Why I judged at the HOSA International Leadership Conference, and you should too!

By Denise Bodart, Realityworks RealCare Product Manager

Have you ever considered volunteering to be a judge at the HOSA International Leadership Conference (ILC) for the student competitions? I signed up to judge this year and am so glad I did!

This year 14,000 people attended the conference, of which 10,000 were students. 7,400 of these students participated in one of the student competitions. Hundreds of volunteer judges are needed each year at the HOSA ILC. I received an email invitation to consider being a judge since Realityworks was signed up to be a vendor at the Expo. I thought it would be an interesting new way to engage with the students and learn more about what they do, so I decided to sign-up.

During the sign-up process, I was able to choose a preferred category for judging. A month before the conference I received an email with information to read about the judging process along with a video to watch to help prepare me for the experience.

On the day of the competition the judges in our category attended an orientation dinner and more information was shared on exactly what to expect. Each room had two judges, a timer and a facilitator. We were prepared to judge for a 4-hour stint with no scheduled breaks. Each student in our category chose their own topics and did a 6-minute presentation on a lesson they prepared on a health-related topic. The score was based on the presentation and on the written portfolio that students prepared.

Over the course of the night we learned about safe sex, personal hygiene, dental health, how to safely dispose of medication for older adults, the importance of safety goggles, skin cancer and much more. The target audience for these educational initiatives ranged from 3 to 90.  It was obvious from the presentations that many hours and months of planning and preparation went into the student projects. In short, the experience was very positive.

I’d like to encourage anyone who has considered volunteering for judging at the HOSA ILC to give it a try. These students represent the best and brightest future health care workers. It’s rewarding to see the efforts of their hard work and creativity.