Giving Back: Opportunity to Judge the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair!

The Long Island Science and Engineering Fair (LISEF) NEEDS volunteers for judges! You, as a grad student, are the perfect fit to volunteer!
LISEF is a short, 2-day event taking place on Wednesday, February 5th, 2020 (Day 1) and Thursday, March 12th, 2020 (Day 2). Day 1 requires approximately 40-45 more judges to run effectively. Please consider signing up at If you have registered for Day 2 and think you may be able to help on Day 1 as well, please edit your current registration, or contact to edit your registration preferences. For anyone having difficulty with the new registration process, please use this helpful tutorial:
If you need some evidence of how great volunteering is (or even if you don’t), read these experiences of being a 2019 LISEF Judge by your fellow graduate students!

Danielle Cervasio, 3rd Year Ph.D. Student, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology
“I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to help select some of the best and brightest researchers from a group of young scientists who all show so much promise. Saying that I was “blown away” by these students’ excitement, poise, and intelligence is an understatement. It was so refreshing to discuss different parts of students’ research while using that discussion as a chance to give them small tips for improvement. I would highly recommend volunteering as a LISEF judge if you are interested in both supporting the progress of students and listening to and challenging some great young minds.”
You can also follow more of Danielle’s experiences as a grad student on her blog or on Twitter and IG as @phdcervs

Erika Deppenschmidt, 3rd Year Ph.D. Student, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology
“LISEF is a way to allow young scientists in their formative years of high school to dive into a science topic and study it and then present their data/conclusions to a multitude of judges and peers. This fair allows us, as graduate students, to explore our own realms more deeply, but also try to understand the science represented in other categories. For instance, even though I am a Ph.D. student in the MCP program here at Stony Brook, I judged posters and context from chemistry, earth sciences and engineering at the 2019 LISEF. It’s a well rounded competition that is friendly in nature while honing in on the growth of the individual scientists and their hard work and dedication to their projects, as well as their scientific communication. Interestingly, being a LISEF judge also humbled me as a researcher, because these kids are doing amazing things at such a young age! Not only did my volunteering to be a judge at LISEF help me, as a person and scientist, but it also provided  insight and a sense of tangibility to the researchers presenting their science to me as I watched them realize that one day soon they will get to be in my shoes doing the same thing I was for them. There’s a sense of wholesomeness in “paying it forward” and all of us in science know how a little can go a long way. These are just some of the reasons I think being a judge at LISEF is important!”
You can also follow more of Erika’s experiences as a grad student on Instagram as @somegirlerika

Erika Deppenschmidt (left), Danielle Cervasio (right)

Noele Certain, 3rd Year Ph.D. Student, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology
As a scientist, I truly enjoy giving each student the spotlight to share their passion. These students have spent their time and energy working to develop experiments, collect and analyze data, and draw conclusions. The LISEF fair provides a rare opportunity for students to communicate their science. When I am a judge, I hope to inspire these students to follow a career in STEM, but also to help them develop communication skills and boost their confidence as young thinkers. Being a LISEF judge is a moment to give back to my community and enhance student perceptions of scientists.”
You can also follow more of Noele’s experiences as a grad student on Twitter @NoeleCertain

Lara Tshering, 2nd Year Ph.D. Student, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology
“Being a judge at LISEF was one of my most memorable experiences in 2019, as I thoroughly enjoyed engaging with the next generation of scientists about all their hard work. Because I grew up without access to these kinds of experiences, it was really refreshing and uplifting to see how many young people are so dedicated and interested in science –– something that participation in LISEF (and for the winners, the International Science and Engineering Fair) will continue to foster in these students. Additionally, communicating our science is a skill that will be increasingly important for us scientists; engaging with the students at LISEF not only helps them begin to foster that skill, but also helps us as grad students. It was a great experience and if you have the opportunity to participate this year, I say: do it!”
You can also follow more of Lara’s experiences as a grad student on Twitter @laratshering

Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology (MCP) Ph.D. Students Judging at LISEF 2019

P.S. If you are an SBU grad student judging at LISEF and would like to have your experience posted on the blog, send us an email at

P.P.S. We are also open to other experiences and posts for the blog, if you’re an SBU grad student and have something to say that you think would fit with our blog, send us an email at


Author: sbugwise

We are the Graduate Women in Science and Engineering group at Stony Brook University and we are dedicated to supporting women in STEM fields.

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