March 11, 2011

Faculty, grad students needed to judge science fair

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Calling all University faculty and graduate students! The annual Region 8 Science Fair, hosted by Southern Illinois University Carbondale, needs judges.

The event is set for Tuesday, March 29, and supplying qualified judges is the most critical aspect of the conducting the competition, said Kathy Pericak-Spector, professor of mathematics and chair of the fair.

“The students spend almost six months on their projects and are very proud of their finished work,” she said. “Sponsors tell me that the judging at SIUC is better than the judging at the state competition because students are able to present their findings to the experts and they get valuable feedback. When a scientist gets excited about a student's project, the student gets even more excited. Some students have gone on to work with people on campus.”

Prospective judges need to sign up by March 23. Go to to learn more.

Last year, students from the state’s 21 southernmost counties competed in the event, showcasing more than 300 science projects, she said, adding that she expects the same level of participation this year from the students, who range from grades 7 through 12.

Judges will team up in pairs -- one faculty member and one graduate student -- and will examine up to five projects per team. Prospective judges should indicate what categories they would like to evaluate when signing up.

The first set of judges will meet at 8:45 a.m. at the Student Center Auditorium on the day of the fair to receive a briefing on judging criteria and assignments. The second set of judges will meet at 10:45 a.m. at the same spot and go over the same instructions. Prospective judges may sign up to work both sessions.

Juice, coffee and donuts will be available throughout the morning and early afternoon, Pericak-Spector said.

For more information, contact Pericak-Spector at 618/453-6569 or