Awards at the California State Science Fair are distinguished as either Fair Awards, which are determined by judges working for the Fair itself, or Special & Recognition Awards, which are presented by organizations external to the Fair in additional recognition of student achievements.
Special and Recognition Awards are presented by various professional scientific and engineering associations, businesses, volunteer groups, and private individuals in recognition of outstanding achievement through science fair projects. Judging for the awards is done by the presenting organizations themselves, and is entirely separate from the judging for category awards and all other awards presented by the Fair which are listed above.
In recent Fairs Special Awards have been presented by the American Chemical Society; the American Heart Association; Dr. Arnold O. and Mabel Beckman; California 4-H; the California Energy Commission; California Fuel Cell Partnership; California Sea Grant; California Shore and Beach Preservation Association; the Cardinal & Gold Award of Excellence; Chemical Waste Management; Institute for the Advancement of Engineering; Edwards Lifesciences; Five Star Legal and Wells Fargo; Hefni Technical Training Foundation; Sheila Kar Health Foundation; Lucky Stores; Los Angeles County Department of Public Works; California Disposal Association; Walmart; MLIM; MUSES of the California Science Center; the Neurology Award; Center for Plant Cell Biology at the University of California, Riverside; Rotary Club of Los Angeles; the Silicon Boule Award; SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering; Tau Beta Pi Engineering Association; the University of Southern California; and Zaca, Inc.
Recognition Awards at recent Fairs have been presented by the American Chemical Society; American Heart Association; American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (Orange County and Los Angeles County sections); American Vacuum Society; Association for Women Geoscientists; Bone Clones, Inc.; California Association of Professional Scientists; California Council of Geoscience Organizations; California Energy Commission; California Energy & Environmental Education Forum; California Environmental Health Association; California Native Plant Society; California Shore and Beach Preservation Association; California Science Center Volunteer Groups: Docents, MOSAIC, and MUSES; Center for Scalable and Integrated Manufacturing (SINAM); Health Physics Society; Institute for the Advancement of Engineering; NASA/JPL; Los Angeles Council for Scientists and Engineers; Santa Monica College; Science Buddies; the Sierra Club; Society of Petroleum Engineers; Southern California Chapter of the Health Physics Society; SPIE, the International Society for Optical Engineering; Stockholm Junior Water Prize; Tau Beta Pi Engineering Association; the Tom Reside Memorial Award; TRW; University of California, Irvine, Dept. of Earth System Science; UCLA Earth & Space Sciences Faculty; the University of Southern California; and the US Fish & Wildlife Service.