Special Awards

The Special Awards Program is an integral part of the Science and Engineering Fair of Houston (SEFH) that allows organizations, businesses, and individuals to support STEM education by rewarding and interacting with SEFH participants in specialized areas of interest to the sponsoring organization, business, or individual.

Special Awards supplement the Place Awards program by allowing more participation of professionals, scientists, and engineers and by rewarding more students for their outstanding STEM endeavors. Awards may include cash, savings bonds, memberships, subscriptions scientific equipment, computers, internships, etc.

SEFH, which stresses inquiry-based STEM education, is the culmination of STEM fair participation starting in the individual schools and home schools, moving through District/School Science Fairs, and on to SEFH. Outstanding middle and high school students from SEFH are then sponsored to compete at the Texas State Science and Engineering Fair, and the International Science & Engineering Fair.

The goal of the Special Awards Program, in addition to rewarding students for great work in expanding their interests in STEM, is to provide peer interaction with professionals, scientists, and engineers, to peak student interest in STEM fields in which they may not have been aware of and to provide a bridge to further interaction between STEM professional and students.

Participation in the Special Awards Program is determined by the individual professional organization, business, or individual and is coordinated through SEFH. The Special Awards Program is a simple process. Once the organization has decided to participate, they provide an award(s), identify judges to interview the students, and present the award(s) at the Awards Ceremony.

The advantages of sponsoring organizations are many:

  1. to support science education in the Houston Region;
  2. to support individual STEM students in their STEM endeavors;
  3. to interact with the top STEM students in the city and region on a peer-to-peer level;
  4. to offer advice and help students within their STEM areas of expertise;
  5. to invite students to further explore the organization’s area of STEM; and
  6. to invite the winning students to an organizational event.

Through your participation in the Special Awards Program, we can assure you that you will be awed by the science and engineering that these students are producing and will be encouraged to know that quality STEM education is alive and well in the country.

General Information

Each year more than 50 professional organizations, representing government, industry, and education across a wide variety of scientific disciplines, affiliate with SEFH as Special Award Sponsors to provide awards from their respective organizations to the nearly 1000 students attending SEFH.

Special Award Agency (SAA) recruits its own judges to choose the winners of their awards. Please note that a judge cannot serve as both a special award judge and a grand award judge.

We recommend that each Special Award Organization provide a minimum of 3 judges, although the number of judges per organization varies with the scope of the awards to be given and the number of Finalists to be interviewed. Coordinators of Special Awards should keep in mind that judging at SEFH takes place over a relatively short period and a sufficient number of judges will make selecting winners a less arduous task.

Special Award Judges receive criteria and coordination instruction through the organization they are representing and its designated judging team leader. This team leader is responsible for establishing the final assignments of their judges.

New for 2024

The fair and awards ceremony will take place on the same day – Judging in the afternoon followed by the awards ceremony in the evening.

Signup to be a Special Awarding Agency

Special Awarding Agency registration is now open!

Registration Process

STEP 1: Agency Registration

STEP 2: Judge Registration

If you are the Lead Judge or agency coordinator and cannot locate the registration link for Special Award Judges, please get in touch with the SEFH office at info@sefhouston.org.

Special Awards Judge Training

SEFH will offer an online training for all SAA Judges and cover the following:

  1. an introduction to the judging process
  2. project abstract database
  3. event day logistics
  4. q&a

Training Date
Monday, February 12th, 7:00 – 8:00 PM

Special Awarding Agencies

SAA List 2023:

  1. Alumni Club of MIT
  2. American Industrial Hygiene Association
  3. American Society of Indian Engineers and Architects
  4. American Society of Mechanical Engineers
  5. Automation – International Society of Automation – Houston Section
  6. AWWA & WEAT – American Water Works Association and Water Environment Association of Texas
  8. Consumer Energy Education Foundation
  9. ECH-Engineers Council of Houston
  10. Geophysical Society of Houston
  11. Harris County Medical Society and Houston Academy of Medicine
  12. Houston Christian University
  13. Houston Geological Society
  14. Houston Intellectual Property Law Association
  15. iYar Fine Arts
  16. Jacobs
  17. Kids Lives Matter
  18. Kiewit
  19. Krishen Foundation for Arts and Sciences
  20. Lemelson Early Inventor Prize
  21. National Geographic Society
  22. North Houston Space Society
  23. Regeneron Biomedical Science Award
  24. SAME Houston-Galveston Post
  25. Sigma Xi – Rice TMC Chapter
  26. Society of American Military Engineers Houston/Galveston Post
  27. Society of Petroleum Engineers-Gulf Coast Section
  28. Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers
  29. Society of Petroleum Engineers – Gulf Coast Section
  30. Society of Women Engineers – Houston Chapter
  31. South Texas Section of American Institute of Chemical Engineers
  32. Space Center Houston
  33. The DiIorio Foundation
  34. TexITE Houston Area Section
  35. U. S. Coast Guard (Houston Area)
  36. University of Houston, College of Medicine
  37. University of Houston, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
  38. Smiti Gandhi Research Star Award
  39. Peggy Levy Creative Excellence Award
  40. Science and Engineering Fair of Houston – Poster Design Contest
  41. Science and Engineering Fair of Houston – Science and Art Award
  42. Science and Engineering Fair of Houston – Science and Sports Award
  43. Science and Engineering Fair of Houston – The Girls Cyber Award
  44. Science and Engineering Fair of Houston – Writing Contest
  45. Science and Engineering Fair of Houston – The Legacy Award
  46. Science and Engineering Fair of Houston – Science Fair Scholars

SAA List 2019-2021:


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