EPSEF - Eastern Panhandle Science and Engineering Fair



Join the EPSEF Army Today!

Science fairs are only possible because of the efforts of a small army of science fair judges and other volunteer helpers.  While teachers officially chaperone and supervise students, EPSEF is only possible through the efforts of its great volunteer army, which does everything from planning and outreach to building the technology solutions to make the science fair a smooth operation and fun event for the more than 200 students who attend each year. 
Volunteering your time to help with the science fair is a great way to support our local community.  We ask you to consider helping make EPSEF a wonderful experience for students by joining our dedicated group of volunteers.

Ready to Volunteer? Click HERE to register online.

What do EPSEF Volunteers do?

EPSEF's "core team" of volunteers meet periodically throughout the year to plan and execute on the next science fair.  We review the rules, update our stakeholders, conduct community outreach, recruit sponsors, and complete early planning tasks.  We analyze processes and procedures, work on ways to improve workflow, publish information on our website, host our annual science fair coordinators' meeting, build computer programs, and test the technology we will use at the fair.  
EPSEF's core team of volunteers typically devote 2-4 hours per month in the off season, plus an additional 10-20 hours in the two months leading up to the fair. 

What do Science Fair Judges do?

Science fair judges typically work in pairs to review categories of projects and invite eager students to share their research. Judges objectively evaluate students' efforts and provide constructive feedback. Most of the time judges are assigned to their preferred categories or interests.
Judges begin the day by attending a brief meeting and training session where they learn tips and tricks to make the day a fun and exciting experience for all involved.  New judges are paired with experienced judges so there is no worry about what to do.
At the conclusion of the training session the pair is assigned a group of projects to evaluate, including judging score sheets for each project.  Judges are given time to explore the exhibit hall and review projects before student presentations. Then when ready, judges call students to present their work.
Judges observe and listen as students make brief oral presentations at their project displays.  Judges typically listen silently, making notes about the presentation.  At the conclusion of the student's presentation, judges typically ask follow-up questions about the project before dismissing students back to the holding area. After the interview, judging pairs collaborate to complete the score sheets. When all of the assigned projects have been scored,  the judging pair will finalize scores and decide who takes 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in the assigned category.

Recommended Qualifications:

Good listeners with positive attitudes are a must. Otherwise, just about any responsible adult who can interact positively with young people can be a science fair judge. Because students are expected to describe their work to the "average citizen", specialized knowledge about a particular scientific discipline is not required, although judging pairs usually include at least one person with a working knowledge of science and scientific research principles. College students, retirees, and current professionals from just about any field make great judges.

Judges' Anonymity:

The science fair can be an emotional experience for some students and parents.  Therefore, anonymity is suggested.  Judges wear badges that simply say "JUDGE".  Judges are required to abstain from judging any project that might be deemed a conflict of interest.

Time Commitment:

Judging usually requires 2 to 4 hours of your time, including the initial briefing.  Judges are excused after their assigned category evaluation is complete and verified.  Of course judges are welcome to stay for the duration of the fair as well.
Date: Friday, February 7, 2025  (Snow Date: Friday, February 14, 2025.)
Judges are asked to arrive at 10:00 AM; most will be finished by 1:00 PM.  A few volunteers are needed for secondary judging to conclude by 2:00 PM.
Volunteers may work any hours between 7:00 AM and 4:30 PM.
  • All Day (9:30 AM to 4:30 PM) - Help Desk, Photographer, General Helper, Security 
  • 7:00 to 9:30 AM - Setup exhibit hall: tables, chairs, bleachers, PA System; hang signs; prepare for check-in.
  • 9:30 to 10:30 AM - Check-in chaperones, students, judges, and volunteers; distribute paperwork, badges; help students find where to setup their projects; help students meet display and safety requirements.
  • 10:00 to 2:00 PM - Operate the computerized project number calling system; make sure everyone gets judged; assist judges; process project evaluation forms; verify scores and winners.
  • 2:00 to 3:00 PM - Prepare list of winners; print certificates; prepare for awards ceremony
  • 3:00 to 3:30 PM - Present awards to winners
  • 3:300 to 4:30 PM - Fold up and put away tables, chairs; clean up.
  • 4:30 PM - High fives; nap!

What to Wear:

Business casual or professional attire is typical.  We ask judges to dress as they would for work, if appropriate.  Many judges who normally wear uniforms for work also wear them for judging.  Judges represent a wide swath of professions from the community and students find it interesting to see and interact with a wide variety of professionals.  Judges typically stand for 2-3 hours so be sure to wear comfortable shoes.  Masks are not required but you may wear one if desired.  Disposable masks will be available.


You will experience the joy and satisfaction of making kids' day.  Volunteering for EPSEF is a great way to honor your company's commitment to community service.  Snacks, beverages, and pizza will be provided to all judges and volunteers.  An on-site bakery/restaurant is also available.

Ready to Volunteer?

Click HERE to register online.  Thank you!

Still Have Questions?

Contact Mr. Shane Price, Fair Director, at d.price@k12.wv.us.
-- Updated February 4, 2024 SP