STEM Talks

The #LEADLIKEAGIRL conference will include TEDx-style STEM Talks about exciting scientific research or projects presented by young women in high school.

  • Presentation should be of original scientific work or research from the past year
  • Talks should be 5–8 minutes in length
  • Although not affiliated with Intel ISEF, we take research seriously and expect research to conform to the Intel ISEF Rules.
  • Each STEM Talk may have up to two student contributors that may co-present their research.

$5,000 will be awarded for STEM Talks!



Criteria for Evaluating STEM Talks

Scientific Thought

Selection and statement of the problem, experimental validity and value, scope of design. The ultimate aim of science research is to promote new knowledge and understanding of the world in which we live. From reading and observation one comes up with a basic concept. This idea permits formulation of a meaningful question or hypothesis to which an answer may be found through a suitably designed experiment.

Thus judging the “scientific thought” criterion involves consideration of such questions as:

  • Does the student exhibit sufficient background understanding of the principles and concepts involved in the topic?
  • Is there a significant basic thought in the project? Is it clearly stated?
  • Does it admit formulation of an age-appropriate meaningful question?
  • Is the scope of the problem sufficiently limited to permit a meaningful experiment?
  • Is there a single, formal hypothesis?

Experimental Methods

Choosing/developing techniques for valid analysis. Use of original materials or using old materials in an original way. Proper controls and sample size. This criterion refers to the details of a well-designed experimental procedure intended to answer the question posed. The project may require designing, building and using material hardware. The presenter must design and carry out his/her own experiment.

  • Is the project well designed for the problem at hand?
  • Is the experiment basically sound, with sufficient sample size and control of variables? Did the experiment have both a control group and experimental group(s)?
  • Does the procedure follow a logical sequence?
  • Have any original or ingenious materials or methods been used?
  • Were results measurable/quantifiable and done in metric?

Analytical Approach

Ability to draw valid conclusions. Full use of data and findings. Interpretations of weakness of design. Suggestions for further research. Book reports and research theories unsupported by practical data cannot achieve success because of this criterion. The student must have personally accumulated some actual data to analyze, even if the trend is negative or neutral to his hypothesis. The critical thing for a student to exhibit to judges is that they knows what the data MEANS.

  • Is the body of data sufficient to draw valid conclusions?
  • Do the conclusions refer back to the original question or hypothesis?
  • Is the student grouping the data properly to enable comparisons between groups? Is the data fully used to draw conclusions?
  • Is he evaluating the significance of his own data properly?
  • Has the student thought about how his experiment could be improved if it were to be repeated? Is he aware of sources of error?
  • Is the student able to make suggestions for further researches related to his topic or perhaps see a practical application of his findings to the real world?


Ability to convey the information gained to others. To demonstrate new and improved ways of expressing and communicating scientific ideas. The presentation should, preferably, be in the form of a free talk employing good oral communication skills. The time restrictions necessitate planning and rehearsal. The critical question is “When the student is finished do you understand exactly what he did and why?”

  • Does the talk cover all the essentials of the project - the basic premises, the hypothesis or problem, the experimental methods, the data, and the conclusions?
  • Is the talk well-organized and flowing in a logical pattern?
  • Do the visual aids enhance the audience's understanding?

New Panel


Ms. Alicia Testa
STEM/SIFE Coordinator
Stuart Country Day School



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#LEADLIKEAGIRL® is presented by:

The National Center for Girls' Leadership at Stuart

Special thanks to The Harris B. Siegel Fund and our sponsors.