"I didn't fail the test, I just found 100 ways to do it wrong."
Benjamin Franklin
"I was taught that the way of progress was neither swift nor easy."
Marie Curie, Nobel Prize in Pysics 1903, 1911

Judges and General Volunteers

Judges and volunteers are needed for the Austin Energy Regional Science Festival coming up in February at the Palmer Events Center. This is a great opportunity for people interested in meeting the next generation of young scientists from Central Texas.

The Austin Energy Regional Science Festival 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. More than 3,500 third - twelfth grade students and their families attend each year. The festival offers a public viewing of the science projects, educational booths and scientific demonstrations for the kids. It is a valuable way to support our community by investing in our most important resource, our future.

Annually, we need approximately 200 general volunteers, 200 Elementary judges (Elementary) (3rd - 6th) and 350 judges for the Junior/Senior Divisions (middle/high school).

If you have questions about being a judge or general volunteer before registering online, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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.

Because judging is competitive, we need subject matter experts to evaluate the projects. About 7-8 projects are assigned to each group of judges (typically consisting of 3 people). After a group has interviewed their assigned students, group members discuss the merit of each project and jointly determine the ranking. Seniors are judged in the morning, Juniors in the afternoon. It is a 2-4 hour commitment, depending on the amount of students in each category. We offer orientation sessions in the weeks leading up to the fair. Projects will be available for previewing the night before judging without students present. Links to the abstracts will be made available the weekend prior to the fair.

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.

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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; it is a 2 – 3 hour commitment. We offer orientation sessions in the weeks leading up to the fair.

Adults with a good general education and the ability to talk to young children.


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.

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General Volunteers

Volunteers need no specific qualifications, but should be comfortable interacting with students. We are looking for people who can help out with tasks such as registration, parking and unloading, setup, ribbon hanging, judging logistics, etc.