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Volunteer to judge!
Alaska Airlines Imagine Tomorrow judges are industry leaders, policy makers, and distinguished faculty, all of whom volunteer their time to help students learn as much as possible from the competition—and to select the winners. Past student participants have told us that interacting with judges is a highlight of their competition experience, and past judges have expressed their appreciation for students’ enthusiasm and ingenuity. Each judge evaluates teams within a single challenge category.
Judges evaluate assigned projects on five dimensions outlined in the Judging Criteria. For each of the five dimensions, the judge assigns 0–5 points depending on how well, in the judge’s opinion, the project meets the standards of that dimension. After scoring each dimension, the judge adds up the points, and that sum is the project’s total score. The total score can range from 0 to 25.
In addition to talking with student teams, judges will spend an hour viewing projects without contestants or advisors present.
Judges enter their scores into one of the computers at the judging station. From there, these scores go into a central database. The project with the highest total is declared the winner of the challenge; the project with the second-highest total wins second place; and the project with the third-highest total receives honorable mention. In the event of a tie, the team with the greatest number of higher scored votes will win.
In order to win, a project must not only be viewed as having high enough quality to merit a ranking, it must be considered so by a large number of the judges. A project that just a few judges really like will not place. The directors of judging know only the booth numbers of the projects.
Specialty award winners are determined by recommendations from the judges. Each judge nominates projects for each specialty award. The winner in each category is the project that receives the greatest number of nominations.