Welcome STARR Grant Reviewers

Read the instructions below before beginning your reviews. 

Thank you for agreeing to review IJAS research proposals. IJAS encourages middle and high school students to learn about science by doing science and communicating their work through writing and making oral and poster presentations to Iowa scientists, science educators and their peers. The culmination of their work is attending the IAS Annual Meeting in April to present their work and participate in a professional meeting.

Students submit a proposal for either STARR Grant Funding or a Starr Grant Request for Feedback Only. Students requesting funding receive feedback and, if successful, up to $200 toward project expenses. Feedback only proposals receive reviewer comments and suggestions but are not considered for funding. Reviewers do not determine funding but your reviews are used by the Student Programs Committee to make funding decisions.

The Role of Reviewers

Reviewers are essential to the program. Reviewers read and evaluate proposals and provide feedback to the students. Sections 1 through 5 below have the information reviewers need to review the proposals. Be sure to consider the grade of the students when you reviewing the proposals. Comments should be encouraging and positive when pointing out deficiencies. Reviewers do not determine funding but your reviews are used by the Student Programs Committee to make funding decisions.


What's on this Page

  • Sections 1, 2, and 3: Helpful information for reviewers! Read these sections before reviewing to become familiar with the IAS review process. If you have questions please contact the Chair of the Student Programs Committee, the IAS office staff, or the Executive Director. Contact information is provided in your introductory email. 
  • Sections 4 and 5: Download your proposals and submit your reviews online. 

The students are not expected to conduct original research although experienced students may make new discoveries. Our goal is for students to learn the research process and improve their planning, writing, and communication skills.

Students are expected to participate at a regional science fair and/or the State Science and Technology Fair and are automatically invited to present at the Iowa Junior Academy of Science Science Symposium at the IAS Annual Meeting.


Sections 1, 2, & 3:
The Review Process


Section 1: About the Review Process

Reviewer comments play an important role in student perceptions of science and scientists. Your comments are an opportunity to improve their understanding of science. In most cases the students are waiting to hear back from reviewers before starting their projects. Helpful suggestions are highly valued and appreciated! Whether they go on to become research scientists or choose a career unrelated to science their impressions will last a lifetime. 

When reviewing proposals please remember they are submitted by middle and high school students. It is important to provide encouraging comments related to the design and implementation of the project, use of equipment, budget, and writing. Adding other comments about the scientific process is important. Students are required to include safety forms for projects that involve human subjects, vertebrate animals, or hazardous/dangerous chemicals, biological samples or other substances. Please check for these forms.

Your scoring and comments guide the Student Programs Committee. The committee will review the proposals taking into account reviewer scoring and comments to determine the final funding levels. Total funding is based on the funds available, the number of qualified proposals, and the requests for funding. 

For each proposal the IAS office staff will combine all comments and scoring into one document and provide it to each student. Students may receive their average grant proposal score but will not receive individual scores. Reviewer comments and scoring are anonymous. Comments by reviewers meant for the committee are not shared with students. 

Keep in mind that the Academy does not require student science projects to make discoveries that are new to science. It is appropriate to point out that a student is 'discovering' something that is known by experts in that field with a comment such as: "Other scientists have been intrigued by this very question. In fact, I think if you search the web for <keywordA> and <keywordB> you will find the results of projects similar to your own. Are your results the same as theirs? Why or why not?"

If you have questions please contact the Chair of the Student Programs Committee or the Academy staff. Thank you again for agreeing to review the proposals. We hope you enjoy the experience. If you have suggestions for us please contact the IAS office.


Section 2: Student Instructions

Reviewers will find it helpful to read what is expected of students submitting STARR Research Proposals. Students are provided the following information before submitting their proposals.


Section 3: Evaluation

There are 2 evaluation forms - Request for Funding and Feedback Only.

Request for Funding forms include a budget section. Feedback Only forms do not have a budget section - otherwise the forms are identical. Each proposal indicates whether it is a Request for Funding or Feedback Only.

The IAS staff uses the following convention to number proposals: proposals numbered 01 - 99 are Requests for Funding. Proposals numbered 101 or higher are Feedback Only. The forms are divided into sections as shown in the sample form below.

How to Use the Form

  • Each section of the form must be completed before opening the next section.
  • The entire form must be completed and submitted in one sitting - it cannot be saved and finished at a later time.
  • Open a new form for each proposal. 
  • If you close a form before clicking on 'SUBMIT' all entries are lost - you must start over.

The form uses a 5 star rating system from 1 to 5 stars. At the end of each section you have an opportunity to provide separate comments to the committee and the student(s). Comments to the students are very important and remain anonymous. The reviews are double blind - you will not know the student's name and they do not know yours. 

It is important that comments address methodology and are encouraging. Suggestions on how to improve their projects are very helpful. As a reviewer you represent science, scientists, and science education to the students. For many students it is their first experience with the science community outside of their school.  

When reviewing click on the left star for a 1 star (lowest) rating and the second star to the right for a two star rating, etc. Five stars is the highest rating. The IAS office staff will convert the stars to numerical ratings. Not all questions are weighted the same.

Sample Form

A 5 star rating is the highest score.

The "Feedback Only" Review Form does not include a Budget Section.

This sample form is for illustration only. When you use the actual form you only see the section you are working on. You will not be allowed to advance to the next section until the current section is completed. The form must be completed in one sitting. 


Conducting Your Review

Go to SECTION 4 below to download and read your assigned STARR Research Grant proposals. SECTION 5 provides links to the reviewer forms. There is a form for proposals "requesting funding" and a form for proposals requesting "review only." Proposals requesting funding must include a budget. Proposals requesting review only are not required to submit a budget. The review forms are interactive and must be filled out in one sitting. Forms cannot be saved to be finished later. Be sure to click on SUBMIT to forward your form to IAS.

Remember - proposals numbered 01 - 99 are requests for funding while proposals 101 and higher are requests for feedback only. Be sure to use the correct form.

Section 4: Download Starr Research Proposals

Proposals numbered SG - 1 through SG - 99 are requests for funding. Proposals numbered SG 101 and greater are for feedback only. Proposals may be read online or downloaded and printed. The proposals are for reviewers and members of the Student Programs Committee. Printed proposals must be destroyed after completing your review. Please keep all information confidential. The proposals are password protected.


Section 5: Fill out and Submit the Review Form

Hints for Filling out the Review Forms

  • Review forms are divided into sections.
  • Each section must be completed before advancing to the next.
  • Forms cannot be saved in progress and completed later.
  • Click the 'SUBMIT' button to complete and upload a form.
  • Open a new form for each proposal.
  • Screen grabs of the review form questions are found in Section 3 above.

Click on the appropriate button to open a review form.


Contact information for members of the Student Programs Committee

Board Liaison – To be Determined

Chair: De Anna Tibben, Ames High School

Member: (Exp 2018) Muhammad Spocter; Des Moines University, Muhammad.Spocter@dmu.edu
Member: (Exp 2018) Felicitas Avendano; Grand View University, favendano@grandview.edu
Member: (Exp 2019) Barbara Lemmer; Linn-Mar Community School District, blemmer@linnmar.k12.ias.us
Member: (Exp 2019) Mike Goudy; Oskaloosa Community School District, goudym@oskycsd.org
Member: (Exp 2020) Holly Showalter; Waukee High School, hshowalter@waukeeschools.org
Member: (Exp 2020) Rasika Mudalige-Jayawickrama; University of Dubuque, rmudalig@dbq.edu
Ex-officio, non-voting member: Kris Kilibarda, State Science Supervisor; IDOE Kris.Kilibarda@iowa.gov