Judges Needed for 2013 State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa

AMES, Iowa – Judges are needed for the State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa and FFA Agriscience Fair. The competitions will be held in Hilton Coliseum at Iowa State University on April 5.

Judges with majors, degrees or a background in science, engineering and/or technology are needed for the event. Typically the event spans two full days, but this year it will take place in one day, so more judges are needed.

SSTFI provides educational opportunities for students in grades 6 through 12, said Jay Staker, director of 4-H Science, Technology, Engineering and Math youth programs with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. The science fair allows the students to interact with professionals. Judges can instruct these youth on how to become better scientists and engineers during the all-day event. They also choose the projects that will compete at the international level, and what projects will receive awards at the state level.

“Extension and Outreach sponsors SSTFI because of our commitment to providing STEM education to Iowa’s young people,” Staker said. “Our 4-H youth development programs always have included STEM activities with a solid focus on agricultural science, electricity, mechanics, entrepreneurship and natural sciences. Today, 4-H has grown to include rocketry, robotics, bio-fuels, renewable energy, computer science, environmental sciences and more. 4-H STEM provides hands-on learning experiences to help youth learn about the world in partnership with adults who care about youth learning and are crazy about STEM.”

Staker said the SSTFI competitions help students better understand the scientific research process. Scholarships are given to project winners, and the impact is great.

“The scholarship I received at the State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa, made me want to continue on a science-based path in college,” said Victoria Whitcomb, a sophomore in biology at Iowa State University. “Knowing that I received the scholarship because of my contribution to science has helped me appreciate my studies in science even more. And, being a woman in an underrepresented field of science, it is good to know that my contributions to science are not left unnoticed.”

Several changes have been made to the judging format for the SSTFI, Staker said. Typically, training sessions are conducted the hour before the event, but this year judges will complete an orientation training session online prior to the event. The training session will highlight other changes made to the judging process this year.

To register as a judge or get more information, visit the SSTFI website, www.sciencefairofiowa.org.