Every year, Imagine Cup relies on hundreds of volunteer judges from around the world. They evaluate projects in our global contests such as the Pitch Video Challenge and the World Semifinals. For this season, many of our judges have come from Microsoft’s Most Valuable Professional program which consists of leading technology experts from around the world. Through an application process we identify judges with the right experience and specialties to evaluate each of our contests. They don’t get paid for this work — but as many judges have told me, the chance to see the work of the best students in the world and to help them achieve their goals is all the payment they need.
For our climactic World Finals event, we start recruiting judges months in advance. Finding industry-leading professionals able to devote an entire week of their time to serve as a World Finals judge is a real challenge. But we aim high and every year we get an outstanding slate of people from business, academia, and nonprofits to step forward and give generously of their time for the benefit of our students.
This year’s judges include representatives from some great organizations, including the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Indiecade, the Gates Foundation, and Facebook. We’ve got a veteran technology reporter, Mary Jo Foley, joining us. And four judges from our 2013 World Finals in Russia have returned as well: Larry Hryb from Xbox LIVE, journalist and consultant Adam Sessler, human-computer design legend Bill Buxton, and Tetris creator Alexey Pajitnov. And of course our very special World Finals judges Satya Nadella (CEO of Microsoft), Hadi Partovi (founder of Code.org), and Erik Martin (GM of Reddit) will also be joining us.
We’ve compiled profiles of all our judges so you can get to know them. They’re an incredibly talented and diverse group of experts and we’re genuinely honored to welcome them to our event. The impact they’ll have on the lives of our World Finalist students will be amazing.
John Scott Tynes
Imagine Cup Program Lead
Microsoft Student Developers