Judges and General Volunteers
The Austin Energy Regional Science Festival is looking for judges to evaluate student projects this coming February. This year, our process has changed due to the pandemic. Instead of interviewing students in a physical facility on one day, Junior and Senior Division participant interviews will be conducted via Zoom, scheduled over a two week period. Elementary students will not be interviewed, but their projects will be reviewed online.
Science Fest is a competition for students from 23 school districts and 12 counties who are advancing from their local schools and is among the largest of the 13 regional science fairs held in Texas. This is a great opportunity for people interested in getting to know the next generation of young scientists from Central Texas.
Annually, we need approximately 200 judges in the Elementary Division (3rd - 6th) and 350 judges for the Junior/Senior Divisions (middle/high school). Because the fair will be conduced online this year, we do not have an opportunity for general volunteers.
Judging Process Overview for Jr. & Sr. Divisions
Students submit their projects in various scientific categories. Judging is competitive and the top three winners in each category from both divisions advance to the state fair. The overall top six projects in the Senior Division, called "Best of Fair", advance directly to the international competition. About 7-8 projects are assigned to each group of judges (typically consisting of 4-5 people). Judges will be able to preview student documentation prior to the scheduled interviews. Each judging team will meet in a 3-4 hour video session and conduct joint interviews with students, one project at a time. After all students have been interviewed, judges will confer and jointly determine the ranking. Senior categories will be judged from Feb 9-11, Junior ones from Feb 16-19. We offer an orientation session in the week leading up to the fair.
Judging Qualifications Jr. & Sr. Divisions
Junior Division: Undergraduate (3rd year and above) and graduate students, as well as professionals with either a degree or 3 years of experience in the applicable science category
Senior Division: Graduate students, professionals with either a degree or 5 years of experience in the applicable science category.
Judging Process Overview for Elementary Division
Elementary students submit their projects by grade level; each one is judged on its own merit and receives a 1st, 2nd or 3rd rating ribbon. Each judge is assigned six to seven projects. This year, judging will consist of a document review without interviews. Judges will have two days to complete their assignments.
Judging Qualifications For Elementary Division
Adults with a good general education.
Any person knowledgeable in the sciences or teaching fields may volunteer as a judge at the elementary level. For the Junior and Senior levels we are looking for judges who have experience in specific fields of study that correspond to one of the Intel ISEF science project categories.