Student Courses

The Catalyst Conference

A Global Capstone Experience

The Catalyst Conference is a an online exhibition featuring student projects from around the world.

Showcase Student Work

Does your class have a capstone research or social action project that runs in January to May? Are you seeking a global audience for your students’ projects? Do you want to connect students to peers around the world? Bring the Catalyst Conference capstone project to your school.


Students in this 5-day online conference use Wordpress to create exhibition spaces for their work, their ideas, their voices and their actions. The conference is rooted in the idea that social action and advocacy can accelerate and inspire student learning in the academic disciplines while helping them become change agents in their communities.

Read about last year's conference award winners and see their projects.

In 2018, more than 430 students representing 64 different schools in 11 countries presented at the conference. Students exhibitions at the conference were the culmination of projects from some of the following courses: 10th Grade History, Psychology, Journalism, Gender Studies, Comparative Politics, Medical Problem Solving, Bioethics, Music Theory & Digital Composition, Game Theory, Economics, Architecture, Computer Science and many many more!

GOA will provide sample 10-week and 5-week timelines for integrating the project into your course and videoconference support for teachers along the way! During the conference, a panel of judges will use these rubrics to choose conference winners.

Focus on Sustainable Development Goals

In 2019, students will tag their projects with one or more of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This will allow them to easily find likeminded peers and explore projects on issues they care about. We look forward to organizing synchronous and asynchronous panel discussions around some of these topics.

This conference is a capstone experience designed to enhance the learning of any class, club, or individual student who is working on a project that considers how we might use what we learn to catalyze change in the broader world. Some teachers have linked this project to a traditional research project, while others use it as a way to create an audience for exhibitions of more community-service oriented projects. The framework of the conference is suitable for students from grade 7-12 (at least 13 years of age).

Register Today!

2019 Keynote Speakers

GOA is thrilled to announce that filmmaker Mackie Mallison and author and advocate Chessy Prout will be our 2019 Catalyst Conference keynote speakers.

Filmmaker, artist and storyteller Mackie Mallison creates to share the truths of ourselves and the world in which we live in. In addressing divisive topics through his work, Mackie hopes to deconstruct this division through understanding. Much of the work that Mackie creates is driven with the intent of further emphasizing that we are all different. These differences are what make us us. We should not be persecuted for these differences; they should be celebrated. However, marginalization is and always has been ever-present in this world. We all have the power to dismantle it.

Chessy Prout is a high school sexual assault survivor, advocate, and author of the memoir I Have The Right To: A High School Survivor’s Story of Sexual Assault, Justice and Hope. Since stepping forward publicly in 2016, Chessy has launched the #IHaveTheRightTo campaign and has spoken internationally on the topics of consent education in K-12 schools, rape culture, and encourages survivors and others to assert their most important, basic rights. In 2018 Chessy co-founded the non-profit I Have The Right To, based in Washington D.C., which encourages students and their families to know their rights surrounding sexual assault in middle and high school. Chessy is currently a student at Barnard College.

Catalyst Conference FAQ's

How many students can I enroll in the Catalyst Conference?

There is no limit on the number of students one teacher or school can enroll in the conference.

Is there a cost to participate?

Students from GOA member schools can join the Catalyst Conference for free. For non-member schools, there is a $25/student enrollment fee.

What kinds of student projects are included?

One of the benefits of an online conference is it can showcase a wide variety of student work. The one parameter is that the project must lend itself to an engaging multimedia presentation on the conference site. To see some examples, read about our 2018 conference award winners.

What are the expectations of conference presenters?

All students will design their own conference pages. In addition, they will be expected to participate in a brief asynchronous discussion with peers working on the same Sustainable Development Goal. Beyond those expectations, we invite teachers and students to be active conference visitors, viewing other pages, leaving comments and ideas, and sharing projects they love via social media.

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