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SPARCS is a unique opportunity designed to ignite enthusiasm for computer science among people of gender identities under-represented in computer science.* Designed for Grade 9 and 10 students with little to no exposure to computer science, this workshop brings participants together from across Canada. Participants learn that computer science is about much more than using and programming computers.
This week-long immersive workshop will be held at the University of Waterloo and participants will have the opportunity to learn through lectures, labs, and hands-on activities that typically investigate ideas demonstrating the breadth of computer science. Sessions may include introductions to cryptography, Bioinformatics, quantum computing, graphics, human-computer interaction and hardware. All sessions are led by university professors and graduate students.
This workshop is for people with gender identities under-represented in computer science including young women, non-binary and trans folk. Applicants must be in Grade 9 or 10, have an interest in mathematics, and must currently attend a Canadian high school or middle school. Participants should not have attended a similar workshop.
The workshop will take place at the University of Waterloo campus from Sunday, May 12 to Friday, May 17, 2024.
There is a $250 registration fee to be paid after invited applicants have received their confirmation package which includes accommodation, meals, airfare and other expenses; there is no fee to apply for the workshop. Financial support to cover the cost of the workshop for selected applicants may be arranged for students in need.
Mathematics and computer science are powerful tools, and diversity among mathematicians and computer scientists increases the potential for positive impact. One of the initiatives of the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing is to encourage better gender diversity in the field of mathematics and computer science. The CEMC encourages all people with gender identities under-represented in mathematics and computer science including women, non-binary and trans folk to apply to and participate in all of our events. We endeavour to make our events and accommodations welcoming to people of all gender identities in attendance.
For more information, please contact our Events Team.
Answer: The CEMC organises flight travel for participants and pays for the flights. Transport to the airport in the participant’s home city is not covered in this cost. We will arrange for students to be picked up from the airport and transported to the University campus. The CEMC does not pay for any mileage for cars, for example when participants are being driven to the workshop.
Answer: That is the participant’s choice. The CEMC covers only the participant’s airfare. We can facilitate a chaperone’s booking to make sure they are on the same flight and sitting with the participant, but the chaperone must pay for their airfare and other expenses.
Answer: The workshop participants will live at United College, one of the university’s residences. There will be a few university students who will also live in residence and will act as chaperones.
Address: United College
University of Waterloo
190 Westmount Rd. N.
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G5
The toilet and shower stalls in the residence give full privacy with floor to ceiling walls and lockable doors. Each shower stall has a private area to change and leave personal items behind a locked door before entering the shower. There is also a common sink area. Given such a layout, our default plan is that these facilities will be available to individuals of all gender identities. However, depending on the needs of the attendees, we may limit some facilities and areas of the residence to a particular gender identity.
Most participants will have a roommate. The roommate experience is intended to be one of the positive aspects of our workshop. Our plan is to assign you a roommate with a gender identity that matches yours unless you indicate differently. We also understand that sharing a room may create other stresses and these stresses may outweigh the benefits of the roommate experience. We will have a limited number of single rooms and will do our best to support any concerns you may have about the accommodations. Please contact us if you have any questions.
Answer: There will be a few university students known as houseparents who will also live in residence and will act as chaperones for participants of the workshop.
Answer: Participants must attend the entire workshop. There are many more applicants than participants so it is not fair to take a spot away from someone who would benefit from the entire experience. The first official session starts on Sunday evening. Students should arrive no later than Sunday evening. The last official session ends on Friday afternoon. There will be a banquet for students and their guests on Friday evening after which they can leave to go home.