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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 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.

Intended Audience

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.

Date and Location

The workshop will take place at the University of Waterloo campus from Sunday, May 12 to Friday, May 17, 2024.

Applications and Selection Process

  • Fill out the SPARCS online application form by clicking here. Applicants are expected to write a short essay about why they should be selected for the program. (it’s okay to brag a bit!) Interested students should apply by Friday, February 16, 2024.
  • You would need a teacher to fill out an online reference for you.
  • Based on these submissions, the CEMC will contact you about your selection by Friday, March 8, 2024. If you are selected, you will be required to fill out a detailed registration form with more information about logistics and pay the fees to be able to attend the workshop.


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.

*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. 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.