Q: Tell us a bit about yourself.
As a grade 12 student from a small town, my passions extend from protecting the environment to fostering inclusivity in our community. This past year, I invested significant time in lab and field studies focused on the effectiveness of small-scale mycoremediation, aiming to prevent contaminated runoff in our local watershed system. This project not only culminated in a gold medal at the Canada-Wide Science Fair but also an opportunity to represent Canada at the Stockholm Junior Water Prize during SIWI’s World Water Week in Sweden. My experience in Sweden coincidentally followed my transformative month at Shad at the University of Manitoba. The lessons and self-confidence gained from Shad proved invaluable during my international experience in Stockholm.
Q: What interests you about STEAM?
I love the infinite possibilities, collaborative nature, and real-world impact that STEAM has to offer. STEAM doesn’t just fit into a certain box but, instead, applies to endless opportunities. STEAM allows us to see the world through a lens of possibility and solutions rather than problems and chaos.
Q: What was your biggest takeaway from your Shad experience?
The biggest takeaway from my Shad experience is that being vulnerable leads to finding like-minded people who amplify each other’s voices and have the potential to make a lasting impact on the world.
Shad opened my eyes to the magnitude of community and its implications. Post-Shad, I delved into issues affecting my hometown, realizing that many of our seniors faced challenges accessing food, particularly given rising costs, fixed incomes, and the physical barriers that our snowy winters present. Leveraging the knowledge and skillset learned at Shad, I collaborated with a local Tim Hortons to initiate a “Tim Bin” community program. This program, aimed at collecting food donations for seniors, intends to bridge the food accessibility gap in my community for elderly citizens.
Q: At Shad we are leaders in social innovation, how do you plan to use #STEAM4Good?
Drawing from my truly life-changing experiences at Shad and my time representing Canada on international platforms, I hope to use #STEAM4Good as a catalyst for positive societal change, especially through collaboration with peers. Inspired by my Shad experience, I’ve collaborated with the Youth Centre in Collingwood, Ontario, to run a ‘Young Change Maker’ program targeting young teens. Set to kick off in October. I’m eager to see the ways that passing on some of the lessons I am grateful to have learned at Shad inspires other young people’s ideas and passion in the spirit of 3STEAM4Good in my community.
Q: What lessons would you share with incoming Shads?
To every budding Shad, here’s a piece of advice at the tail end of my transformative Shad summer: embrace the discomfort that comes with vulnerability. You create the deepest connections in those moments and make the best memories. Shad taught me the value of peer learning, especially that each person brings a unique perspective, and together, we can work toward solutions that one person alone could never imagine.
I stepped into Shad with a heart full of excitement but also a healthy dose of nerves. Would I fit in? Would I measure up to these other, more brilliant minds? But as days turned into weeks, I discovered an important truth: at Shad, it’s not about fitting into a mold; it’s about crushing it. Every single Shad is celebrated, not for how they blend in, but for the unique colours they bring to the canvas.
Stay open to every learning opportunity that comes your way and find the fun in the unexpected. And most importantly, cherish the lifelong friendships you’ll make. Our voices, ideas, and actions resonate louder, creating paths and smashing barriers. I’m infinitely grateful for the doors my Shad summer opened, but more so for the people it brought into my life.