SHAD About Us




SHAD is a registered Canadian charity that empowers exceptional high school students – at a pivotal point in their education – to recognize their own capabilities and envision their extraordinary potential as tomorrow’s leaders and change makers. Each year, SHAD provides the opportunity for 700+ students from across Canada and internationally to attend a month-long summer program, in-residence at one of our Canadian host universities, focused on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts & math). There are currently more than 15,500 SHAD alumni including 32 Rhodes Scholars, Top 40 Under 40 & Top 20 Under 20 award recipients, and many other accomplished professionals, all sharing the transformational SHAD experience and able to leverage their SHAD network for life. Founded in 1980, SHAD is based in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.


Students selected through the rigorous, competitive process for places in the summer program are top performers who are also well-rounded emerging leaders demonstrating initiative, creativity and flair. They are leaders in their schools, volunteers in their communities, and are often gifted musicians, artists and athletes.

Unique Challenges and Rewards

Each of our SHAD campuses offers an immersive program of lectures, workshops, projects and activities. Inside and outside the classroom, SHAD builds on the STEAM foundation, introducing participants to a multi-disciplinary program that offers unique experiences and a new way of understanding the world. Speakers include university professors, business leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators, inspiring students to set aspirational goals.

SHAD campuses build their programming around a theme of national significance, which changes each year and is released the first week of each annual session. Participants are challenged with a big, complex issue and are asked to find bold solutions, working together with their peers to bring their ideas to life. Success comes from figuring things out together and learning from fellow students. Winning projects are selected per campus to advance to national judging. The results of the competition are announced during the SHAD - John Dobson Entrepreneurship Cup Awards held each fall.

Volunteer Internships

SHAD program participants are eligible to compete for a summer volunteer internship for the month of August, immediately following the July in-residence university program, and SHAD assists with placements.

Alumni with Uncommon Purpose

The SHAD experience doesn’t end with the completion of the summer program. There are many benefits to being a SHAD including being part of an extensive peer-to-peer network of like-minded SHADs for life. SHAD alumni include thought leaders and digital revolutionaries, CEOs and academic superstars who use their abilities in STEAM disciplines to bring new ideas and new industries to life, and who share the common features of adventurous minds, entrepreneurial spirit, and natural leadership. See what SHADs have accomplished.


Quick Facts About SHAD
SHAD Backgrounder