Expanding the minds of youth from coast-to-coast is the ultimate goal of SHAD programs.
SHAD is a summer enrichment program that produces leaders for Canada through its award-winning, life-changing, pan-Canadian enrichment platform for high school students.
The program assists more than 1,000 young Canadians annually to tap into their full potential through an innovative month-long program at one of 16 partner university campuses nationwide.
The students apply STEAM (science-tech-engineering-arts-math) disciplines to real-life public policy and entrepreneurial challenges, forging insights and valuable relationships for life.
Leading those studies starts with Leonard Lye who epitomizes the spirit of SHAD and making a difference in his community.
Lye has been involved with SHAD Memorial since 2003 as the engineering/technology faculty and since 2007 has been the program director, representing the SHAD board since 2008.
He said attracting the right people as mentors and leaders for the program so participants get the ultimate experience each summer is paramount to the current success of the curriculum and also future endeavours for what he calls “little geniuses.”
“We try to get all the best help, teachers and researchers to talk to them,’’ Lye said.
“We have added a Juno nominee (Andrew Stanisland) as a new speaker this year. Noreen Goffman has spoken to them on film studies. We always try and get a former premier to speak to the students about why it is important for young people to know about politics. This year it will be Clyde Wells,’’ he added.
In addition, Lye said he has reached out to the young councillors who are part of St. John’s City Council and invited them to address the SHAD group and a host of other individuals will serve as speakers at various points of the program.
In the past, participants have travelled to picturesque Fogo Island, where they were hosted by Mayor Andrew Shea, whose daughter was the first person from that rural community to attend SHAD; as did his niece and nephew in different years.
The participants get a tour of the island in addition to a hike that was followed last year by a barbecue hosted by several church groups and the firefighters.
“He told us, just get here and we’ll take care of the rest once you get there,’’ Lye said.
“The field trips they get here and in other locations offer out of this world sights for everyone,” he added.
This year’s SHAD program will take place at a record 16 host university campuses from coast to coast, with students being represented from all 10 provinces and three territories.
During the month, students attend interactive lectures and workshops from top university faculty and innovators in the community. A strong emphasis is placed on entrepreneurship at the program. Students learn how to start their own business to help solve a real-world problem.
This year, SHAD will be held July 1-27 including at Memorial, after which participants will become part of a vast network of close to 17,000 Fellows including an NHL hockey executive, a serial entrepreneur on CBC’s Dragon’s Den (Michelle Romanow), a NASA researcher and best-selling author.
One of those former SHAD participants who has carved his place in the world is Mike McCauley, the co-founder of BufferBox (acquired by Google), a network of automated package delivery lockers.
McCauley attended the SHAD program at Memorial in 2006.
Just a year after its founding, BufferBox was awarded the 2012 Velocity Venture Fund, and went through the Y Combinator program in Silicon Valley.
McCauley is now product manager of early stage Google X projects and is based in Silicon Valley.
Most recently he co-founded a startup fund to help early-stage tech firms in the Waterloo Region of Ontario in 2014. He completed a BASc, mechatronics engineering from the University of Waterloo in 2011 and is passionate about sharing his expertise as a founder with others.
Lisa Breen, the program manager for SHAD at Memorial, said getting these students together with like-minded individuals for an intense month of learning is an incredible and empowering activity for some of this country’s leaders of tomorrow.
“Students get pointed in a direction different than what they may have first envisioned,’’ Breen said.
“Once they have experienced the program, there may be topics they want to pursue for a long time. The options for them are amazing — eye-opening — many things they are never exposed to in high school,’’ she added noting many of the participants are already way beyond high school learning levels when they arrive at SHAD.
SHAD is a summer enrichment program and for many years, educators, parents, and students alike have not considered applying because they perceived the cost to be a significant barrier.
Since 2014, this barrier has been fully removed thanks to a sizeable donation from HMDC (Hibernia Management and Development Company) allowing excellent students from all communities in Newfoundland and Labrador to apply and compete for a place at SHAD.
“A lot of times, people don’t even have a conversation about this program at home because they hear how much it costs and dismiss it because they can’t afford it,” she said.
“The funding we get from Hibernia allows for those who are selected to attend SHAD, at literally no cost to them or their families,’’ she added.
SHAD and MUN have worked hard to create this opportunity for Newfoundland and Labrador students to ensure representation from the province nationally, as well as, providing students with a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn with the best and brightest from across Canada. Well-rounded and academically keen students are encouraged to apply.
For further information about applying to SHAD, please contact Breen, the SHAD co-ordinator at Memorial University.
Among SHAD’s thriving global network of close to 17,000 SHAD Fellows and innovators are 32 Rhodes Scholars, 88 Loran Scholars and 55 Schulich Leaders.
In addition, SHAD offers three renewable scholarships to high school students who are current or previous participants in the SHAD program.
These scholarships are valued at a total of $12,000 ($3,000 per year, renewable for an additional three years for a total of four years).
To be eligible and to be considered for renewal, students must be enrolled in full-time studies and have scholarship standing as defined by Memorial University.
The deadline to apply is July 4.