Catalyst Conference

girls posing for camera and soldering

Are you a grade 11 girl or non-binary student who is curious about engineering? Want to see what university is like?

The conference is an exciting opportunity for grade 11 girls and non-binary students to participate in hands-on workshops, explore the University of Waterloo, meet engineering students, compete in a design competition, and experience life in residence!

Even though I planned on going into engineering, Catalyst helped me to stop second guessing myself about my future.

-Conference Participant

The 2024 Catalyst Conference will run on April 27th-28th. We have reached capacity for this event. If you would like to be added to the waitlist in case of cancellations, please email

What to Expect

Conference participants will have a full schedule of engineering challenges, workshops, and social activities.

Participants at a workshop

Workshops: Explore the unique world of engineering through workshops presented by some amazing engineers in Waterloo. Through these workshops, you will discover the variety of engineering careers, some amazing things engineers do and learn about what your life as an engineer could be like. 

Design challenge: After learning about what engineers do you will get the chance to be an engineer for a day by competing in a design challenge!

You will be given a task to complete and receive a crash course in the engineering design cycle. Using your newly acquired knowledge, you will design and engineer a device to complete the task.

Residence Life: During the conference, you will be staying in a university residence. This will give you a taste of what living in residence is like by staying in the rooms and eating in the cafeteria. You can also chat with current engineering undergraduate students about tips for living in residence!

If your application is accepted, you will receive an information package with further details including a packing list and pick-up/drop-off times. 


Thanks to our generous sponsors, Catalyst Conference will be free for accepted participants in 2024.


We have reached capacity for this event. To be added to the waitlist in case of cancellations, please email

To be considered, your application must include:

  • Waterloo Catalyst Conference Information Form
  • A Personal Interest Application

For this program, acceptance is based on rolling admissions. It is best to get your application in as soon as possible so it can be considered early on.


Applications are open for Volunteer Opportunities for the Catalyst Grade 11 Conference taking place in person this year from Saturday, April 27th to Sunday, April 28th 2024.

Volunteer Opportunity: We need your assistance with social activities, workshops, design challenges and conference support during the 2-day conference. You can choose your hours, get free meals and be a part of an awesome crew of women-identifying undergraduate students that want to inspire the next generation of girls looking to apply to engineering!

About the Conference:

The Catalyst Girls Conference is an exciting opportunity for Grade 11 girls and non-binary students to explore the unique world of engineering! Students will get the opportunity to participate in hands-on workshops, explore the University of Waterloo campus, meet current undergrad students, learn about engineering program admissions, compete in a design competition and meet other like-minded girls! Participants are invited to stay in a university residence for the duration of the conference. This will give them a taste of what living in residence is like by lodging in the rooms and eating in the cafeteria.

Please note that this volunteer opportunity requires you to be in-person at the University of Waterloo.