SHAD 2014 saw the largest cohort of students in our 34-year history complete the program and hone their leadership and innovation skills while being immersed in STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering and math). Over 600 students participated in the July program at 12 host university campuses across Canada.
Every year I'm struck by the quality of the participants and the potential that they have to contribute to society. These are young people who apply from across the country and internationally, to attend the program based on their academic record and extracurricular involvement. They may be from small communities where they are one of only a few exceptional students in their school, or from urban areas where they have peers but lack enriched curriculum to advance their interest in STEM and entrepreneurship.
SHAD provides the opportunity for these students to be exposed to expert university faculty and industry spokespeople by attending lectures, workshops and seminars, and to collaborate with peers on group projects and even a simulated startup project.
The primary goal of the program is to help students find what we refer to at SHAD as their Uncommon Purpose: to envision their future potential and understand where their purpose and drive can lead. Many participants refer to SHAD as a transformational experience, after which they look at the world and their place in it in a different way.
SHAD is committed to the mission of providing that transformational experience to unleash the entrepreneurial and innovative potential of exceptional youth. We believe that it can’t be assumed that exceptional students will find their Uncommon Purpose without support. Just as potential star athletes are identified, coached and nurtured based on having the right attributes for success, we need to recognize key attributes and leadership traits of the most promising students and encourage them in their academic excellence.
In 2015, SHAD will celebrate its 35th anniversary, with more than 14,000 alumni living, working and contributing across Canada and beyond. It's an exciting milestone and a cause to celebrate the achievements of all our SHADs – with more innovation to come.