OSEF Judges

2020 Virtual OSEF Judging

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, and prudent social distancing mandates are put in place, we were forced to reconsider the format of the 2020 OSEF competition.

In our best effort to provide our high-school and middle-school STEM students an opportunity to show off the projects into which they have dedicated so much time and effort, OSEF if operating on a delay, and going entirely virtual.

Interested in Virtual Judging?

More than ever, we need judges that are flexible and willing to work with an online-assessment system.  Since there is no physical location, judges can be local or out-of-town; judging can be conducted from work, home, or anywhere with an internet connection utilizing your computer, laptop, tablet, or cell phone.

The Ozarks Science and Engineering Fair depends on its volunteer judges for their expertise in their career fields. If you would like to be a judge at OSEF, please use the SignUpGenius button links in the section below (senior high, junior high).

What does it take to be a Virtual Judge?

  • A willingness to talk to students about the work they have performed.
  • An understanding of the scientific method.
  • A wish to reinforce the students' pursuit of research and knowledge.
  • Access to the internet for the following judging tools:
    • Zoom: a web conferencing platform, used to interview students.
    • Dropbox: a file repository, where students upload their project for the judges to view.
    • Survey Monkey: a survey platform (same as judge sign-up), to submit scores.
    • SignUpGenius: a scheduling system, to select judging times

When is judging taking place?

Mentioned above, the OSEF team has decided to postpone the Virtual Fair to the following dates:

Senior Division projects (9th-12th grade): April 20-24 

Junior Division projects (5th-8th grade): April 27-May 15

Interview times will be scheduled during between 8:00am–5:00pm Central Time.

All interviews will be scheduled online via SignUpGenius.  Judges will select time-slots that match their availability, which are arranged by topic and division.  Time-slots are 2.5-3h in duration, and include 5-6 interview sessions spaced 30min apart.  This allows the full 15min interview plus time to discuss and submit scores after.  As a reference, during a normal fair judges usually commit to 6-10 projects over the course of approx. 3 hours.

Example: If you judge for Senior High Behavior, you will judge at most 6 projects from 9.30am-11:30am on April 20th.  If you also sign up for Senior High Medicine, you will judge an additional 8 (or fewer) projects from 1:00pm-4:00pm on April 23.  (Specific times and dates accessed via the links below.)

Use the links below to view and sign up for sessions in your area(s) of expertise:


How is scoring conducted?

Judges and students will be connected virtually via Zoom (web conferencing software). Each interview will be limited to 15 minutes. The student will be given the opportunity to provide a VERY brief overview of their project (the elevator version, 3min max). Students will not be allowed to use .PPT or other similar presentation platforms. The student must rely on their verbal description and interview discussion. The remainder of the time (approximately 12 minutes) will be for conversation between judge and project researcher(s).

Once you have signed up for a specific category above, you will be contacted via email with the following information:

  • Zoom session link, specific to your category
  • DropBox link, with the student files for your category limited to an abstract and (1) .jpg image of the project display

The information will be sent a few days prior to your scheduled session. You will have a chance to test out Zoom, look over the abstract and project picture, and talk with the other judge(s) prior to the interview.   IMPORTANT: Please ensure your mic and speakers work, and you can connect to Zoom prior to the meeting!  However, an OSEF member will be present online to help facilitate the Zoom interviews and assist with technical difficulties.

With regard to Judging Evaluation:

When you have finished interviewing a student, please use the link below to submit their score to us.  Each judge will need to do this for each interview. 


Problems with virtual judging?

The OSEF team cannot express how grateful we are to our judges for being flexible during this turbulent time, and we are here to make this as smooth a process as we can for you and the students.

It is very important that you are prepared and test your equipment prior to the interview times, as it may take a little time to resolve issues over email.  Regardless, we are here to help where we can.  If you encounter problems, feel free to contact us:

Michelle Norgren, Executive Director



Ben Dalton, Judge Coordinator



Sue McCrory, Website and Volunteers