Houston is home to one of the largest regional science fairs in the nation, the Science and Engineering Fair of Houston. Each year, approximately 1,200 – 1,500 students from the Greater Houston Area, who have usually qualified for the fair by winning their school or district level competitions, convene to compete in the George R. Brown Convention Center. 
"The judging process through Sigma Xi is incredibly rewarding. The judges I have encountered do not merely make a brief nod to your research before moving onto the next student, but consciously choose to become genuinely invested in what you are presenting to them, providing a forum for an intellectually rigorous and deeply satisfying exchange of ideas." Lyric Elizabeth Gillett, 2010 Sigma Xi Physical Science Award Winner            "From the beginning, it was very simple to establish a good rapport with the panel and communicate the guiding principles underlying my project to the [Sigma Xi] judges..." Thomas Mark Kuncewicz, 2011 Sigma Xi Life Science Award Winner           

Science and Engineering Fair of Houston Judging needs your help...

Without volunteer judges, all with varied skill sets and areas of expertise, it would be impossible to hold this fantastic event each year. Judges are in high demand for all levels of judging, in the two categories of competition: Life Sciences, and Physical Sciences (which includes math and computer science). Exhibits are judged in one of three divisions: the Junior/Middle School (7th and 8th grades); the Ninth (9th grade); and the Senior (10th, 11th, and 12th grades) Divisions. The competition is open to public and private school students, including home educated students.

Place judging is the process of ranking projects by discipline and division; the different disciplines are judged for first, second, and third place, and sometimes, honorary mention, in their specific level and category. This phase of judging occurs on Friday morning, from 8 a.m. - noon, and then continues throughout the afternoon from 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.  Special judging also occurs during the afternoon (1 p.m. through 5 p.m.) period. The Rice University - Texas Medical Center Chapter of Sigma Xi is among the special judging organizations, and several of our Chapter Members also participate in the place judging. For more information about the judging process, click here.

Saturday, February 23rd, 2019 marks the next opportunity for you to serve as a judge at the Science and Engineering Fair of Houston.  There is always a significant need for volunteer judges; many students are only interviewed by one or two judges, due to the limited number of available judges. The Rice University - Texas Medical Center Chapter strongly recommends volunteering your time as a judge. The time is too short to hear all the students want to tell you and you will be surprised at what you learn; the students appreciate the time, hard work, and dedication that is invented in the judging day.  These are our best students, and they deserve our attention.

Science and Engineering Fair of Houston Sigma Xi Rice-TMC Special Awards

Our chapter provides special judges for the senior high school Science Engineering Fair of Houston participants. Like other special judging organizations, the Rice University - Texas Medical Center Chapter Members judge during the Friday afternoon sessions, during which time we search for two projects to which to present the Best Life Science and Best Physical Science Awards. These special recognitions are independent of the place awards the students may or may not win.

Our recent winners are listed below:

Life Science Award, 2013

Mr. Kishore Balasubramanian, Klein Oak High School - Novel Nanoparticles for Drug Delivery

Physical Science Award, 2013
. Perry Alagapan, Clear Lake High School - Optical Characterization of Single-Walled Nano-Tubes (SWNT’s) in a Magnetic Field: A New Frontier in Enhancing Nanomaterials

Life Science Award, 2012
Mr. Grant Z. Zhou, Friendswood High School - A Study of Body Weight Control and Obesity Prevention

Physical Science Award, 2012
Ms. Jaime McCullough, Clements High School - Get the Point? 

Life Science Award, 2011
Mr. Thomas Kuncewicz, Debakey High School - Trafficking Chitosan Nanoparticles in HepG2 Cells

Physical Science Award, 2011
Mr. Omkar V. Joshi, Bellaire Senior High School - Collision Course : 4486 Mithra  

Life Science Award, 2010
Mr. Tianjiao Zhang,
Bellaire Senior High School - Novel Immunotherapy of Cancer through TLR5 and Its Ligand Flagellin 

Physical Science Award, 2010
Ms. Lyric Elizabeth Gillett, Cornerstone High Homeschool - Detecting High Energies in Sonoluminescence

Please contact us if you would be willing to dedicate your time to the judging process; you will not regret the time spent, and the competitors will benefit greatly from your presence!