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The Pilot: Engineering Applicant Challenge

The Pilot: Engineering Applicant Challenge

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Virtual event via Zoom. Registration is now closed.

Event Contact:

Natalia Kowalska -

This event is offered in partnership with Impactus Labs

Looking to make friends, earn scholarship dollars, and get immersed in the McMaster Engineering community, all before you graduate from high school?! The Pilot is a weekend-long innovation event for all prospective students to McMaster Engineering programs (Engineering, BTech, Computer Science, & iBioMed).


You will be guided through a bite-sized design project and learn about the core philosophies of McMaster Engineering: Innovation, Discovery, Design Thinking, and Experiential Education. Collaborate with other students, attend engineering design workshops, and gain guidance from current McMaster engineering students. All teams will compete for the chance to win a scholarship to McMaster University!

Design Challenge

The challenge is to redesign a portable classroom into an eco-friendly engineering design studio. More details upon registration. No experience necessary. All teams will receive everything they need to kickstart their engineering design journey!


Friday, April 23

6 - 7PM ET Intro Session Welcome to the program and introduction to the challenge.
7 - 9PM ET Social Event Explore virtual booths with representatives from McMaster Students Union, McMaster Engineering Society, Co-op and Career Services, Women in Engineering, and more!

Saturday, April 24

9 – 10 AM ET Workshop Crash course on the types of engineering, engineering design principles, and defining a need statement.
10 AM – 12 PM ET Project Time Dedicated project time.
12 – 1 PM ET Lunch Break & Panel Lunch break. Sit in on a panel with current McMaster Engineering students.
1 – 2 PM ET Workshop  Crash course on rapid prototyping and design communication.
2 - 5 PM ET  Project Time  Dedicated project time.
5 - 6 PM ET  Workshop  Crash course on sustainable design and social entrepreneurship.
6PM - onwards Independent Project Time   Teams are free to continue working on the design challenge.

Sunday, April 25

 9 - 10 AM ET Workshop  Receive feedback on your preliminary designs.
10 AM - 1 PM ET Project Time  Dedicated project time.
1 - 2 PM ET Lunch Break & Panel  Lunch break. Sit in on a lunch panel with current McMaster Engineering students. 
2 - 4 PM ET Closing Session  Judges will circulate between teams to ask questions. Winners are announced!


All prizes will be evenly distributed amongst teams of 5 students. The value of the prize will be distributed as a scholarship to McMaster University's Faculty of Engineering programs. 

  • Prize #1 ($10 000 CAD): Best overall design
  • Prize #2 ($5 000 CAD): Most sustainable design
  • Prize #3 ($5 000 CAD): Most innovative design

Maximum of one prize/scholarship per team.

Registration CLOSED

Registration is open from April 1 to April 19.  After you have registered, you will be instructed to fill out a questionnaire so that we can find out more about you. This questionnaire will include an optional section where you can indicate any preferred group members. 

Registration is open to future undergraduate program students with expected start dates of September 2021 or 2022. Grade 11, 12 and students currently on a gap year are welcome. 


Congrats to all challenge participants! Out of 40 high quality submissions, the results of 4 teams stood out from the rest. Find links below to the winning team's submissions. 

Prize #1 ($10 000 CAD): Best overall design

Prize #2 ($5 000 CAD): Most sustainable design

Prize #3 ($5 000 CAD): Most innovative design

We will be contacting winners within the next 2 days with further details!

If you participated in the event and have any questions or concerns, please email

Feel free to also submit anonymous feedback online here.