Address: 835 West Genesee Street, Syracuse, NY 13204

E-mail:     Phone: (315) 422-2902

E-mail the Fair Director



Mon-Fri 9:00AM - 5:00PM
Weekends by appointment only!


What’s here?Potsdam

What do judges do?
Who can serve as a judge?
The tools of your trade 


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Judges have the most powerful role in the science fair - interviewing the young people gathered to share all they have done and learned, and encouraging them to continue making good choices for their “now” and their future.

Basically, our judges ask three questions:

  1. What did you do?
  2. What did you learn?
  3. What will you do next?

Then the dialogue continues with detailed questions growing from that initial interaction. Based upon their conversation with the student, the judge can then complete his/her rubric form.



Senior Level Research and Engineering Design (RED) Judging (Grades 9-12)

  • Enthusiasm for your field and a Bachelor's degree or equivalent experience in science, engineering, technology, medicine, the skilled trades, education, business, or the law.
  • Will assess a student's project for creativity, scientific/engineering/technical knowledge, thoroughness, and clarity in a competitive environment.
  • First Round: Senior Level Research / Engineering Design (R/ED) judging teams, organized by preferred judging category, judge using rubric.
  • Experienced Senior Level judges may volunteer to be considered for Team Captain.
  • Second Round: With an experienced coordinator, team captains choose students advancing to further competitions.

Junior Level RED Judging (Grades 5-8)

  • High school diploma (can be retired, working or in college) and a real interest in encouraging students to explore science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Note: We find many PhDs prefer judging at the Junior Level, so this is for everyone!
  • Enjoy interacting with young people. Your sincerity -- your asking "What did you do?" and listening with engagement -- will make the greatest difference for these young people.
  • Junior Level judges individually interview an assigned group of students within a single grade, using the rubric to score.
  • Judge groups, led by an experienced team captain, meet to discuss the projects and assign awards.
  • Experienced Junior Level judges may volunteer to be considered as a Team Captain.

Special Awards Judging

  • Hour One of Special Awards Judging is with the Topic Presentation students. This will take the first hour of Judging, while the Fair judges are interviewing Research / Engineering Design students.
  • Note: Special Awards judges may select a topic presenter for their award(s) if the judging guidelines permit; this first hour is very useful to identify an initial set of those projects!
  • Hours 2-3 of Special Awards Judging identify recipients for awards given by local businesses and organizations as well as sponsors of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair awards package. Sponsors may provide judges, but we can recruit additional people if needed.



Things to Know

Judging 101 (in case you missed it at the top of the page) PDF

Judge recruiting buckslip PDF

The TNRSEF trains all judges on the day of their selected competition, providing refreshments and lunch.

Team Leaders will be notified in advance. Other judges will meet their team leaders at the training and receive their assignments there.

EVERY JUDGE must agree to recuse him/herself from interviewing and participating in the deliberation about any student whom s/he knows. There are NO exceptions to this requirement.

Judge registration will open on January 1, 2018.

We encourage judges to stay after they submit their reports to talk with more students, especially those who have met with fewer judges (easy to see on their judge cards and label sheets).


RED judging rubric PDF

Topic Presentation judging rubric PDF

Categories PDF

Email the
Judging Chair with questions.

See you at the TNRSEF!