-PERSON Interdisciplinary Team – $1500 for the team
    3. Information shared with attendees and judges: Welcome Letter 

STEP 2: Prepare for Expo

    1. Materials for the expo: Your section instructor will dictate the requirements for grading and the associated deliverables. The materials you create and share for the expo are primarily meant to increase your team’s chances to impress the judges and win the expo. The following materials must be uploaded on the expo website by 11:59 pm on 6th December(the day prior to the expo)
      • POSTER: Upload your poster as a .jpg or .jpeg file for your team’s submission. Note that your poster should be legible when viewing on your computer screen at 100% zoom settings. The size of your starting canvas could be set to 16 inches wide by 12 inches tall (which is 4:3 aspect ratio). Plan to print your own poster if you wish to use it during the in-person expo.
      • VIDEO: Post a web link for your 4-6 minute video. The video can be uploaded on your favorite media space (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.) and check to make sure anyone can view the video (do not set it as private).
      • See example team from Summer 2020 expo
    2. If attending online:
      • Please TEST the compatibility of your system to access the virtual expo portal by clicking “START CHECKS” on this page: Mobile devices are not supported and you will need Google Chrome or Firefox browser. If your system is compatible, then please take a 2-minute tutorial here:
      • Feel free to check out this Gatherly YouTube playlist here.
      • Check the sample online expo layout on this page here

STEP 3: Attend the Expo

Use this form to enter your team’s presentation preference at the expo:

  1. FOR ONSITE/IN-PERSON EXPO on 7th December:
    1.  Starting at 1:00 pm, have at least ONE member visit the McCamish Pavilion student check-in area
      1. Collect t-shirts for your team and enjoy free food. No need to wear the expo branded t-shirts during the expo.
      2. Visit your team’s assigned table location in the Atrium and place your poster and prototype on the table, if any
      3. A member of your team should be at your designated physical table location at all times until 7:00 pm.
    2. Starting at 4:00 pm, your team will present the project to judges and visitors. Your team can decide how to best handle the presentation and QA with judges.
  2. FOR ONLINE or HYBRID attending teams on 7th December:
    1. Starting at 3:30 pm, have at least ONE member visit
      1. Enter your name with your team table prefix. For example, “1-John Doe”, where ’1’ is the table number.
      2. Visit the virtual team table location on the virtual Floor on Gatherly.
      3. A member of your team should be at your designated virtual table location at all times until 7:00 pm.
    2. Starting at 4:00 pm, your team will present a 4-6 minute elevator pitch of your project to anyone who has joined your team’s virtual “booth”. You may present live by sharing your slides or screen sharing your poster. DO NOT plan to screen share videos since the audio might not transmit well.
    3. You may place your team’s unique page link (from in the group chat and ask judges to view the poster and video if they would like to check it out
    4. You will then ask judges and visitors to ask questions by speaking or by typing on chat until the start of the next quarter of the hour.
    5. Repeat the above steps at 4:30 pm, 4:45 pm, 5:00 pm, and so on until 6:45 pm.
    6. Note that the maximum “huddle” size is 15. If your huddle size reaches this limit and you notice more judges wanting to visit your group, then you can split your team to accommodate interaction with more judges.

Other FAQ

    1. Tips from past students for online/virtual expo!
      • You will have a wide range of participants, some may have seen the video and poster beforehand, while some show up with a fresh look at the project. Be prepared to present to well-read and fresh individuals simultaneously.
      • DO NOT plan on sharing your video through a screenshare via Gatherly, as audio will not come through as intended. The video is a great supplement to your project, and all judges will be able to view the videos through the judging app. The video can also be shared as a link in your “Group Chat” on Gatherly. 
      • Be prepared for judges and attendees to make mistakes when moving from table to table. Be adaptable to change and random attendees joining, but keeping your presentation cycle to 15-minute increments will be your best bet for presenting to the judges.
      • Some judges may take longer to get to your table than others. It may be beneficial to have a minute or so built into the beginning of each rotation before you get into the grit of your presentation to make small talk or go over some pictures or video clips of your project. 
      • Prepare a few PowerPoint slides to share alongside your poster via a screenshare to judges and attendees during the 15 minute period. 
      • Support staff with names starting with :Support- will be available to message or meet, and are the best way to get assistance
    2. What is the dress code for the event?
      • Wear whatever you need to be successful. Most teams will be in business attire, but few also wear custom/themed attires including custom t-shirts. Your team will be judged by industry experts, alumni, faculty, and sponsors. Dress to impress!
    3. What is the schedule for the event?
      • 1:00-4:00pm: Online setup and check AV in the virtual “lobby” area
      • 4-4:30pm: Judges’ Briefing in the welcome lobby. Attendees can start interacting with teams
      • 4:30pm: Judging begins (Judges are pre-assigned to 4-6 teams and so please be patient and remain at your table for the judge to find you)
      • 7:00pm: Awards Ceremony
    4. How many judges should we expect?
      • Teams are randomly assigned to judges based on their major preferences. A team should receive anywhere between 3-5 judges. They might all show up at the same time or at different times.
      • Judges will be identified with red-colored dot as shown in this example.
    5. What do we do if we win the expo?
      Make sure that each member of the team fills out this online form
    6. What is the difference between set up types?
      • The options available are: floor, poster, tabletop, and vehicle and every team will receive a 6′ x 3′ table by default.
      • Select Vehicle if you plan to bring a real size car
      • Select Floor if you plan to bring your prototype that needs to be placed on the group (cannot be placed on a table, for example, robot, cooler, etc)
      • Select Poster if you do not need a table and only plan to bring a poster. The organizers might place teams with only poster requirements closer if there are overall space constraints.
    7. Have more questions about logistics?
      Send them to expo[at]