My First Time as an iGEM Judge

by Jessica Tang on behalf of the Executive Judging Committee

Judges during a team presentation at the iGEM 2018 Giant Jamboree - iGEM Foundation and Justin Knight

Judges during a team presentation at the iGEM 2018 Giant Jamboree - iGEM Foundation and Justin Knight

Many of you may have seen me wandering around during the Jamboree in a judge hoodie and you may be thinking what is the role of an iGEM judge?

First of all, to become an iGEM judge I had to apply and be selected. Having a strong level of commitment is crucial to being an iGEM judge.

I made it! I was accepted as an IGEM judge! One of the first things I must do is familiarize myself with judging, and the Judging Handbook is an essential read.

As a judge, I must review the assigned wikis that the teams have worked on all summer (or more!) and it is good to have a feel of the projects before attending the Jamboree.

The first day I arrived at the Giant Jamboree at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, I felt like I was part of a large family and that I knew everyone.

The first evening, I went to an introductory meeting, so that all judges are educated with key issues in judging at the Jamboree.

The next morning, at the Opening Ceremony there was great excitement from all teams, and then judges went to their assigned team presentations and poster sessions.

Poster Session at the iGEM 2018 Giant Jamboree - iGEM Foundation and Justin Knight

Poster Session at the iGEM 2018 Giant Jamboree - iGEM Foundation and Justin Knight

Judges had plenty of time to mingle with the other judges in the Judge’s room as well as at the various events that are organized. One of the highlights of being a judge was attending the President’s Reception, which is by invitation only. I got to dress up, mingle, and have a drink with the other judges, staff at iGEM HQ, various committee members, as well as the President of iGEM!

On the evening before the Finalist presentations, judges had a “Voting Freeze,” just like teams have the Wiki Freeze. I had to cast all my votes to select the Finalists and award medals and Special Prizes. After that, the judges can relax and have fun!

At the Closing Ceremony with the Finalists presentations, all the judges sat in the front few rows.  There was an electric atmosphere as teams wondered whether they would be one of the Finalists, and when the Finalists were announced, they were ecstatic! There was one Final meeting after the presentations to vote for the winners.

Then, finally, it was the Awards Ceremony! The mood of the auditorium was hyper! All the judging was over and the judges as well as the teams were eager to know the results. The results were announced! There were many happy faces!

Can’t wait until the next Jamboree!


Are you interested in judging at the 2019 Giant Jamboree? Judge Applications are still open, so apply today and help us celebrate the achievements of our amazing teams this year! Click here to learn more.

iGEM BlogLinda Kahl