Here Comes The Judge


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They’ll let anyone judge a school science fair these days.

That’s not true. There were qualifications, and I met them; I just never imagined myself as science fair judge material, ya know?

Fortunately, they had a behavioral and social sciences category so I didn’t have to judge complicated things like, oh, I don’t know … wavelengths.

The project topics were impressive. Things like the roles of art and music in learning; effects of video games on players reaction times or attention span; and one of my favorites, the accuracy of mood rings in determining mood.

While, as stated, not ever thinking of myself with the right skill set to be a science fair judge, I surprised myself in two ways.

One: I interview people for a living, so asking students questions about their projects was the most natural thing to me. I take it for granted apparently because for some of the other judges it didn’t come as easy.

Two: Some of the grad school studies in conducting surveys was relevant since so many students used surveys to collect their data. I think I may have actually helped a few students, too, to think differently about their data because we discussed survey methods, etc.

Three — I know I said two ways but one more thing stands out — the five judges in my division were struggling to come to a consensus. So I kinda took charge, in a nice way, and suggested a way for us to narrow down choices and called for a vote. This greatly reduced our deliberation time and resulted, I believe, in us selecting winners we could all support. I was kind of proud of that too, that I found a way to complete the task without anyone being alienated or upset.

I had fun, but more than that, I brought value, which I didn’t expect. And that was kinda cool.

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