Science Fair/Fest Judges Needed

This is a fantastic opportunity to meet up-and-coming scientists and to learn out some other areas of research. Please consider being a science fair judge. See email below.

Dear Science Fest Judges,

It is almost Thanksgiving, so I know those of you who have judged before more than once, have been looking for my e-mail asking you to do it again.

Judging for the Junior/Senior Division will take place on Thursday, Feb 24, 2011 at the Palmer Events Center; Seniors will be judged from 9 am to about noon (check-in time for judges is at 8 am); Juniors from 1:30 p.m. to about 4:30 p.m. (check-in time for judges is at 12:30 p.m.)

As I told you after the fair last spring, I would like to have no more than 7 projects assigned to each judge or group of judges, to give you more time with the students. To achieve the lower ration, I will need more judges in almost every category. In addition, early signs seem to indicate that we will have increased participation at both the Junior and the Senior level this year, which would really be quite wonderful. So, I hope I can count on your expertise and dedication again - as well as your willingness to help spread the word among friends and colleagues, especially in the Life Sciences, Chemistry and Physics.

This year, you have a choice of registering for either Junior OR Senior Division, for BOTH, or for giving me a choice to assign you to the division where I need most judges.

I will not know how many projects will be submitted in each category until the project registration deadline on February 3. After that date, we will still have changes, so I won't start making assignments until the week of February 14. You will receive your category assignment and a link to the abstracts for your projects on the week-end before the fair.

We have three changes that will affect judging this year:
1) Junior and Senior Division: The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF), with whom we are affiliated, has eliminated all Team Project Categories; instead, each project, whether done by a team or by an individual, will be submitted in its respective science category. So, in your assignment you might have both team and individual projects.

2) Senior Division: Based on our participation level in the last three years, Intel ISEF has raised the number of projects we can advance to the international fair from three to five. Also, the distinction between team and individual projects has been dropped; judges are strictly asked to pick the very best projects as Best of Fair. This raises an interesting planning/fundraising problem, since anywhere between 5 and 15 students, as well as their accompanying teachers, will need travel funds. It is a good problem to have, though.

3) Junior Division: In previous years, middle school students spent too much time without being interviewed and got a bit rowdy. This year, we will still assign projects to judging groups of three, but ask that you talk to students individually and compare notes with your group later. We will release middle school students as soon as the second round of interviews in their category is completed; we used to keep them until results were in, but that is just too long.

I hope to hear from you soon.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Ingrid Weigand
Executive Director
Austin Energy Regional Science Fest
(512) 972-9521
(512) 663-4632

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