Victoria acting as judge in the Big Bang North West
Victoria, a STEM Ambassador and member of the Centre for Proteome Research, has completed another year as judge in the North West heat of the Big Bang Competition Victoria has been a judge for four years, and has been acting as a head science judge for the last two.
What’s involved? Judge are allocated a judging partner and about five projects to asses in the morning being given about 20min to speak to each group/individual. The score is based on criteria such a planning, method design, analysis of results, whether the project is the students own idea, and how well it is presented.
There’s quite a lot of pressure on judges – the students have worked so hard over the last academic year on their projects and assessment in just 20 minutes is a big responsibility!
Students dedicate their spare time to produce a project – sometimes individuals, mostly teams. There are juniors, intermediates and seniors categories so there is quite an age span. As with all competitions there is a range in the standard of projects but every single student or group puts in a lot of hard work. Victoria comments “It’s wonderful to see how proud they are of their work. Some students can be nervous to begin with but in the end they’re all so eager to tell you all about what they have achieved”.
After the morning judging session, the head judges review the scores for the science projects from the morning, and select projects for the shortlist for the nationals. A smaller team of head judges and moderators then meets the students again to review the shortlisted projects before selecting those that will be put forward for the national final. A project is nominated for the Endeavour prize which recognizes exceptional hard work, determination and enthusiasm from a student or team.
Victoria says “The Endeavour prize is actually my favourite bit. Considering that science isn’t always about getting the perfect results it’s brilliant to be able to recognise a student or students who have really put their heart and soul into a project”.