SHAD & FRC Connections - Abdullah Hadi

Are you involved in FIRST Robotics Canada? Learn about the SHAD scholarships offered exclusively to FRC competitors


Hi, my name is Abdullah Hadi, and I am currently an IB student at Robert Bateman high school. I have been a part of my school’s FRC team, the Wildebots, for 3 years now, and throughout my journey, like many other FRC members, I have learned a great deal about technology, teamwork, and a multitude of other 

things. Working with my peers towards the same goal, and surmounting the challenges that came our way has been an invaluable experience for me. Thus when I heard about a similar program through a friend I decided to do a little research. I found that SHAD was just like FRC in the sense that it immersed motivated youth in an academically rigorous environment, with an emphasis on STEAM and innovation. Not only are they alike in this regard, but both programs give you the opportunity of expanding your network, and getting to meet incredible people, from which you can establish lifelong relationships. I truly believe that the two defining factors of my high school experience have been being a part of the FRC community, and becoming a SHAD Fellow.


Suffice it to say I was extremely excited about the opportunity presented by SHAD, and was quick to start my application. After a couple weeks of carefully preparing my answers, and refining them, I hit the submit button, and hoped for the best. I was ecstatic when I received my acceptance into the program, along with the FIRST Robotics-SHAD scholarship. This covered all the costs associated with the SHAD program, and removed a huge financial burden for my family, for which I am ever grateful.


When I first arrived at the Western campus, greeted by the large blue and white SHAD banner hung across the front entrance of Delaware Hall, I was slightly nervous. I entered into the building I would be calling home for the next month and was greeted by the program directors. A program assistant subsequently showed me my room. As fate had it, my roommate was one of the executives of FRC team 610, and we automatically formed a close bond, discussing the competitions we had attended, and the strengths and weaknesses of the robots that we had built. After getting to meet the rest of the students at the campus through very well organized ice-breakers, I felt quite comfortable in this new environment, and was eager to start learning. Through the workshops, lectures, and excursions that followed, I was amazed at how SHAD and FRC practically embodied the same philosophy of engaging motivated youth. It allowed me to realize that FRC was more than building robots for a competition, but rather it was about the community that was built in the process, and the passion that we put into our work.



"Through the workshops, lectures, and excursions that followed, I was amazed at how SHAD and FRC practically embodied the same philosophy of engaging motivated youth."



For the first weekend of our SHAD experience we went down to the southernmost inhabited island in Canada, Pelee Island. Here we camped for three days. This was one of the most enjoyable parts of SHAD as I really got know the rest of my peers, and had some extremely interesting and insightful conversations over the campfire. After Pelee, we transitioned into a more structured schedule, which included engineering workshops (we got to build and program self-balancing robots), lectures from award-winning professors, and visiting world class research institutions (WindEEE institute, the Purple Crow Lidar Institute, Propel Entrepreneurship Incubator, and many more). This was just a small portion of the incredible, and eye opening activities we did on a daily basis.



During SHAD there was also a strong focus on our physical health. Everyday included a “rec session,” and there would be voluntary runs every morning at 7:30. These really helped with de-stressing at times as throughout SHAD we would be working on our business projects which had strict deadlines. Nonetheless, some of my most memorable SHAD moments were spent while working on these business projects with my group. The FRC build season and working on the projects was definitely a similar experience. Essentially, we were given a theme, and by the end of SHAD we had to have a product, or service with a functional prototype to present to judges addressing the issue we were presented with. I incorporated skills I developed through FRC into my project, which helped out in many aspects.


SHAD was also an amazing way of getting to meet industry professionals, professors, and many other accomplished individuals. We even got to listen to a lecture by a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate! The lectures provided many insights into several different areas, and provided new perspectives on things. The combination of the business project and the lectures greatly enhanced my entrepreneurial skills, and my understanding of STEAM.


With all that being said, if you are a part of FIRST Robotics, I would highly encourage you to apply to this amazing program, as it is an enriching experience. It is an opportunity to make lifelong friendships and connections, and learn things experientially, rather than through a textbook or what we are typically accustomed to. If you feel anxious or perhaps reluctant spending a month away at one of the many host campuses offered by the SHAD program, I say to you what Hill Du, one of the program assistants at SHAD Western told us many times, “life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”





Subscribe to this Blog Like on Facebook Tweet this! Share on Google+ Share on LinkedIn


These past two months have been the best months of my life, and for my life. I have been given two opportunities of a lifetime, one to spend a month at the University of Calgary with 63 other unique individuals through the SHAD program, and another to get some real-world experience with RBC’s digital technology team. SHAD and the RBC Foundation have been working together for years to help youth flourish in the 21st century, and as I head into grade 12, I feel lucky I have been able to experience both first hand. 


The SHAD program is such a unique experience because it gives high school students a chance to see what university life feels like by living in residence, attending lectures from university professors, and being pushed in new ways. I was able to attend workshops on numerous topics in STEM, such as soldering, nanotechnology, and coding to name but a few.  SHAD gives students like me a platform for growth and galvanizes us to take action and propose solutions to complex global issues; something you just don’t experience in high school.


The people at SHAD are such creative, innovative and amazing individuals – some have started businesses in high school- some have won science fairs—and all are driven to make a difference. These people start out as complete strangers but yet become your family in only one month. This is a network I plan to tap into for years to come.


During my time at SHAD Calgary, I was exposed to so many different career paths, and it helped me realize that I want to go into medicine to help others because of the inequalities I witness around the world. Every day, people die from treatable conditions because of factors like their socioeconomic status. I hope to change the world one day by providing healthcare in 3rd world countries where people may lack access to technology or education. SHAD helped encourage me to start working towards this goal now.


Aleeza Qayyum (right) and SHAD fellow Isha Verma (left) practicing after a soldering workshop, at the Schulich School of Engineering.


Working at RBC in August after returning from SHAD, it felt surreal walking from Union Station to a tall glass building with 31 floors right by the Harbourfront in Toronto – it almost felt like a dream. RBC has been working actively for the past two years to provide youth more opportunities through RBC’s Future Launch, a 10-year plan to unlock the potential of young people in Canada by addressing the issues of lack of experience, skills and networking. It has provided many youth like me with opportunities. Working at RBC, I never felt alienated because I was the youngest person there; it was a professional environment where my lack of experience and skills compared to everyone else was never an issue. My mentor, Lindsay, was very welcoming and made sure I was always comfortable, and I am truly grateful to have been able to work with such innovative, kind-hearted and intelligent individuals. This wasn’t one of those boring offices you see in movies - I didn’t just sit at a desk all day and type furiously on my keyboard - I was working with RBC’s Feel in Control team, who are working towards adding more features on the RBC mobile app and website so clients are less dependent on bank tellers and are more in control of their banking experience. At RBC, I was able to code in different languages, and I was truly able to apply the skills that I learned with SHAD in a real workplace environment.


Aleeza and part of the RBC Digital Technology OMNI-channel Feel In Control team she worked with.


But it wasn’t just all work and no play. When we weren’t coding or running tests, we played Mario Cart, shot each other with nerf guns, ate a whole lot of candy, and enjoyed the beautiful Harbourfront right in front of us. Leaving RBC, I was encouraged to stay in touch and come back for a co-op placement when in university, and I am so glad to have joined this network of highly skilled people.



Aleeza and one of her coworkers running an end to end test together.


Within these past two months at SHAD and then RBC, I learned how to network, how to be professional in a work environment, how to code, how to run end-to-end tests, and most important of all  how to  prosper and succeed in the future. I have gained countless life essential skills and experiences this summer, and I cannot thank SHAD and RBC enough for providing youth these opportunities. I am leaving this summer feeling more confident and inspired to reach my goals and take on any obstacles, and I have truly become a better version of myself.



Aleeza Qayyum, SHAD UCalgary 2018

Subscribe to this Blog Like on Facebook Tweet this! Share on Google+ Share on LinkedIn

A month at SHAD UPEI

Introduction (Brady Church):

It seems like only yesterday that 48 of us arrived at the tiny Charlottetown airport, clueless as to what we were in for during the month to come. Upon arrival at UPEI we all felt a wide array of emotions. Some of us were excited, some were scared, and others were just trying to figure out how they were going to manage sharing a bathroom with three other people for a month. But one thing was certain; we were all here for the experience of a lifetime, and were determined to make the most of it. There were plenty of ups and downs along the way, but we all made it through, with the help of the amazing community here at SHAD UPEI. Now only one day away from the end, we’re taking the time to reflect back on the incredible experiences and opportunities that SHAD has exposed us to.



Week 1 (Amanda Wang):

The first week of SHAD was jam-packed, with us all learning how to get around campus, meeting 47 other SHADs, and starting to build a community. After a hectic day of traveling and panicked last-minute changes to SHAD speaks and biotiles, we finally got to meet each other and introduce ourselves. The next day, we were tasked with the challenge of completing team-building games as we continued to get to know each other. Midweek, we had our first project meeting and started the process of defining the problem and establishing each others’ strengths and weaknesses. The theme of this year's project would be "Resilience in Natural Disasters" and all of the SHADs were eager to start working on it. Soon enough, the weekend was here and we went camping in Stanhope National Park. Although we were sunburnt and “mcsquato”-bitten, we were too busy swimming, participating in sandcastle building competitions, and having cook-offs around the campfire to notice. To end the night, we went on a silent walk along the Stanhope beach as the sun set in the distance. The only sound to be heard was the waves crashing gently on the red sand shore. After arriving back at the campus the next day, there was a frantic race to the showers and laundry machines. While all the SHADs were exhausted, we were excited for the fun-filled weeks to come.



Week 2 (Bry Daniels):

The minute we hit the grassy lawns of UPEI once more, our camping trip seemed like nothing but a dream - however, something inside of us had changed. Something about the hundreds of "mcsquatoes" and beautiful sunset walks bonded us together more deeply than we ever could have on campus, and we began week two with a passion. In a lecture about creative thinking, we learned that frogs, in fact, can not fly, and explored the importance of learning through reflection. Our favourite lecture of the week was one by Dr. Brian Wagner, known on Instagram as fluorescent_chemist, where we learned the mechanics behind fluorescence and saw its effects in a rainbow of different chemical mixtures. Having also worked on building and programming our Arduino robots, we ‘raced’ our creations in line mazes, allowing our competitive streaks to shine through.



This week we also got into the thick of our projects, having distilled the theme into project ideas. Many of us went back to the drawing board several times. Our fearless leader Kaaren took on the task of introducing us to financial statements in an attempt to aid us with our business plans. Saturday marked a momentous (and much-needed) occasion for SHAD UPEI: our first day to sleep in. General rejoicing was followed by exciting PA-facilitated workshops, and watching Croatia get trumped by France (causing both dismay and elation). We also traveled to one of the many dairy farms on the Island to see its daily workings. Despite some smelly moments, we agreed that hanging out with cows and friendly dogs was one of the more memorable days on our lovely island of ruby, emerald, and sapphire.


Week 3 (Alex Monteith-Pistor):

The next Monday, it was back to business. Throughout the following week we enjoyed a variety of lectures on bacteriology, nuclear waste, and music during catastrophe, as well as different rec activities such as an inspirational dance session and pool adventures. By far, the best one was the first annual SHAD UPEI Olympics. It was a tough competition, full of teamwork, determination, and most importantly, molasses and shaving cream. One of the week's highlights was an inside look in Canada’s Smartest Kitchen, a globally-recognized food product development centre downtown, where we had fun sampling different herbs and sweeteners. We returned downtown on Saturday, the last day before the business plan was due, enjoying delicious ice cream and seafood, and sightseeing around the town. The day finished off with the wonderful opportunity to watch a musical based on an integral part of PEI culture, Anne of Green Gables. When we woke up the next morning, we prepared ourselves for a grueling 9 hours of project time. Tensions were high and emotions fluctuated throughout the day as teams rushed to complete business plans and prepare pitches. Despite the stress, by the end everyone was proud of the work they had accomplished. And with that, the third week at SHAD UPEI was over.



Week 4 (Jason Guo):

From the start, project time was dominated by grueling arguments, tense debates, and frantic brainstorming on how to best increase the resilience of Canadian communities to natural disasters. Three weeks of dedicated work led up to this: pitch night. This process was facilitated by a panel of experienced judges with expertise in science, engineering and business. Each group made its way to the stage to pitch their million dollar idea. Solutions ranged from an ash cleaning robot to a website for connecting survivors, and all were exceptional. Ultimately, we felt that awards didn’t really matter, because we were all extremely proud of what we had accomplished in such a short amount of time.


The next morning, we packed our bags in preparation for the last beach day at SHAD at Basin Head. We had the opportunity to work with Dr. Irene, an environmentalist focused on rehabilitating biodiversity in an estuary near the beach by collecting and planting mussels in mud-drenched bogs. We were also granted freetime to take leaps of faith from the top of a wharf into the water below. Most of us were initially frightened by the height but by the end we were cheering each other on to jump out of their comfort zones. Everyone was drenched in salty water, as we enjoyed our last beach experience in SHAD UPEI 2018.



Conclusion (Eva Redmond):

As we prepare to depart from UPEI for good (or a while anyways… you never know!) one thing's for certain, SHAD was most definitely the experience of a lifetime. We learned something new in everything we did, from the breathtaking sunsets, to the super exciting rec activities, there was a lesson in it all. Last night we all got together and discussed what we had learned throughout SHAD and there was plenty, including: how to work better in teams, broadening our horizons with new topics and challenges, learning to step out of our comfort zone, and of course, how to share one bathroom between four people. Most importantly, we discovered that SHAD is where everyone has, and always will have, a place.



add a comment
Subscribe to this Blog Like on Facebook Tweet this! Share on Google+ Share on LinkedIn

A day at SHAD Lakehead

By: Tee-Tee Appah


Arriving to SHAD was an experience truly unique to everyone. Getting to meet people from across the country, hear their stories and connect with them created an common link between strangers. It wasn't hard for each and every one of us to become familiar with each other, and spark friendships. The moment everyone landed there was a thunderstorm, which was really typical of Thunder Bay. The weather didn't bring us down, as we all participated in introductory games and other activities  


The first day of SHAD was a day to remember. I am still able to recall walking into a huge crowd of students. All from different parts of Canada. All from different ethnicities. All of whom I had never met before. Just as I was beginning to feel nervous someone smiled at me. As I reciprocated a small smile, I noticed that people around me seemed to open up and smile as well. It was at that moment, I started to feel welcomed before my SHAD peers.


During our very first meal together, we met our program director and program assistants. We had a delicious barbeque dinner and cake to celebrate Canada Day. We sang our national anthem with pride and joy. After some ice breakers, we waited until dark. Our Canada day festivities were far from over. When nightfall came we went outside to light sparklers. The beautiful sparklers illuminated the small pond in front of the Agora building. In that moment, all of us SHADs celebrated as Canadians.


At SHAD Lakehead, it is absolutely imperative to spend some time visiting some of Thunder Bay’s beautiful tourist destination. After the first and longest week, we had the opportunity to visit the Amethyst Mine. At this locally owned family business, we were not only able to learn about how amethysts are formed as well as the nature of rocks in that area, but we were also able to search for rocks as souvenirs. Collecting rocks brought our group together. I took notice of the way people grouped together to find what they deemed the nicest rocks. By watching this, I was able to see a beautiful and unique SHAD community taking shape.


In our second week, we had the privilege of participating in an overnight camping trip at Sleeping Giant Provincial park. Even though some of our SHAD community did not willingly identify with an outdoorsy persona, we all eagerly awaited taking part in the camping trip. When we arrived, we spent time bonding by playing frisbee, volleyball and simply conversing amongst each other. That same day, we went for a 13 km hike. At the very end of the hike, we were greeted with the most beautiful view of Lake Superior. Despite its chilly temperatures, we took in the waves with warm arms. We ended off that day with roasting marshmallows, making s'mores and singing campfires songs. We were able to create a memorable and joyous atmosphere with our voices, and the few musical instruments we had.


Here at SHAD Lakehead, a typical day for us consisted of a breakfast at the Outpost (our dining hall). Usually, we would all eat breakfast together, then head over for morning lectures. Most days, our program director put together a lecture for us on various topics, such as Axiomatic Design or Eleatics. All of the lectures were very informative and sparked a new interest in all of us. Following this, we had our SHAD Speaks presentations. Each SHAD put together a ten minute presentation on a topic of their choice that relates to the STEAM field. Our presentations offered a new perception on different topics. Lunch would proceed in the Outpost, we would be greeted by the warm scent of food. After lunch, we would have a presentation by a special guest. Our guests would include several individuals from the Ontario area. We had the privilege of meeting doctors, lawyers, accountants, geologists, and many more exceptional professionals. Our group would always ask as many questions to broaden our knowledge. Before dinner, we we would often have recreational activity in efforts to burn off some of the energy we had pent up all day. This was a great opportunity to play team sports with other SHADs. Once again we would come together for dinner, and talk about all the various happenings of the day. As the days came to a close, we would entertain ourselves with several late night festivities. The room would always fill with laughter and positive energy.


The SHAD program has been an overall memorable experience. We’ve created an atmosphere of creativity, innovation, and fellowship. The eye-opening moments, the adventures, the smile shared between friends. All the little moments, came together and created the perfect SHAD experience. I wish all SHADs nothing but the best life has to offer them. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity that we did not take for granted. An opportunity that will never be forgotten.


add a comment
Subscribe to this Blog Like on Facebook Tweet this! Share on Google+ Share on LinkedIn

A day at SHAD Saskatchewan

An Enlightening Experience

By: Yue Yang Yu


Ever heard of a synchrotron? It’s x-hilarating (because it can emit x-rays)! Bad puns aside, the University of Saskatchewan is very fortunate to have the only synchrotron in Canada (The Canadian Light Source/CLS) on its campus! What is a synchrotron you might ask? In simple terms, it’s an enormous machine the size of several hockey rinks that creates light by firing electrons and accelerating them to near the speed of light with powerful electromagnets so that the electrons emit highly focused wavelengths of light from different spectra to study the interaction of light and matter with the samples that are prepared. On day three, all of the SHADs were fortunate enough to be given a tour of the synchrotron to learn how it works, ask questions, and also learn which studies it has contributed to.



Being the only synchrotron in Canada and alluring scientists from all around the world to work on it, everyone was incredibly honoured and excited to take a deeper look into it. Not to mention having been given a lecture on it the day before, the excitement was palpable. I for one, was lucky enough to be chosen to work further with the synchrotron as workshop material because I bid a majority of my points towards it. Originally, the group that attended the workshop was supposed to organize a project and work with the synchrotron to realize it however, the luck was not on our ends and the synchrotron was unfortunately down for the time being that SHAD would take place.



Unexpectedly, instead of being given further extensive tours on the synchrotron, the group was given an opportunity to work in the chemistry building of the university as well as the Saskatchewan Structural Sciences Centre (SSSC). This means that instead of performing an experiment with the synchrotron, the group of students would formulate an idea to experiment on, and use the equipment available to them from the alternative resources. Ultimately, the idea that was decided was to test how the degree of burning of food affects the levels of carcinogens. To further elaborate, because this year’s SHAD theme is resilience in Canadian communities in reaction to natural disasters, the food would be cooked over an open fire and the items selected were survival food (potatoes and canned sardines). After the samples were prepared: raw sample, cooked sample, burnt sample, charred sample, students were given the opportunity to do research over the course of an entire day on extremely expensive machines. Equipment such as the FTIR (Fourier-Transform Infrared Machine), NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Machine), XPS (Axis Sapra), and GC-MS (Gas Chromatography Mass Spectroscopy) were used. Not only did we complete our research, we identified conclusions from it: through the analysis of our results, we can support the statement that the levels of carcinogens such as acrylamide and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons rise as the starch based foods such as potatoes become charred. Additionally, we presented to several professors, CLS staff, and even the president of SHAD: Tim Jackson at the CLS building during a 45 minute PowerPoint presentation and Q&A. Undoubtedly the Canadian Light Source has been an incredibly unique and educational experience for all the SHADs.


Photos from Canadian Light Source Facebook page 


Read more blogs from SHAD Saskatchewan

add a comment
Subscribe to this Blog Like on Facebook Tweet this! Share on Google+ Share on LinkedIn

A day at SHAD Memorial

The beginning of week 4 is a strange time. All month, Dr. Lye and the team have kept pretty much everything a surprise: lectures, seminars, rec, activities, field trips, you name it. But there aren’t many secrets left. We know what’s next: project presentations, Open Day, banquet, variety show and then home. We’ve handed in our business plans, and while there is still lots to do, it’s hard not to reminisce about this amazing, busy MUNth we’ve had together here at SHAD Memorial.


A group photo from our hike to Cape Spear, the most Easterly point in North America


Some of the biggest highlights were the field trips. We went back in time to the 17th century at Colony of the Avalon and back to 1911 in the Bell Island Iron Ore Mine. But the fan favourite by far was the weekend on Fogo Island. There, we visited the famous Fogo Island Inn, hiked to one of the four corners of the flat earth, and became Honourary Newfoundlanders. We were exposed to Newfoundland culture, music, and food and our community bonds were strengthened immensely.


The view from Brimstone Head, one of the 4 corners of the flat earth


Even though we loved getting off campus, there was no shortage of excitement and entertainment on campus. We participated in rec every day in the mornings and afternoons where we got to enjoy the fresh air and get some exercise. But rec at SHAD MUN isn’t limited to sports; in just the past few weeks, we learned choreography for a flash mob, let loose with some Jamaican moves and learned how to ballroom dance.


A sneak peek of our flash mob dance rehearsal


But we weren’t just learning how to dance. Our daily lectures included a wide variety of amazing topics. From intellectual property and graph theory to indigenous issues and the work of Stephen Hawking, every day there were new topics to discover. And while we spent most of the time listening and asking questions in the morning, we also had the opportunity for hands-on learning experience in the afternoons. At seminars, we dissected fish, built robots, assembled printed circuit boards, learned a musical number and worked through some statistical misconceptions.


A snapshot of our marine biology seminar


Because our days were so full of learning and working, it was nice when we had an evening off to kick back and relax. For our first field trip we had a bonfire at Middle Cove Beach and on movie night, Dr. Lye brought one of his many copies of The Princess Bride and we all watched it together, laughing while we ate freshly popped popcorn. We played board games in the University Centre and took part in a food drive.


Movie night!


Even though the month is almost over, we are eagerly looking forward to the remaining surprises that these final days will bring. We want to find out which team the judges deem has the best house project, we want to sing the SHAD MUN 2018 song at the variety show and we look forward to our last plate of hash browns for breakfast. While our community began with 56 strangers, it is safe to say that everyone will be leaving with 55 new friends plus 16 SHAD MUN team members.


Our group at the Fogo Island Inn


add a comment
Subscribe to this Blog Like on Facebook Tweet this! Share on Google+ Share on LinkedIn

A day at SHAD Mount Allison

From: The last first SHAD MTA gang.

To: SHAD lovers worldwide


40320 ish minutes.

40320 moments so glad.

40320 ish minutes,

How do you measure a season of SHAD?


Now over ⅔ of the way through the first ever session of SHAD Mount Allison, it’s hard to imagine life before I met my new family. 48 of us - teenagers trying to forge their own paths in life - never suspected one could create such a sense of community in such a short time. Putting aside the fact that almost half of us came from the GTA, the SHAD MTA community is truly representative of the diversity that the best of Canada have to offer.



Without knowing it, we began a group of misfits. A resounding theme from our time thus far is that we have all faced adversity and felt alone in our communities. Within the first few days, people started feeling comfortable enough to open up and express their true selves. The more people expressed themselves, the closer our community got. SHAD, first and foremost, is a community built by the people, not strictly the plethora of STEAM-based programs. That being said, the programs were still pretty awesome.


“The workshops gave me a realization that I never know I am good at something before I tried.” - Jake Kim


The group also took a wonderful 48-hour trip to PEI to see a variety of beaches, swim in the ocean, eat some quality maritime food, and, most importantly, bond with all our fellow SHADs! Here’s what some SHADs had to say about the trip.


“Incredible. It was breathtaking. I have never seen such a natural beauty before.” - Sara Jamal


“It was nice taking a hike. It helped me destress and live in the moment.” - William Zhao


“I was able to bond with everyone, I had such a great time, and I would not trade these memories for anything else” - Nadia Shao


"Our trip to PEI provided us with the time to bond and relax.”  - Nika Bajaj



All in all, SHAD is something you can only take one day at a time because you never know what the future holds. All you can do is live in the present. Before we even had the chance to acquaint ourselves with the culture of SHAD, Tri Ho, one of the SHADs here at Mount A, summed it up better than anyone:


“School is 9-3 but at SHAD it’s 24 hours a day. Every day, every hour, every minute and every second is jam packed with tons of energy and excitement. I am sure that this month will be the greatest month of my life.”



It will be immensely sad to leave on the 27th, but there is a certain happiness in seeing how much we have all developed as people in such a short span, and an excitement in thinking how we can apply our skills into the real world for the rest of our lives.


I will never forget the 47 other brave pioneers that paved a path for future generations of SHAD MTA.


By: Shaan Hooey

Photos: Emma Schmidt


add a comment
Subscribe to this Blog Like on Facebook Tweet this! Share on Google+ Share on LinkedIn

The World of Wonders at SHAD UBC



One. Two. Three. FOUURRR!!!


It’s once again fiducial time (What is fiducial? We didn’t know either; apparently it’s a glorified name for role-call). The SHADlings are gathered in Dene House, Totem Residence, ready for an exciting day of adventure, learning, and creative exploration. Every hour, every minute of every day here at UBC, memories are created that will be cherished forever. Or as our UBC assistant program director, the sagacious Jess Tang, so often says:


“Don’t count the days left; make every day count.”


We are an Ohana, and our sense of community is something that cannot be understood until it is experienced first-hand. Though difficult times may pass, whether we are sleep-deprived, sick, or scrambling to complete our house projects, the SHAD UBC Ohana empowers each of us to persevere. At SHAD, the days are long but the weeks are short. One thing that we have learned is the importance of being present throughout the entire month. Here at SHAD, you get the most out of the experience by being front and centre in the action, by taking risks, and by being constantly open to new ideas. We believe magic exists, so long as you believe in its power. From the early morning fiducial to the late night snacks 14 hours later, we are faced with choices that determine what we get out of our experience here at SHAD UBC. Although it may seem intimidating to be your authentic self, what your choices are ultimately decide what the SHAD experience means for you.


“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they are never weaknesses.”


Right from the get-go, you realize how lucky you are to have been placed in such a beautiful campus. UBC is the perfect blend between modern architecture and mother nature. Our dining hall is 200 metres away from the great Pacific. Not only that, the Vancouver landscape is one of innovation and learning一 and our guest speakers have truly embodied this atmosphere. From the amazing Elizabeth Watson and the “art of the meeting”, to Andre Marziali and “Electrophoresis in Early Cancer Detection”, the skills that we have obtained are ones we see in the those with success, but whose secrets we never previously discovered.


Kenton Low on “Best Practices” and his experiences at Walt Disney


“Courage over comfort”


Courage comes in many forms. While there are some who display their true self through a booty-shaking challenge, others choose courage through speaking to someone new, sharing a quirky idea, or voicing their passions. Today, UBC SHADs choose courage during the annual coffee house performance through their exceptional talents in singing, music, dancing, and corny jokes.


Any SHAD would agree that the program moves fairly quickly and because of this, it is even more important to stay grounded. We are present, ready to experience the magic of SHAD UBC to its fullest. This is truly a beautiful feeling and was encompassed on our trip to Granville Island. After a long and fulfilling week of STEAM-inspired lectures and workshops, the SHADs were finally being shipped off campus for another invigorating outing. We were greeted by a gorgeous little shopping district situated on a peninsula off the coast of Vancouver. After a refreshing improv session at the Improv Centre, the 52 of us were blessed with some free time to explore the area. In our groups (of three or more), we ventured into the market to buy fresh produce, into little shops to scour for souvenirs, and into the land and found many picturesque views. To wrap up the trip, we had a picnic on a hill overlooking the water and in that serenity, every SHAD was swept up in the moment. Without questioning how or why we were there, you could feel the familial energy embracing the group. So, wherever we may go, wherever we are, the magic of living in the moment never dies in the family of SHAD UBC.


There is a reason why they don’t tell you the schedule at SHAD until the morning of. Every day is a surprise, and by looking forward to future experiences at SHAD, you miss many opportunities to create magic in the moment. SHAD is designed to not only be the best month of your life, but it will be the best month FOR your life, and by putting our full trust into the program, we can content ourselves knowing that whatever happens during our month of intellectual discovery happens for the best.


Or as we say at SHAD UBC, trust the process.


UBC SHADs at Granville Island


Credits: Kevin Tong, Linna Luo, Michelle Cao, Chanel Robertson, Zoe Morgan

Special Thanks: Gloria Lo & Ryan Zhang  Photo Credits: Jonathan Gin

SHADㅡ Stay Humble And Dream


add a comment
Subscribe to this Blog Like on Facebook Tweet this! Share on Google+ Share on LinkedIn

A day at SHAD Queen's

SHAD Queen's Blog Submission 1:


The SHAD Queen’s community consisting of 56 talented and unique individuals just came back from a tiring but educational camping experience and we were exhausted. Due to our lack of brain cells, the program directors were merciful enough to let us sleep in and also explore the Kingston General Market. After our little shadful vacation, we were finally well rested enough to keep our eyes open during lectures. After a mindful session of Yoga with Gio, during early marn, we had a gourmet breakfast at Leonard hall. The cafeteria never disappoints!


Following the meal, we went to our first lecture in 3 days. I find that all the lectures that we attend in SHAD are planned very well as they teach us skills that really connect with the activities we take part in when were not in the lecture hall. That was very well the case today as we had lectures in digits disruption and astronomy. The lecture on digital disruption was presented by Sumit Oberai and it really showed us how technology has impacted business and communities. This lecture taught us how to innovate and move forward with today's growing markets. The second lecture was presented by Dr. Brian Hunter, a contributor to SHAD since 2001, and it was on the topic of astronomy. Specifically whether there is a boundary between amateur and professional astronomy. During the presentation he told us his stories with amateur astronomy and all the amazing things we can do for a fraction of the money large corporations use. During our camping trip on Wolfe Island we were able to see the stars and planets clearly in the night sky and now with the new information this lecture brought in, we could now tie it in to our amazing camping experience. It turns out this lecture was the last lecture Dr. Brain Hunter will be giving for SHAD and it was very emotional hearing all he did to bring the program to where it is now.


After the lectures we had a gourmet lunch at Leonard hall. The cafeteria never disappoints!


In the afternoon we did a design thinking workshop with Dr. Jim McLellan from the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre.  This workshop was a great opportunity to get exposed to a new way of coming up with a plan. We learned how to do so in a efficient manner by using a software that walked us through the steps of design thinking. The software also had a scoring system that allowed for some “healthy” SHAD competition. In the end we learned all about the process of design thinking and how to do it efficiently. The knowledge that we learn in lectures and workshops are somehow always useful during our group projects and it really makes me question how Jen and Erin manage such a organization.



After the workshop we had a gourmet dinner at Leonard hall. The cafeteria never disappoints!


We ended our education filled day with swimming at the Queen’s Athletic and Recreation Center. Some Shad’s swam in the water and raced with other SHAD fishes while others had fun diving off the diving board. In all seriousness it was a great opportunity to cool down from the sunny humid weather days before.


At SHAD Queen’s, every day is a new day and every day we get new surprises and new countoff records. I can’t wait for the next Shadful days to come!


Leo Cui

SHAD Queen’s 2018


SHAD Queen's Blog Submission 2:


My name is Delwyn Marcoux. I am a pansexual demigirl, but I am also much more than that. I am a SHAD fellow, a UWC student, an avid reader, a french Canadian, an environmental advocate, and a mega-geek just to scratch the surface of who I am. Nevertheless, my gender does have a disproportionate effect on my life … usually. Two days before I was to leave for SHAD Queen's, I was laying in bed, very much depressed, not having packed a thing, and wondering if I was going to be able to go. Ever since I got here though, I have felt more supported than I ever have before, and am able to focus on SHAD, the experience of a lifetime!


My adventure had a mountainous start, with its ups and its downs. Within an hour of passing through security in Comox, BC, I had met Carly Rae Jepsen and had been refused boarding. Leaving the Comox airport, I had both an amazing story and an eight hour later arrival time. Thankfully, the lovely Shtaff were very understanding and accommodated this inconvenient series of events.  


This first day, unpredictable, tiring, yet safe and supported, was a perfect example of SHAD life. You never know what the next day, heck the next hour will bring, all you know is that it will be amazing. Since arriving, we rehearsed and performed a song in two hours, went on a camping trip with ten hours notice, met the CTO of microsoft, found and modeled a solution to the nuclear storage challenge in six hours, and much more than I have room for. You are certainly getting your money’s worth at SHAD, looking purely at activities.


If you add in the lifelong connections made at SHAD, the experience becomes priceless. Looking back, i surprise myself finding that Carly Rae Jepsen is only the 69th most amazing person I’ve met since leaving for SHAD. Everywhere I turn, there is someone to have a meaningful conversation with, someone to share passions with, and someone to learn skills and lessons from. It truly does feel like a large family, with the directors as parents, the faculty as those fun grandparents, the assistants as the aunts and uncles and all the SHADs as non-identical twins.


SHAD is a diverse community that accepts differences with open arms and open mouths full of questions. Many here felt like they might not have been good enough, many are struggling with innumerable demons, but here at SHAD, all your worries disappear and you become your best you.


add a comment
Subscribe to this Blog Like on Facebook Tweet this! Share on Google+ Share on LinkedIn

Humans of SHAD Western 2018

“They are all like family to me.”  - David Zhu, SHAD 2018


A program that hinges on an uncommon purpose among brilliant and passionate individuals is bound to inspire a mosaic unique to the various SHAD campuses; today, we’d like to shed light on those who have immersed themselves in this beautiful program. Over the past few days, myself (Irvin) and my fellow SHAD Ruru have worked on some interviews with other participants. In nearly two weeks, SHAD Western has teased out smiles, laughs, and lasting connections from individuals spread across Canada. A word or phrase cannot encapsulate the entire vastness of talent that exists at SHAD Western 2018, but we hope to evoke a sense of understanding from yourself through these incredible individuals. 


David Zhu, Ottawa, ON


If you were to describe the first 5 SHADs that come to mind with one word, what would it be?


David: People like the Program Managers and Program Assistants and the SHADs have all made this experience amazing so far. If I were to describe them with one word I'd say they are all like family to me. From day one I've felt incredibly included and a lot of people here are like me. I wasn’t expecting to get along with everybody but I was pleasantly surprised.



Kisharne Vashikaran, Toronto, ON

If you were stranded on an island and all you had were spaghetti, marshmallows and string, what would you build?


Kisharne: I feel like since we've done this a ton of times this one should be easy. The first thing I would do with spaghetti, marshmallows and string would be to build a raft and use them to help me write a message. Obviously, I'll be using a ton of triangles cause we all understand that that's what works best.


What do you bring to the table at SHAD?


I bring a positive attitude and the willingness to try new things. I am able to use new experiences to my benefit so that I can learn for the future. To listen to others and hear what they say, and to complete the task to the best of our knowledge.



L-R: Allan Lin (Toronto, ON), Aaron Zhang (Toronto, ON), and Joey Liu (Vancouver, BC)


If money wasn’t a problem what would you do?


Aaron: If money wasn't a problem I think I would still be interested in going into the business and financial professions as that's what I am passionate about and that's what I'd love to do.


Allan: If money wasn't a problem, I would love to try different career fields. I do love math and science so I would probably still study those subjects but then divert into finance in my future as well. I just want to work with other successful people to create products that help the people within our society.


Joey: If money wasn't a problem, I would want to be an entrepreneur who develops ideas that help people in need. Otherwise, I would love to travel around the world and volunteer my time to better other communities. I would definitely try to visit countries in South America just because there's something about it that gravitates towards me.



Akansha Bhargava, Calgary, AB

What motivated you to apply for SHAD?


Akansha: I think what motivated me to apply to SHAD was the opportunity to network with individuals like myself and to be a part of a community that wants to grow, that wants to learn together and work as a team. I think a sense of community brings me pride because I like to see people work together and bring about the change they want to see.



The SHADs of Western 2018 speak of a sense of community, friendship, integrity and we have aspirations to stand at the frontlines of creating change in the world. Through our passions, we inspire each other to work harder and be stronger. SHAD Western has allowed us to get to know each other on a level that cannot be compared. The bonds we have created in the last week and a half are forever. After SHAD we will all be able to work on our goals with perseverance and determination. We are the next generation of physicists, doctors, entrepreneurs and coders. Thanks to SHAD we have the skills to go above and beyond with confidence.


add a comment
Subscribe to this Blog Like on Facebook Tweet this! Share on Google+ Share on LinkedIn