March 03, 2010

Faculty, grad students sought to judge science fair

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill -- Organizers of a regional science fair held at Southern Illinois University Carbondale are seeking campus judges for the contest.

Up to 600 students will bring some 450 science projects to SIUC for the annual Illinois Junior Academy of Science Region 8 Science Fair, set for Tuesday, March 30. The event has been held for more than 50 years.

Sponsored by the College of Science, organizers are looking for University faculty members and graduate students to serve as judges for the event.

“Judging is the most important aspect of the fair, and I appreciate the continued support of the department chairs, faculty, and graduate students,” said Kathleen Pericak-Spector, professor of mathematics and one of the fair organizers.

Typically, one faculty member and one graduate student pair up to form a single judging team. The first judging session will begin promptly at 8:45 a.m. in the Student Center Auditorium with a brief orientation on criteria and assignments. The second session starts there at 10:45 a.m. and follows the same format, she said. Each two-person team will judge five projects at most.

Judges can list the categories they wish to examine. Those categories include Chemistry, Computer Programming, Earth Science & Environmental Science, Mathematics, Microbiology, Physics, Aerospace & Electronics, Botany & Environmental Science, Zoology, Engineering & Material Science, Environmental Science, Consumer Science, Health Science, Biochemistry and Behavioral Science.

Juice, coffee and donuts will be available throughout the morning and early afternoon, as well.

Pericak-Spector asks that faculty and graduate students interested in judging contact her by March 23 at They can also contact Diane Fritcher, office manager with the mathematics department, at Judges should list which categories they are willing to judge.

The event is one of 12 such events in the state. Region 8 encompasses the southernmost 21 counties in Illinois and SIUC is probably more involved in this competition than any other university in the state, Pericak-Spector said.

“We definitely offer more prize money, even though other regions will be bigger, and have more faculty involvement in the judging,” she said.