TGen Blog : Wanted: Awesome People to Judge Arizona Science & Engineering Fair

Wanted: Awesome People to Judge Arizona Science & Engineering Fair

Volunteering as a judge makes a lasting impact on students

By Julie Euber, 2017 AzSEF Judging Chair

Every year, STEM professionals come together to support eager elementary, middle, and high school students presenting the results of their research projects at the Arizona Science and Engineering Fair (AzSEF). The winners at the high school level advance to compete in a worldwide competition for scholarships, Intel International Science & Engineering Fair (ISEF).

We recently caught up with Kelly Charley (senior at Navajo Preparatory School) who competed at AzSEF in 2014 and 2016 and won the opportunity to attend ISEF both years. At ISEF 2016, Charley was a winner of the New American University Intel ISEF Scholarship from Arizona State University for developing a self-sufficient solar panel to heat traditional homes. Interacting with AzSEF judges helped her prepare to compete at the international level.

"The judges at AzSEF care about what you have to say. It's a good experience because you get to share what you've learned and what you're passionate about, and you get feedback. It's a great feeling when a judge lights up and is excited about what you've done. It's great to share with someone who has a lot of knowledge," said Charley.

There is no doubt that the AzSEF experience is an exciting one for students, and the interactions they have with volunteer judges can have a lasting impact.

Charley had the following advice for AzSEF judges in 2017: "It may seem overwhelming, and you might have a lot on your mind, but if you take the time to give your entire attention to a single student, it all changes. The students might be from a background where their voice isn't heard and their opinions don't matter. When you pay attention, it inspires them and makes them want to be a scientist. You have this immense power that you don't realize to empower kids to do something better."

Are you in a STEM field? We hope that you take on Charley's challenge to empower students to become the next generation of scientists and to change the world. Mark your calendar for April 12 from 7:30am to 3:00pm and sign up to be a volunteer judge today!

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