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Seeing Possibilities and Rewards in Computer Science (SPARCS)

CS Girls Rock!

SPARCS is a unique opportunity designed to ignite enthusiasm for computer science among young women and people of other gender identities under-represented in STEM.* Designed for Grade 9 and 10 students with little to no exposure to computer science, this workshop brings participants together from across Canada to explore the field and grow their skills with fun, hands-on activities. Participants learn that computer science is about much more than using and programming computers.

Read what past participants have to say about SPARCS

Intended Audience

We welcome young women or people of another gender identity under-represented in computer science* to apply. 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.


Due to ongoing uncertainties surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, a modified version of this workshop will be held virtually on Zoom from Sunday, June 5 – Wednesday, June 8, 2022. Each day will consist of two, hour-long sessions. Participating students are expected to attend all session and event times listed for the workshop.

Tentative Schedule – all times are Eastern Daylight Savings Time (i.e. time in Waterloo, ON)

Times Sunday Monday Tuedays Wednesday
1:30 – 2:30 p.m. Introduction & Icebreaker      
4:30 – 5:30 p.m. Programming
Session 1
Session 2
Session 3
Session 4
7:30 – 8:30 p.m.   Computer Science Grad Student Panel CS Talk Human / Computer Interaction STEM Talk

There is no application fee for SPARCS Lite.

How to Apply

Applications can be submitted here and will be open from Friday, May 6, 2022, to Friday, May 20, 2022, at 4:00 p.m. EDT. A math, science or computing teacher must also complete an online reference on the student’s behalf. Participants will be selected at random using a lottery system.

*Why This Audience?

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. Recent statistics on gender diversity in mathematics shows that women are under-represented in the field. Following the lead of the University of Waterloo, the CEMC encourages all people with gender identities under-represented in mathematics and computer science 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.