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.

Why Be a Judge

Judging can affect students profoundly, sometimes altering their career choices…

Past OCSEF judges say:

“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.

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.

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.

Who should apply?

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.

When and where is judging?

Judges meet with students at on the date shown on the Key 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?

Complete the On-Line Sign-Up Form. Please contact our Director of Judging if you have any questions or difficulty submitting the on-line form.

Sign-Up to Judge at the OCSEF

It may be selfish, but we tend to feel great when we help others. Perhaps it’s the joy we see on their faces when we’ve accomplished a huge task for them, or the fact that we also gain a lot out of these experiences in terms of friends, contacts, and experience. Either way, volunteering is a rewarding experience which benefits ourselves and organizations alike.

– John Grant

Thank you for your interest in becoming a judge for the OCSEF. Each year several hundred students present projects at the OCSEF and judging is the culmination of their hard work. As a judge, you become an important part of their learning, and your encouragement has an impact on their view of the science. To become a judge in the OCSEF please complete the form below to be added to our database.

Judges are asked to be available to complete the judging assignments on the day assigned for Judging (see “Key Dates” on the OCSEF Home Page) from 7:30 am to the conclusion of award deliberations, around 4:30 pm. Please provide the information requested below if you desire to be a judge. If you are unavailable to help with this year’s Fair, but would like to help in future years, please complete the form below to add your name to our database of judges. We will contact you, after we receive your application, by e-mail (preferably) or regular mail.

The OCSEF Board of Directors thanks you for your participation.