Today was the judging day for the fair. We woke up at around 6 and grabbed breakfast together at 6:30 before heading back to our rooms to get dressed for the hotel. We left for the convention center at around 7:30 and by the time we arrived to the convention center, it was already packed with students lining up around the door waiting to get in.
Within my category of Earth and Environmental Sciences, I had a total of 6 set judges, however, this varied between category. The first ninety minutes of the day was reserved for special awards judges. I had a few special awards judges, but not many. It was overall a good start to the day. At the start of the day, there are many nerves, however, I think once the presenting begins, it feels like other science fairs, perhaps more specialized though, which was quite nice.
When the regular award judging began, I felt some stress. The majority of the judges asked for a quick summary of the project since they had already read through the abstract and poster board the day before. Since each judge only had 15 minutes with the student, there were many questions that were asked very quickly. For one of my judging periods, I didn’t even get to present and just answered questions for the entirety of the period. I found that some of my judges were very informed about the topic (they were geologists) or some did not know anything about the topic (some did not even know what sinkholes were). Each judge could visit additional posters and I got two additional judges, which was quite nice since I was excited to continue discussing my project.
It was about 4:30 when we left the convention center and headed back to the hotel. Judging was officially over and we were all exhausted, however, there was also a sense of relief that we could relax a bit more now. At the hotel, we slept and then headed over to the Convention Center for the Student Mixer. The student mixer had good food, stations with games (i.e ping pong, battleship, foosball, etc.), and a DJ room. It was a very nice experience and I enjoyed sitting and listening to students from the fair sing with the guitarist that was there.
We came back from the hotel at around 10:30 and called it a night. It was a pretty exhausting day.