Category Judging FAQ

Who is qualified to be a judge?

A judge should have the following three qualifications:

  • A Bachelor’s degree in a scientific, technical, or educational field. (Exceptions may be made for related experience. Please contact prior to registration.)
  • Enjoy working with middle and high school students.
  • Be available during judging hours on judging day (Thursday, March 15, 2018, from 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM).

Can parents of students participating in the fair judge?

Parents of participating students are welcome to volunteer as judges, however they must conform to the SCVSEFA conflict of interest policy listed on the Judges Home Page. Parents must also refrain from speaking to their children or to their children’s friends during the judging period to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Why are there THREE kinds of judges?

We have (1) Category Judges, (2) Grand Prize Judges, and (3) Special Award Judges for determining the three kinds of awards.

For Category judging, each project is evaluated by at least two qualified judges for awards in one of four categories, and related fields of study, so that every student has the opportunity to interact with several knowledgeable judges. A small number of highly qualified and experienced judges are asked to evaluate the top projects for Grand Prizes and advancement to the California State Science Fair and Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

Special Awards are given by various professional organizations and companies. Special awards may take many forms, including certificates, cash, trips, equipment, and work fellowships. Criteria for the special awards are determined by the sponsoring organizations. Judging teams for these awards are usually from the sponsoring organizations but may, if requested, be provided by the SCVSEFA.

What are the different categories for Category Judging?

Students designate a category and field of study for their project. Judging is done within one of four categories so that biological sciences projects are judged together, and physical sciences projects are judged together. Projects are also divided based on the amount of professional mentoring and access to non-school laboratories the student received.

Category Judges are asked to choose their preferred fields of study during online registration. We use the field of study to form project groups and to assign teams of judges with appropriate interests and qualifications to judge about 8 to 12 projects.

The four categories and fifteen fields of study are described at: Categories and Fields of Study.

Will the judges be provided with parking subsidy?

Unfortunately, due to budget restrictions we cannot offer a parking subsidy. There are several parking lots surrounding the convention center which offer $7/day parking. We strongly encourage carpooling and use of mass transit. Click Here for Parking Information.

Will the judges and volunteers get lunch?

Yes, we provide a box lunch and drinks, including a vegetarian option at 11:30 AM. If you have special dietary needs please make sure to inform us by email ahead of time.

Can I bring my son/daughter along during judging?

No. Other children are distracting to the students and other judges. Interested family members may attend only during the open viewing time (5:00–6:00 PM on March 15th).

When is the Presentation of Awards?

Names of winning students will be posted on this website approximately 10 days following the fair. Awards will be presented to the student winners, representatives from the top schools, and the top teachers at the Awards Ceremonies.

The ceremonies (separate, for midde school and high school) will be held approximately 2–3 weeks following the fair, usually on the first Sunday in April.  Details will be available on this website and at the Fair.