Judging Opportunities



Judges are responsible for evaluating projects in their assigned category, which will be decided during Judges Orientation prior to the Fair. They must provide clear and impartial feedback to each student they interview. Judges may be assigned in teams of three to allow for multiple disciplines to review projects that may cross disciplines.


Judge duties include:

1] Review each entry in your assigned category and take notes during the Project Board review as well as the Interview.

2] Complete and return scoring sheets to your Team Lead by the specified time.




We estimate that judges may devote a maximum of 5-8 total hours for judging during the scheduled days of the Fair.


The Judges Orientation is typically scheduled for prior to the Fair and will take approximately 2 hours, where judges will be trained on the judging process and encouraged to review student project boards without students present.


You can also view the entire list of ISEF Categories here.


The categories listed below are those that will be used at the Fair. Many projects could easily fit into more than one category. We require that the students review the entire listing of the categories before choosing a their registered project category. This is entirely the student's discretion. Please do not suggest to the Judge Team Leads that a project is better suited to a different category during the Fair. Category decisions are final prior to the event.

  • Behavioral and Social Sciences -
    • The science or study of the thought processes and behavior of humans and other animals in their interactions with the environment studied through observational and experimental methods.
  • Biology & Health Sciences – includes Animal, Cellular & Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Plant Sciences, Health Sciences and Transitional Medical Sciences:
    • Focuses on human or animal body systems or overall health.


  • Chemistry – includes Biochemistry, Chemistry,  Chemical Energy and Pharmacology:
    • Studies that explore the identification of the substances of which matter is composed; the investigation of their properties and the ways in which they interact, combine and change; and the use of these processes to form new substances.
  • Sustainable Technology – includes Biomedical Engineering, Physical Energy, Environmental Engineering, and Green Chemistry:
    • Focuses on sustainable or green materials or products.


  • Applied Engineering – includes Engineering Mechanics, Materials Science, Robotics and Intelligent Machines:
    • Studies that focus on engineering that involves movement or structure.  The movement can be by the apparatus or the movement can affect the apparatus.
  • Computer Software & Technology - includes Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, Embedded Systems and Systems Software:
    • The practical approach to computation and its applications.
  • Physical Sciences & Math – includes Earth and Environmental Sciences, Mathematics and Physics & Astronomy:
    • Focuses on the science of matter, energy, mathematical functions and applied mathematics.


Scientific Process Categories:

Engineering Design Process Categories:

Tentative Fair Schedule



What to Expect the Day of the Event

The day of the STEM fair is always exciting! We have so many different activities for all attendees, parents included, to participate in! The times of the programming are subject to change, but the main features of our Fair are the following:

Morning Activities

  • Student Orientation
  • College Admission Workshop
  • Parent Programming
  • Judging of STEM Projects


  • Free Lunch for Participants


  • Food Trucks may be on site

Afternoon Activities

  • Student Projects Open to the Public
  • College & Career Expo
  • Financial Planning Workshop
  • Awards Ceremony



6:00PM....Judges' Check-in

6:30PM - 8:00PM....Judges' Orientation and Dinner

Activities to include: Judge duties presentation, category matches and mock judging after dinner is served. You will also receive project abstracts to review & you are invited to preview projects after orientation.

8:00PM-9:00PM....(Optional) Project Preview - Students are not present



7:00AM-8:00AM .... Judge's Check in

8:00AM-9:00AM .... Judge's Project review

9:00AM-1:00PM .... Category Judging Interviews, Special Awards Judging Interviews & Grand Prize Judging Interviews



*Snacks and a breakfast buffet will also be provided; however, if you have special diet needs, please plan to bring your own snacks and/or a small meal.


Exact dates and times are to be released.

If you have signed up as a volunteer judge, you will be contacted by Fair Staff for details regarding

the 2022 Fair.


Also be sure to check out Judge's Orientation at the button below!!


Judging Forms



You can click on the links below  to access the forms and documents you will need to review as a volunteer judge.

All are formatted as PDFs for ease of download if you would like!

Judging Policy

Rules for Judges

Judging Guidelines

Project Examples

Judging Registration





Register to Judge here!


455 Capitol Mall, Suite 500 Sacramento, CA 95814

P: (916) 441.3150

F: (916) 442.4182


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The mission of the NorCal STEM Education Foundation is to inspire and engage students to become interested in pursuing scientific, technological, engineering, and mathematical (STEM) degrees and careers.

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