Shads share expertise on social enterprise at True North conference

Saad Baig, Jade Choy, and Jen Wang are at different stages of their life, but they are all united in their drive to use #STEAM4Good.


They came together at the social enterprise panel for the first day of True North, a conference that features incredible thinkers who discuss the boundaries, potential and future of technology. 


Shads Jen Wang, Jade Choy, and Saad Baig join Sarah Doyle on stage for the Rise of Social Enterprise panel at True North. 


"Social enterprise should be seen as the new dominant business model," says Sarah Doyle, the moderator of the panel and the Director of Policy and Research at the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship.



According to the Deloitte Human Capital Trends survey last year, 77 per cent of respondents said that corporate citizenship and social impact were important corporate strategies—and all the panelists agree.


But aiming for a triple bottom line isn’t the only thing that brings them together. They all attended the Shad program when their desire to make a difference was just being ignited. 


“Shad made me realize that business can be a real form of change making that causes real impact,” says Saad Baig, who just finished his first-year in engineering at McMaster University.


During the design project, where Shads are challenged to develop a product that solves a real-world problem, Saad and his team came-up with the idea of colour changing shingles that save energy by absorbing and expelling heat. It was Saad’s first run-in with entrepreneurship and innovation, but not his last.


“The most important takeaway from a failure is that you can’t let it slow you down, just take it as a lesson. It’s okay to fail and for every idea not to become a great venture, but every venture comes from a great idea,” says Saad.


CEO Jade Choy also hopes to spread positivity with her digital platform, EPOCH.


EPOCH is a human resources engagement platform that companies—including Deloitte and Shopify—can use to roll-out volunteer programs to employees.


“For us, it’s all about connecting people,” says Jade. “Right now, we are doing it through companies and local non-profits.”


EPOCH started out as a tool to assist refugees as they integrate into new environments. Jade thought of the idea after seeing the magnitude of the refugee crisis while studying overseas.


Jade and her team competed as a finalist for the Hult Prize. Shortly after, they realized that the scope of EPOCH was too narrow to be sustainable as a business, so they went back to their original idea to make an impact in communities.


“Shad showed me the concept of starting something with impact in mind first,” says Jade.


Jen Wang is a product manager at thredUP, an online marketplace that keeps impact at the forefront by selling secondhand clothing.


“We’re really lucky that the more clothes we bring into the marketplace the better it is for consumers and for the environment,” says Jen.


Coming from an extensive energy, consumer behaviour and natural resources background, you wouldn’t expect Jen to lead mobile-app delivery at a fashion company. But she says fashion is one of the worst industries for environmental harm.


“When you reuse a piece of clothing, you reduce the carbon footprint by 80 per cent,” says Jen.


Shopping trends are changing. Over the past three years, the resale apparel market grew 21 times faster than the traditional market.


Jen, Jade, and Saad are all embracing the rise of social enterprise and showing that innovation can lead to positive change.


"We need more people to think about how they can deploy their potential for innovation and entrepreneurship in a way that is socially-minded,” says Sarah Doyle. “Shad is helping to promote that type of thinking in young people.” 


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Shad alumni among tech moguls that will be featured at True North

Soon Kitchener will be flooded with incredible innovators and tech gurus that will headline this year’s True North technology conference and workshop.


And among the inventors, CEOs, and researchers who will present on topics like the inception of the world wide web and indigenous data sovereignty, there will be three Shads sharing their expertise on the intersection of social enterprise and technology.


Photo credt:


“We are building the next generation of social entrepreneurs,” says Tim Jackson, President & CEO of Shad Canada. “Shad’s program provides a space for students to practice design thinking and use #STEAM4Good to tackle real world issues. Highly driven students go through our program and leave with the skills they need to launch a start-up, lead a team, or lean into their tech talent.”


Close to 20 per cent of Shads have launched at least one start-up. More than 60 per cent of these are in ICT, digital media, clean tech, life sciences, and engineering.


Shad panelists Saad Baig, Jade Choy, and Jen Wang are each at different stages of their start-up journey, but they all hope to utilize technology in their pursuits to make wheelchairs more adaptable, refugees more welcome and secondhand shopping easier than ever.


The event is hosted by Communitech, an innovation hub that supports the Waterloo Region’s tech sector. It has supported more than 1,400 companies since it was founded in 1997.


“We are promoting technology as a career choice for students, women and entrepreneurs,” said Iain Klugman, CEO, Communitech. “Shad’s involvement at True North will provide a unique perspective as we explore how digital technology impacts our daily lives, our futures, and the planet in profound ways.”


True North will kick off on June 19 at LOT42 in Kitchener, Ontario. The Shad panel is slated to start at 1:40 p.m. on Stage B.


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Nine Shads receive prestigious Schulich Leader Scholarships

Once again, Shads from all over Canada have been awarded for their leadership and talents in STEAM. Every year, the Schulich Foundation gives 50 scholarships to entrepreneurial-minded high school graduates enrolling in a science, technology, engineering or math program at universities across Canada. They receive $100,000 for engineering streams and $80,000 for science and math programs.


“To date, some 65 Schulich Leaders are amongst Shad’s alumni network. As always, we remain committed to supporting STEM education across Canada,” says Seymour Schulich who established the scholarship in 2012.


From top left: Mia Battad, Maxwell Bauer, Katie Brown, Shiloh Burton, Caleb Lammers. From bottom left: Tommy Moffat, Anna Mueller, Aidan Mundle, Andrea Stachow


Nine incredible Shads received an award this year:

· Mia Battad

· Maxwell Bauer

· Katie Brown

· Shiloh Burton

· Caleb Lammers

· Tommy Moffat

· Anna Mueller

· Aidan Mundle

· Andrea Stachow


Even though Mia, Caleb, and Aidan are still celebrating, they took the time to share what leaders they look up to and what they’re hoping to accomplish in the future: inspiring women to pursue STEM, studying mathematics and physics, and working towards a greener future.


Mia Battad
University of Manitoba, Science Program
Balmoral High School, Winnipeg, MB


1. How did you feel when you received the news?

I was very much caught off-guard at first. I’ve always felt as though the work I do meets my personal standards, but this award shows that it doesn’t go unrecognized by others. To be able to receive this award absolutely feels like the payoff of my dedication and determination to STEM throughout high school. When I received my scholarship offer, it felt so sudden that I couldn’t even imagine all the ways in which it would change my education and career opportunities—even now, there are all kinds of possibilities waiting for me after graduation that I have yet to discover.


2. What leader do you look up to?

For me, it has always been easier to look up to people I know personally—I can respect their qualities and achievements, but also know them well enough to remember that they’re human and a realistic role model. One leader that I look up to is my computer science teacher. Since I started taking computer science courses in Grade 9, she has been a driving force in my interest in programming. In our class projects, she has always valued our process over our product, encouraging us as students to explore new ways of solving problems and to be creative in applying what we learn, regardless of whether it produces a working program or not. Instead of being preoccupied with having the most complex or impressive projects, in her class, I learned more about dealing with failure, understanding how others solve problems, and challenging myself appropriately. My computer science teacher has used her personal experience to lead by example, teaching us qualities much more vital to a career in computer science than simply the syntax of a programming language.


3. Why are you passionate about STEM and entrepreneurship?

I’ve always been interested in math and science, but it truly became a passion when I started coding as a hobby in middle school—at this time, I didn’t know that what I was doing was considered “coding,” or that coding and computer science are areas in which women are underrepresented. Learning about other women in computer science inspired me to pursue it as a career. Especially as a graduate of a girls’ school, I place great importance in my position as a role model for young girls. Because I, fortunately, have always been in a supportive environment, I hope to be a leader for girls with the same interest in STEM that are less encouraged to consider it as a career.


4. What was your biggest takeaway from Shad?

The way Shad promotes teamwork and co-operative mindsets has been invaluable to me. In my Shad group project, I worked to create an organization to increase Canadian communities’ resilience to natural disasters with five other students, each with unique specialties, qualifications, and opinions. Being that we all had our own ideas and plans to contribute, it was somewhat of a balancing act to try to incorporate everybody in our group; however, we all shared the common goal of creating a product we could be proud of. As we worked together on our project, we became better at adapting to each other’s habits and work styles, becoming a more tolerant, discussion-friendly group. Through this project, I learned different ways of conflict resolution and mediation among people with equally strong opinions, as well as to have more confidence in myself, my contributions, and my role in a group.


5. What would you like to accomplish in the future?

The primary reason that I want to pursue computer science is to solve problems. I want to use my experience and passion for computer science, as well as the opportunities I will have access to due to the Schulich Leader scholarship, to create new technology that helps others less privileged than me. Given how quickly technology can change society, I may end up working in a career that doesn’t even exist yet! No matter where I end up though, I want to continue inspiring young women in need of somebody to look up to. I hope to help spark the next generation of capable, confident, and unapologetic women in STEM.


Caleb Lammers
University of Toronto, Science Program
St. Ignatius Secondary School, Thunder Bay, ON


1. How did you feel when you received the news?

Finding out I was selected as a 2019 Schulich Leader was a very surreal experience. After a fairly normal day at school, I had just gotten home and walked upstairs to my room. Then, I saw an email pop up on my phone which had “Schulich Leader” in the subject line. Thinking it was another update on the selection process, I opened it without speculating too much. When I saw it was from the University of Toronto, I began to wonder why I was being contacted, but my thoughts were interrupted by the line that read “Congratulations.” Quickly, I was on my feet yelling in excitement. I rushed downstairs to tell my dad. I was overwhelmed with feelings of surprise, excitement, and awe. For the rest of the evening, I enjoyed the company of family and went for a long relaxing walk, and truthfully, it never quite felt real.


2. What leader do you look up to?

One leader that I personally look up to is scientist Richard Feynman. However, he is not the type of leader you may expect. He didn’t march armies into battle, found companies, or even work on many teams at all. Rather, he was an incredible physicist, and above all, an extraordinary teacher. In fact, his famous lectures inspired everyone present in his often-overflowing lecture hall. More than anything, Richard Feynman was passionate about sharing his curiosity about the world with everyone he met. His lessons were a marvel to behold, engaging and filled with ingenious analogies. You see, he led others by being a passionate teacher and inspiring many along the way. I hope to one-day influence those around me as Feynman did. One of the biggest contributors to Feynman’s teaching brilliance was his incredibly deep knowledge. Being a teacher tests the gaps within your own knowledge. Feynman used to take difficult concepts and continue to break them down until he could explain it easily to a child, a learning trick aptly known as the “Feynman Technique.” I love understanding ideas on a deep level and I look up to the way Feynman consistently challenged his own knowledge through teaching.


3. Why are you passionate about STEM and entrepreneurship?

My love for STEM comes from my curiosity about the world and how things work. Truly, the mysterious properties of nature are fascinating. It is amazing to me how the tools developed from careful thought and reasoning - that is, mathematics, can be used to quantify physical phenomena. Even incredibly complex systems, such as language, can often be represented using mathematics. This never fails to impress me, and I genuinely hope to be challenged by interesting science and mathematics for the rest of my life. Using these tools to create something new, as is often done in engineering and technology, is an incredibly rewarding experience. In reality, it is one of the few opportunities in life to start with nothing and create something completely new. Entrepreneurship, too, involves the unique experience of building something from the ground up. Working to turn a passion into something bigger than yourself is a humbling experience that I hope to continue to be involved with in the future.


4. What was your biggest takeaway from Shad?

My biggest takeaway from Shad was, without a doubt, the teamwork and leadership skills I learned. Honestly, I have never been surrounded by so many bright and friendly people my age, all united by similar interests. As the activities and lectures I was involved with at Shad begin to grow fuzzy in my mind, I will never forget the friends I made over the month at Carleton University. The experience of working on a novel Design-Entrepreneurship project has been invaluable to me ever since. The supportive environment within my DE group at Shad is something I try to recreate in all teams I am involved with. Shad showed me not only the incredible work I was capable of, but also how much can be accomplished as a part of a team. In four short weeks, I learned more about hard work, balance, and teamwork than I could have ever anticipated. These lessons have prepared me for future endeavours in a way that is hard to put into words, all while making the best friends I could ask for.


5. What would you like to accomplish in the future?

In the future, I hope to continue developing my passions within STEM, especially in the fields of mathematics and physics. Being a Schulich Leader gives me the opportunity to prioritize what is important to me and opens new doors that were not available to me before. Though I am not exactly sure what the future has in store for me, I hope to remain a passionate learner and to get involved with important research within STEM. I also wish to further my passions for teaching others and problem-solving. With these goals in mind, I imagine that I will be involved in education for many years to come. No matter where I end up, I am thankful for the opportunities provided to me by both Shad and the Schulich Leader Scholarships and I would not be here without the endless support of friends and family.


Aidan Mundle
University of British Columbia, Engineering Program
Albert College, Belleville, ON


1. How did you feel when you received the news?

I was completely caught off-guard. I received a call from someone in Vancouver during my lunch break on a Thursday, and when I answered, he introduced himself as director of admissions at UBC. He said they would be pleased to offer the Schulich Leader Scholarship to me at UBC! At this point, I involuntarily sank to one knee, and was completely shocked! I was not expecting the award and am still getting over it!


2. What leader do you look up to?

There are some amazing leaders at Gould Lake Outdoor Center, where I participate in adventure trips into the wilderness. They have perfected the art of leading in a very niche environment, and I have modeled many of my leadership qualities from them. I also felt that the leadership displayed by my Shad leaders was incredible. It is no easy task to immediately have the respect and admiration of 80 teenagers, but somehow, the Shad UNB 2017 leadership team pulled it off!


3. Why are you passionate about STEM and entrepreneurship?

I really became passionate about learning when I attended Shad. I was always a naturally curious student, and Shad really elevated my expectations for what I could be learning. I was even able to go to the Canada-Wide Science Fair with a project that stemmed from Shad discussions. I owe my passion to wonderful mentors and teachers who allowed me to see why STEM is amazing.


4. What was your biggest takeaway from Shad?

I think that Shad really gave me increased confidence in my own ideas. I felt completely comfortable throwing ideas into the ring to be talked about and fleshed out. I gained more confidence about collaborating on projects and learned the value of great teammates. I truly became excited about learning after Shad. I was able to meet like-minded people who shared the same passions I did. That experience has contributed to my success.


5. What would you like to accomplish in the future?

I hope to innovate and invent. I can see myself working towards a sustainable, eco-friendly future. I could possibly work in climate change mitigation, helping people cope with the new and difficult situation that we may find ourselves in. I don't know what the future will hold, and I can hardly begin to guess.


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Bursary funded by Shads to honour Program Assistant

In just 27-days, Shads form bonds with complete strangers, many staying connected long past the shared dorm rooms and early morning lectures. Nearly 12 years ago, at the Dalhousie campus, one Program Assistant, Lucas Parafianowicz, helped his Shads forge friendships by creating a safe space to embrace their individuality. And now his peers are celebrating his legacy. 


If you attended Shad Dalhousie in 2007, you will likely remember Commodore Brainteaser.


Dressed in a captain’s hat, aviators, lei, floral gardening gloves, and his back adorned with a Canadian flag cape, Commodore Brainteaser would pose problems and puzzles to eager Shads almost every day.


He made it on the cover of their Shad yearbook and even inspired the design of their Shad shirts.


But he didn’t just provide entertainment or comic relief between lectures. He was the alter ego of Lucas Parafianowicz, a Program Assistant and Shad Fellow, who made a lasting impact on all the Shads that met him that year.


Lucas Parafianowicz's alter ego, Commodore Brainteaser on the 2007 Shad Dalhousie Monthbook cover. 


In Nov. 2018, Lucas passed away after a battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.


After hearing the news, a Shad posted in the Dalhousie 2007 Facebook group- a forum typically used to provide updates and share pictures of mini-reunions. Although many people hadn’t seen Lucas in-person since Shad, there was an immediate reaction to do something in his memory, something that would honour what brought them all together nearly 12 years ago.


They created the Lucas Parafianowicz Memorial Award, a five-year bursary that will grant $1000 each year to a student that exhibits financial need, exudes passion for all things STEAM, and leaves a positive effect on others-just as Lucas did.


“Even though we might have had different interactions with him, we had the same kind of feelings from him and it really aligned with the feelings we had from the program as a whole,” says John Fackoury, a Shad who contributed to the award.


Lucas' profile from the 2007 Shad Dalhousie Monthbook 


“Lucas really set out the types of things you are as someone who comes here. You’re somebody who is not afraid to be you. You’re somebody who has a lot of energy. You’re somebody who is always positive about everything.”


John says that Lucas made everyone feel like they had a place at Shad, whether you were an introvert or someone who was comfortable taking the lead, he allowed people to feel unapologetically themselves.


“The fact that he made such an impact on our lives in one short month speaks volumes about the type of person he was.”


Thirteen donors helped fund the award, including a fellow that attended Shad UBC with Lucas in 2000.


John says that he hopes the award represents the bond between peers and even Program Assistants years after their Shad experience. He’s stayed connected with peers despite long distances and different backgrounds in fields like business, dentistry, nursing, and computer science.


“People a decade out of this are still feeling an impact, they still look back and say it was a big moment in their life.”


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Shad Program Assistant launches rocket in Norway

Megan Gran, a Shad York Program Assistant, will help Shads rocket to success this July in more ways than one!


Megan is fresh off a trip to Norway, where she spent just one-week building, testing, and ultimately launching a rocket from the Andøya Space Centre! She was the only Canadian student chosen alongside 23 others for the Fly a Rocket! program, a collaboration between the European Space Agency and the Andøya Space Centre that hosts post-secondary students from around the world with a passion for space.



Megan is going into her third year of space engineering this fall at York University. Since a young age, Megan had a natural curiosity for robotics, inspired by her parents’ obsession for science and engineering.


But her interest in space engineering took off while enjoying rocket and shuttle launches during family vacations at the Kennedy Space Center. Wide eyed and amazed by the feats happening miles away, Megan was unaware that years later she’d be facing this amazement tenfold while watching her own rocket launch just hundreds of metres before her.


But it took a lot of work to get there.


As part of the program, she had to complete an online course on rocketry, mission design and orbital dynamics. Luckily, she was familiar with most of the equations and calculations after seeing them in class.

Megan was also virtually introduced to her peers from all over the world. They represented 12 European Space Agency states including the UK, the Netherlands, and Spain.


“It was an immediate friendship,” says Megan. “There was no way any of this would have been successful if we didn’t get along."


The international rocket team listened to a few lectures on the first day of the program, and after that, they got right to building.


They had roughly 20-hours to build the rocket. The rest of the week was used to assemble the payload and perform safety and weather testing.


"There's a huge process it has to go through before it's safe to launch,” says Megan.


Once the rocket was ready, Megan and most of her peers watched from a platform less than 200 metres away—a better view than at the Kennedy Space Centre.



And just like that, their rocket launched, breaking the sound barrier at over 3,500 kilometers per hour.


"It was like a gunshot going through your body, you feel it in the ground and it vibrates in your chest. In the whole building, you feel it."


They all stood motionless and stared upwards as their rocket raced into the clouds, their collaboration and hard work worth the explosive ending.


“We had done that. We had put everything into that as a team. We all became really good friends too so that meant so much more.”


The rocket reached an apogee of about of 8.2 km, landing safely a few kilometres off the coast.


Since returning from Norway, Megan judged projects at the Canada-Wide Science Fair after being a two-time bronze medalist for her robotics projects in 2012 and 2017.


Now she is getting excited for the Shad program in July.


She says Shads will encounter a lot of the same situations she did while in Norway: getting adjusted to a new environment, making friends, and stepping outside of the traditional moulds of education.


“Having similar experience, I can bring it to the program and help students mesh together, work hard and make sure they’re successful at the end of the month so that they’re happy with what they created.”


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Young women from Nunavut and NWT score Shad’s CWSF scholarships

Penelope Armstrong and Tamara Chisholm left the Canada-Wide Science Fair as Shad scholarship winners, impressing with their projects that monitored water quality and toxicity. They used STEAM to see firsthand if the water in their communities is safe and free of harmful substances. Find out what winner is training for the Arctic Winter Games and which winner is eager to travel to Thailand and Iceland!

Penelope Armstrong



Q: Tell us a bit about yourself:

A: My name is Penelope Armstrong. I was born and still live in Iqaluit, Nunavut with my parents, younger brother and much of my extended family. I am a Grade 9 student attending Inuksuk High School. I am inquisitive and have a strong desire to learn. When it comes to my favourite subject science, I am fascinated with everything, including space, chemistry and the environment. I spend my free time playing many sports like soccer, basketball, competitive swimming, and figure skating. I can also be found camping at my cabin out on the sea ice, reading a good book, or out and about with friends.


Q: Have you been to the Canada-Wide Science Fair before?

A: This year was the first time I participated in the Canada-Wide Science Fair. It has been a unique and eye-opening event that I am truly grateful to have taken part in.


Q: What is your project?

A: My project "What's in Your Water?" is an experiment-based project that tests for the water quality in the community of Iqaluit, Nunavut. This project examines the difference in water based on infrastructure and location. Additionally, the corrosiveness of water was determined by calculating the saturation degree of calcium carbonate.


Q: How did you come up with the idea?

A: I was inspired because the arctic is home to many aboriginal Inuit who have lived close to nature for millennia. However, it is not always uncomplicated in today’s world. There are water supply concerns in Iqaluit because of permafrost, low precipitation, climate change, limited sources of accessible fresh water, and a rising population that causes the increased consumption of water. In addition to these concerns, Iqaluit’s infrastructure is quite old, and many community members speculate that our water doesn’t meet government standards. I sought out to create a project that would prove their concerns were ill founded.


Q: What is the real-world issue it helps solve?

A: This project is of importance because water is one of the basic needs for human survival. Humans consume high levels of tap and drinking water that it is necessary to test for contaminants. The safety of my community rests on the quality of our water.


Q: How will you bring this momentum to Shad?

A: I will bring this momentum to Shad by maintaining my interest in STEM and continuing to learn. I will strive to create solutions and make a positive impact. 


Q: What will you do between now and Shad 2020?

A: Between now and Shad 2020, I am looking to do several things. Some of which include volunteering or working at the hospital, and training for the Arctic Winter Games which is the world's largest multi-sport competition for youth in the Arctic. I also hope to further my project for the next Canada-Wide Science Fair.


Q: What does your ideal future look like?

A: My ideal future is a world where materialism won't be the dominant outlook; where energy and resources are clean and cheap. I would like people to be beyond poverty, and for diversity to be embraced.

Tamara Chisholm



Q: Tell us a bit about yourself:

A: My name is Tamara Chisholm and I’m 15 years old. I’m currently in Grade 10 and attend Mackenzie Mountain School in Norman Wells, Northwest Territories. I live in the Northwest Territories but was born on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. I play soccer and love to travel. I recently visited South Africa and have also been to Costa Rica and Indonesia.


Q: Have you been to the Canada-Wide Science Fair before?

A: This was my first time at the Canada-Wide Science Fair.


Q: What is your project?

A: My project was a seed Bioassay to test for water toxicity.


Q: How did you come up with the idea?

A: I came up with the idea after doing something similar as a lab experiment in my Chemistry class.


Q: What is the real-world issue it helps solve?

A: A Bioassay is an easy test that can be used to test for the presence of toxins in various types of water and other samples.


Q: How will you bring this momentum to Shad?

A: I’m generally an outgoing person and tend to dive into activities I’m involved in. I can adapt when needed and work well with others.


Q: What will you do between now and Shad 2020?

A: Next year, I will be going into Grade 11. I hope to participate and attend the Canada-Wide Science Fair again. This summer, I will be attending a Leadership Development Program with D-Camps Diabetes Canada. I will also be participating in a youth sailing program called SALTs (the Sail and Life Training Society) over the summer.


Q: What does your ideal future look like?

A: My plans include graduating high school and then leaving the Northwest Territories to attend university. I think I would like to study biology and environmental sciences. I also hope to keep traveling; there are a few places on my list, including Thailand, Europe and Iceland.



Read our Q&A with our third Shad-CWSF award winner Amy Gudmundson


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Canada-Wide Science Fair scholarship winner shares passion for STEAM

Last week’s Canada-Wide Science Fair was yet another reminder of how students across Canada are inspiring others with STEAM. We awarded three amazing finalists with scholarships to attend Shad 2020: Amy Gudmundson, Tamara Chisholm, and Penelope Armstrong. Amy took some time to answer questions about her project, interests and excitement for Shad!


Amy Gudmundson


Q: Tell us a bit about yourself:

A: My name is Amy Gudmundson, I’m in ninth grade at École Jours de Plaine, in Laurier Manitoba. I live 15 minutes away from my school in the town of Ste. Rose du Lac.  I really love all STEAM fields, and I do science fair projects, robotics, and coding during my spare time. I also figure skate and participate in various leadership activities in my community!


Q: Have you been to the Canada-Wide Science Fair before?

A: Yes, this is my second time at the Canada-Wide Science Fair. I previously did a project on vermicomposting, which won a Junior Excellence Award (Gold Medal) last year. 


Q: What is your project?

A: My project is about a flash glucose monitoring system, a new system approved by Health Canada in 2017 for people with diabetes. With my experiments, I evaluated whether a barrier between the sensor of the system and the skin could prevent allergic contact dermatitis, and whether the addition of a barrier affects interstitial glucose readings. 


Amy Gudmundson stands with her project display at the Canada-Wide Science Fair in Fredericton, NB


Q: How did you come up with the idea?

A: I had the idea for my project from people with diabetes in my community. They used a flash glucose monitoring system and enjoyed the numerous benefits from this product, which has improved their diabetes management. Later, they developed a skin irritation from the sensor, which renders this product useless! I wondered whether the use of a barrier could be a cost-effective solution to this problem. After further research, I found almost no studies on this topic, so I decided to investigate further!


Q: What is the real-world issue it helps solve?

A: Diabetes is a worldwide disease, and there are new diabetes products being introduced, that have many benefits for the users. My project investigates one of the biggest disadvantages of this product, so that people who are getting allergic contact dermatitis might be able to use this product as part of their daily life, making these products accessible for more people. This can also help limit the serious complications that can arise from diabetes.

Q: How will you bring this momentum to Shad?

A: I think I can bring the momentum of CWSF to Shad with my enthusiasm, energy and my positive attitude!  I also think I can really contribute to the Shad community with my perseverance and determination when faced with a challenge.


Q: What will you do between now and Shad 2020?

A: Between now and Shad 2020, I will be continuing figure skating and working to become a CanSkate coach (a national learn to skate program). I will also pursue re-election to the position of president of my school’s student council.  I would like to continue to contribute to my divisionary leadership program, Jeunes Manitobains des Communautés Associées (JMCA). I am also taking a coding class next year, the first ever coding and robotics class offered at my school! I also plan to continue doing music lessons, playing the trumpet, piano and the bass guitar. 


Q: What does your ideal future look like?

A: My ideal future would be continuing to learn in STEAM throughout my life and becoming a female role model in those areas! I am also very passionate about our environment, and I am concerned about our climate. I want to contribute towards solutions to solve this ongoing issue, making a positive change in our world.  


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Fellow brings Shad-inspired prototype to Canada-Wide Science Fair

Jonah Leinwand brought his group’s real-world design project to life using the skills and motivation he gained at Shad. In less than a year, he pitched, designed, researched and tested the product—and after bringing it to two science fairs, he’s ready to do even more.


Amid the hundreds of booths lined side-by-side at the Canada-Wide Science Fair, it was easy to tell that Jonah Leinwand was a proud Shad, the logo next to months’ worth of research and results.  


Jonah Leinwand stands with his project at the Canada-Wide Science Fair in Fredericton, New Brunswick.


Jonah, a Grade 12 student at the Lisgar Collegiate Institute in Ottawa, was there to present AirTree, a device that helps purify air during wildfires. It uses copper wires to induce a positive charge on harmful particles, routing them to a large copper plate.


While AirTree is now a working prototype, ten months ago it was merely an idea thought-up by his real-world design challenge group at Shad Mount Allison.


Each July, Shads across Canada are asked to solve a real-world problem by designing an original product or service. Last year, the theme was natural disasters and Jonah’s group focused on the devasting effects of wildfires.


"One of the biggest problems in wildfires is all the other bad stuff that comes from smoke, like particulate matter, carbon monoxide, and mercury. It’s all really dangerous for a community,” says Jonah.


“Our idea at Shad was to have a drone remove all of that stuff from the air.”


While there are respirators that help firefighters breathe through fire and smoke, Jonah says once these masks are off, there’s nothing stopping the inhalation or spread of particulate matters.



A close-up look at the AirTree prototype.


With the support of his Shad group that developed the idea, he emailed the head of the chemical engineering department at the University of Ottawa and asked if any professors might be interested in hearing about AirTree.


"I was feeling nervous but not necessarily nervous in the traditional way. I knew I had a good idea." 


After hearing his pitch, a professor gave him funding, lab space and even offered the help of university students to make his design come to life.


"They don't really care if you are in Grade 12 or you have a PhD. If you have a good idea, that's what they are interested in." 


Jonah brought the prototype to the Ottawa Regional Science Fair, winning the senior category and a trip to the Canada-Wide Science Fair, where he scored an invitation to a weeklong STEM and entrepreneurship camp at York University.


Next fall, he will study Biomedical Engineering at the University of Waterloo but plans to continue his work with AirTree. He wants to add a drone and modify the design to start testing outside of the lab.


“I’m excited for what the future holds.”


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Over 20 Shads among finalists at the Canada-Wide Science Fair

Less than two months before Shad 2019, 500 of Canada’s top young minds travelled to this year’s Canada-Wide Science Fair in Fredericton—their suitcases packed tight with creative STEAM solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems.


Like Shad, the Canada-Wide Science Fair attracts youth with a passion for STEAM and entrepreneurship.


Among all the talent, there were new Shads who will attend the program this summer and Shad Fellows whose projects were inspired and developed during the real-world design challenge. More than 20 Shads were finalists at the competition.


Shad Fellows and incoming 2019 Shads gather for the ultimate #Shadbotselfie at the Canada-Wide Science Fair


Shad offers a special award to intermediate finalists from rural or remote areas who embody Shad values through their thought leadership, initiative and strong enthusiasm for STEAM.


Initially, only two winners were supposed to be chosen, but out of 40 applicants, three students stood apart from the rest: Amy Gudmundson, Tamara Chisholm and Penelope Armstrong will each receive an $1,000 scholarship to attend Shad 2020.


Amy Gudmundson, Tamara Chisholm and Penelope Armstrong pose with their Shad-CWSF awards.


Their projects looked at: the effectiveness of flash glucose monitoring systemswater toxicity in a local river in the Northwest Territories and water quality variances in Iqaluit.


Learn more about our award winners in an upcoming Q+A. Stay tuned.

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Shad and FIRST Robotics Canada

Shad welcomes FIRST Robotics Canada (FRC) students, Tasnia Rahman and Hunter McCullagh, with $5,700 scholarships  to attend Shad2019. These students are go-getters on and off the FRC-field, and dream of using their STEAM-knowledge as force for good by making a lasting impact on the world. 


Learn more about Tasnia and Hunter including who plays bagpipes in their spare time. 



Tasnia Rahman

FIRST Robotics Team 3739

Shad York 2019


Q: Tell us a bit about yourself:

A: My name is Tasnia Rahman. I am a grade 10 student of Oakridge Secondary School in London, Ontario. I live with my parents and my younger brother. I enjoy embarking on new adventures and gaining new experiences. Furthermore, I am an avid reader of mysteries and fantasy. In my spare time, I am often likely to be found hanging out with my friends and family or listening to old-fashioned music.


Q: How did you get involved in robotics?

A: Earlier this year, I joined FRC team 3739 - Oakbotics with the aspiration to explore the fields of practical application in terms of STEM (as I acutely lacked exposure in the area). At the same time, I hoped to achieve clarity and a sense of direction regarding my future endeavours: a career in STEM always fascinated me but I was unable to fixate on a particular pathway. Today, I am glad to say that my journey with robotics has provided me with much more than I hoped for - the lessons I have learned in this short span of time have been invaluable and they have allowed me to cultivate my potential to a great degree. 


Q: What are your long term goals?

A: I wish to reach a position from which I can aid as many people in need as possible. At the same time, I want to dedicate my time towards intellectual pursuits such as scientific research. In order to combine my two prime goals in life, I want to study biotechnology during my post-secondary education (specifically genetic engineering) to find solutions to environmental and/or healthcare issues. Moreover, fulfilling responsibilities towards my religion and family are two of my key values, both of which motivate me to become a better human being than my current self. Hence, I hope to live a fulfilling life in the pursuit of my goals while staying true to these values. 


Q: Why Shad? What are you most excited for?

A: I chose Shad because the motto of the program resonates with my future aspirations. I dream of making my contribution towards ameliorating the world everyday and Shad has the potential of carrying me a step closer to my dream.


I am excited to interact with, and be in the proximity of other young enthusiasts who have similar goals as me. I believe that my stay with Shad will provide me with an endless pool of resources to draw inspiration from, for the duration of the rest of my life. 


Q: Have you ever been away from home for 27 days before?

A: No, I have not; the longest period of time that I was away from home had been less than a week. Shad, therefore, is likely to be a very refreshing experience for me. In fact, I was partially motivated to apply to Shad due to this very reason; as I am aware that being away from my familiar surroundings will provide me with a renewed perspective and enable me to expand my horizons so that I emerge as a stronger human being. 


Q: Most Shads aspire to make a change in this world. If you could have one lasting impact, what would it be?

A: I have spent the larger part of my life in a country of millions confined within a small landmass; where a substantial portion of the population are regularly plagued by natural disasters while living in poverty. Despite all these struggles, my beautiful country of origin is known for its hospitality and kindness, as it has provided shelter to a million refugees even though it is the most densely populated nation on earth.


On the other side of the spectrum, there is Canada, a country which is the global symbol of diversity and inclusion. The short duration of my life that I have spent here has contributed to my growth as a human being immeasurably.


The disparities and resemblances between these two nations have opened my eyes to the numerous ways in which the world population is suffering and to the possible ways to solve those issues.


If I could make a singular lasting impact, I would create a world without boundaries where human beings could help and inspire one another without any restraints. I envision a world where a unified council would govern the entire population of the earth so that all human beings receive the same treatment, because equity and inclusion may be our only hopes in putting a permanent stop to the worldly plight.




Hunter McCullagh

FIRST Robotics Team 6461

Shad Mount Allison 2019


Q: Tell us a bit about yourself:


A: My name is Hunter McCullagh, I’m in grade 11 and I come from Wingham, Ontario. I am part of FRC Team 6461 - Iron Stallions. I have a wide variety of passions that include robotics, playing multiple instruments including the bagpipes and the trombone, swimming, and kayaking. I love to learn, try new things and have fun no matter the environment. Whether it’s in the computer lab, out in nature, in the shop, or on the lake. I try my best to have fun and learn as much as I can wherever I go.


Q: How did you get involved in robotics?


A: My computer science teacher explained to me what the FRC is, and all of it’s amazing aspects. I’ve been hooked on robotics since my first time coming out to help build a robot. Since then, I've stepped up to every challenge from programming, to building, and even fundraising.


Q: What are your long term goals?


A: My long term goals are to become a mechatronics engineer, as well as help build and design robots to help advance the world.


Q: Why Shad? What are you most excited for?


A: Ever since I've heard of Shad, I have liked the idea of being immersed in a community of students who want to make an impact in the STEM fields just like me. I am most excited for making so many new friends that want to pursue careers that will change the world.


Q: Have you ever been away from home for 27 days before?


A: I have never been away from home for for 27 days before, so this will be a nice life changing experience as well as an insight to what life in university will be like.


Q: Most Shads aspire to make a change in this world. If you could have one lasting impact, what would it be?


A: If I could have one lasting impact in this world it would be to help build and design a robot that is able to make a lasting positive impact in the world.


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