Judging can affect students profoundly, sometimes altering their career choices...
Comments from past OCSEF judges:
“Thank you very much for allowing me to participate in this event as a judge. I had a great time reading the abstracts and was thrilled to see the projects as well as speak to the students. I would definitely be interested in joining you next year so do keep me in mind.”
“I thank you for a wonderful day! I had a great time meeting and working with all of my fellow judges.”
“I am greatly encouraged to see such enthusiasm for science and engineering with these youngsters. They are our future, the best and the brightest. I will indeed be a part of the next cycle as a judge.”
For more information about applying to become a judge for the Orange County Science & Engineering Fair, please contact our Director of Judging here.
Why be a judge?
The Orange County Science & Engineering Fair (OCSEF) is an annual event organized to encourage the youth of our county to learn about science and to consider a career in science or engineering. You will play a critical role in the science fair experience. Your judging can affect students profoundly, sometimes altering their career choices and almost always influencing their attitudes toward science and technology.
Who should apply to be a judge?
Scientists, engineers, educators, whether currently working or retired, who are interested in encouraging the young people of Orange County to consider a career in science or engineering.
What do judges do?
Judges work in a team with others, some of whom have had previous experience as science fair judges. You evaluate the projects and interview students on the day of the fair. You then decide, as a team, which projects merit receiving awards in their category.
When and where is judging?
Judges meet with students at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa on the date shown on the Dates & Timeline. Doors open at 7:00 am. We ask judges to arrive by 7:30 am for orientation. Judges have about an hour to review the projects and research reports before the first group of students arrive at 9:00 am. Follow-up deliberations to decide on awards generally conclude by 4:30 pm. We provide a continental breakfast, lunch and snacks throughout the day.
How do I apply to be a judge?
Role of Judging Captains
Judging Captains coordinate the activities of the judges assigned to their judging category. This includes assigning judges to teams, reviewing the judging objectives and policies for evaluating projects, making sure that each student receives the participation certificate and is interviewed by as many judging teams as possible during the hour the student is on the exhibit floor, and leading the deliberations on awards at the end of the day.
We ask Judging Captains to be our “eyes and ears” for projects that are worthy of the Sweepstakes Prize (Jr. and Sr.) and for meritorious projects for Special Awards. They maintain contact with the Sweepstakes Award judges and the Director of Special Awards throughout the day to identify projects that are worthy of consideration.
At the end of the day, Judging Captains verify the awards for their category and submit the Awards List to the Director of Judging.