Intel ISEF Judging FAQ | Student Science

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Intel ISEF Judging FAQ

Below are some frequently asked questions about judging at Intel ISEF for Grand Award judges. Please click on the question to learn more. If your question is not answered here, please email your category co-chair or

Where do I park?
Where do I check in?
When can I review projects?
What should I wear?
Where in the convention center are the projects, and where does my category meet?
Will there be training?
What meals are provided?
What is expected in a finalist/judge interaction?


Parking for volunteers and judges will be available at the David Lawrence Convention Center (DLCC) as well as some nearby, downtown garages. A limited number of spaces will be available daily at the DLCC.  The entrance is off of 10th Street. When that lot fills, then additional spots will be available at the Grant Street Transportation Center Garage (in between Liberty and Penn and 11th and 12th Street), Smithfield-Liberty Garage (at 629 Smithfield Street), Ninth and Penn Garage and the Mellon Square Garage (entrance on Sixth Avenue between Smithfield and William Penn Place).  Please refer to for more detail for all lots other than the DLCC or download the ParkPGH  app for up-to-date space availability. Please retain your parking ticket and bring it to the convention center to receive a chaser card or to get the ticket stamped.


When you arrive at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, please proceed to the Registration Complex which is located on the 2nd floor. Grand Award Judge Registration opens at noon on Tuesday, May 15th and will be open until 5:00 pm. We anticipate there may be a large crowd of individuals that will want to register to judge at noon, so we encourage you to either wait to arrive at Registration until a little later in the afternoon or be prepared to wait for a period of time. At registration, you will receive your badge, judging materials as well as your schedule of the specific projects within your category that you will be judging. Please be sure to wear your badge at all times for security purposes. Your badge will allow you entrance to the Finalist Exhibit Halls and the caucus areas. Once registered, you can visit the Exhibit Halls to pre review projects until 5:00 pm.

You can also expect delays at Registration as we near 5:00 PM.  Please remember that you should be in your caucus room by 5:00 pm for dinner and your introductory training session.  

Project Pre-Review

Once you have registered and received your individual schedule, you have until 5:00 pm to review any projects that were assigned to you in addition to any other projects within your category. Students will not be present at this time. Abstracts for all Finalist projects will be available online through the Grand Awards Digital Scoring website.

You will also have an opportunity to review projects after dinner on Tuesday. Printed copies of abstracts may be available at the project. Please only take an abstract if you are scheduled to interview that student.

Exhibit Halls & Category Caucus Rooms

For Intel ISEF 2018, the Finalist Exhibit Hall will be split between two different floors, Hall B on the 2nd floor and Hall D/E on the 1st floor. Please see the category break-down below by Hall. Your badge will also have the Hall of your category printed in the bottom right corner.

Hall B: Animal Sciences, Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology, Chemistry, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Energy: Chemical, Energy: Physical, Engineering Mechanics, Environmental Engineering, Mathematics, Microbiology, Plant Sciences

Hall D/E: Behavioral and Social Sciences, Biomedical and Health Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, Embedded Systems, Materials Science, Physics and Astronomy, Robotics and Intelligent Machines, Systems Software, Translational Medical Science


Dress is casual for Registration and project pre-review on Tuesday. You will not be interacting directly with any Finalists on this day. For Wednesday, please dress in business attire. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes.  Finalists are instructed to wear in business attire. Judging day on Wednesday will certainly be an exciting day, but will also be a long day and it is important to make sure you are comfortable. There will be limited seating throughout the Exhibit Hall floors if needed.

Grand Award Judge Training

Online judge training materials will be posted to the Information Board in the Judging Application in late April/ early May. Whether you are a new judge or a veteran, it is highly recommended that you review this material as it will help you to understand the overall process of Grand Award judging at Intel ISEF. Each year we strive to refine and enhance the overall judging system. Even if you have been an Intel ISEF Grand Awards judge for many years, reviewing the training materials will highlight our new features. The judging and caucus process and procedures will first be discussed on Tuesday evening in the category meetings. There will be additional informational sessions Wednesday and we encourage all judges to be open to the judging and caucusing process and to reach out to their category co-chairs with any questions that may arise.


All Grand Award Judges will be provided meals starting with dinner on Tuesday, May 15th, and all three meals Wednesday. Please note, we will not be providing lunch on Tuesday, May 15th, all judges will need to make other accommodations for this meal. Meals will be buffet style. Light refreshments including drinks and snacks will be made available to judges throughout judging day on Wednesday.  All Grand Award Judges are also invited to an evening reception on Wednesday night after final judging decisions have been made to celebrate your hard work and dedication to our Finalists at Intel ISEF 2018!

Finalist/Judge Interaction

At Intel ISEF, we believe that all Finalists are already winners. For many of these students, this week is the culmination of a year of work and passion for their science research. While we strongly encourage you to truly probe the extent of the Finalist’s knowledge, it is also important to make sure that each Finalist’s overall Intel ISEF experience is a positive one. We hope that the Grand Award judges understand that each Finalist can be quite nervous and under some level of stress. Please be aware that the Finalists are high school students on the first step of a STEM career and we hope through this competition to encourage them to continue to pursue science, engineering, and math.

If there is a Finalist that you would like to connect with about further research opportunities or questions about their project, send an email to EMAIL with the Finalist’s name and/or project ID.  DO NOT leave a personal business card behind with the Finalist or request their contact information. We will then facilitate communication between yourself and the Finalist. Finalists have also been informed to not provide personal contact information or to accept contact information from others.

If at any point you view or are informed about an unfavorable or inappropriate interaction between a judge and a Finalist(s), please report that information or have the Finalist(s) report at information to our Ombudsman, Robert Yost or Tom Conroy, who will be located at the Hub. It is important to foster a climate of open communication where all participants have an enjoyable experience during judging day.

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