Full steam ahead ---- Local youth gain entry into prestigious national STEAM program
SHAD fosters future innovators and entrepreneurs
701 youth from coast to coast to join the prestigious SHAD network this July
For immediate release
June 8, 2016
WATERLOO, Ont. – 701 high achieving youth will be heading soon to Canadian university campuses to begin their SHAD journey, the unique and prestigious national program designed to help build Canada’s future leaders by unleashing the innovative and entrepreneurial potential of exceptional youth while still in high school.
At SHAD, which was founded in 1980, students are immersed in an intense one month program in July focused on STEAM: science, technology, engineering, arts and math. After the program, they become connected to a powerful network featuring some of the brightest young minds in the country including 30 Rhodes Scholars.
With Canada now focused more and more on youth innovation and entrepreneurship to help fuel the new economy, SHAD is where it all begins.
701 students -- the highest number in the history of SHAD -- will participate in the program which takes place at SHAD’s 12 host universities from coast to coast from July 3 to 29. The students interact directly with renowned university faculty and visionary corporate leaders.
“I think SHAD is one of Canada’s best kept secrets,” says Michele Romanow, a SHAD Fellow in 2003 who now stars on CBC’s Dragons’ Den and is a Director on SHAD’s Board. “I don’t believe I would be an entrepreneur (today) if I didn’t go to SHAD.”
The exceptional students in grades 10 to 12 accepted into SHAD are not only the top high academic achievers from all over the country. They compete for a coveted place at SHAD, demonstrating leadership skills, and a drive to make a difference in their community and beyond.
“SHAD has had an incredible track record as an incubator for fostering leaders in so many areas,” says Barry Bisson, SHAD President who also served as the first program director for SHAD UNB in the 1980’s. “At SHAD, these brilliant young minds come together from all over the country, are exposed to great ideas and become inspired as part of our network to find ways to make a difference now.”
In one of the more unique elements at SHAD, students are presented with a theme or challenge every summer which they learn at the beginning of the program. They collaborate in small groups using their different skills and expertise to devise an original product or service that addresses this real world, complex issue. In the process, they are taught how to build a business plan, marketing plan and a working prototype.
“The challenge the students face in one month simulates what they face later in the real world. And they leave the program all fired up about innovation and with an entrepreneurial spirit many never even knew they had,” Bisson says. He adds, “They have to stare down impossible odds and obstacles in one month, take risks, and in the process, start thinking about solving complex global issues.”
SHAD Fellows have called the program and working with other like-minded individuals while in high school transformational.
One SHAD Fellow was so inspired he came home and started a company in first year university to realign solar panels around the world. It is now in use in 130 different countries. Another came home and knocked on the doors of leading researchers of cystic fibrosis which helped him make a major discovery at only 17. Another worked on experiments in his basement to transform noise into electricity and now has a provisional patent.
“We want to help create change makers and global leaders for Canada in the 21st century.” Bisson says. He adds, “Not all students are adequately challenged in the school system and not all come from families that have the means to provide sufficient enrichment opportunities.”
Bisson adds in the past, Canadian business and government leaders invested in creating a support system in areas such as sport so Canadian athletes could make a global impact. And he feels Canada’s future prosperity requires the same kind of investment now in its best and brightest young minds.
“Without SHAD, our top youth are at risk of not developing their true potential and that is why our goal is to expose even more of our brightest students to join the SHAD network in the years to come.”
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SHAD (www.shad.ca) is a Canadian charitable non-profit organization that helps exceptional high school students recognize and envision their full potential as tomorrow’s leaders and change makers. Each year, the SHAD program provides the opportunity for about 700 students from across Canada and internationally to attend a transformational month-long summer program at one of 12 Canadian host communities focused on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math). There are currently more than 14,800 SHAD alumni all sharing the Uncommon Purpose of the SHAD experience and able to leverage their SHAD network for life. The SHAD 2016 program will take place from July 3 to 29. Applications for the summer of 2017 will be available in the fall at www.shad.ca
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