Waterloo, June 29, 2020 – Canada’s premier STEAM enrichment program, Shad Canada, is launching a 20-day online program that concludes with a spaceflight competition with Blue Origin. In an unprecedented move to pivot their legacy live-in program in the face of COVID-19 closures, Shad has designed a STEAM program with synchronous online sessions for 600 high school students.

“The Shad program is based on the principles of resilience and adaptability in the face of adversity, so it was only natural for us to take our live-in STEAM program online,” said Tim Jackson, President and CEO, Shad Canada.  “We were very purposeful in the design of ShadOnline and started with intended impacts that clearly identified our program goals.  We partnered with Luna Design and Innovation to custom design sessions for a spaceflight competition – which will be the first ever in Canada – with the visionary space leader Blue Origin.”

Participants in ShadOnline will work in pan-Canada teams and pitch a microgravity research experiment that they believe will have an impact on humankind.  Projects will demonstrate a meaningful and creative way to use space as a research platform, and bring value to the scientific community. One winning team will build and fly their experiment on a future flight of Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket.

“Blue Origin is passionate about the future of people living and working in space to benefit Earth,” said Dr. Erika Wagner, payload sales director for Blue Origin. “Through payloads on our reusable New Shepard vehicle, we hope to inspire students to pursue careers in STEM and invite them to visualize their own possibilities in space.”

The ShadOnline program is also bringing together leaders from across the country to participate in keynote addresses with prominent Canadians such as Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Dr. Donna Strickland, Jeff Cyr and Michele Romanow. The 100-hour program runs with synchronous and asynchronous sessions opening participation from those across time zones and those with varying homelife responsibilities.

“Especially in the face of COVID-19, it’s clear that the skills needed to excel in the workplace of tomorrow are changing,” said Mark Beckles, Senior Director, Youth Strategy and Innovation at RBC, a funder of Shad Canada. “We’re proud to partner with Shad through RBC Future Launch to support all young Canadians in identifying and developing the skills they need to succeed – regardless of where they live or the resources they have access to.”

“We took a purposeful stance to ensure every student had their broadband and device needs met to fully participate in our program,” said Jackson. “We chose an evening timeslot to run our synchronous sessions to ensure students that have work or family responsibilities would still be able to join and complete the program hours.”

“With this program, students will gain a number of important STEAM skills, which not only help fuel Canada’s innovation economy but also underpin many of the exciting career paths that they might be considering,” said the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “I hope this program inspires young Canadians to push the boundaries of human ambition in space and research and to always aim higher for something greater.” 

ShadOnline will run from July 6 to July 31. Shad’s live-in STEAM enrichment program has run for 40 years and has over 18,000 alumni in its network. This is the first time Shad will run a fully online program.

About Shad Canada: Shad Canada is a STEAM and entrepreneurship program for students in grades 10 and 11. During the month-long program, students live on campus and participate in a real-world design challenge that prepares them to take on social and economic challenges. Shad’s program is transformational and life-changing and many Shad’s go on to innovate and start their own businesses. Shad has 19 campus partners, a network of 18,000 program graduates and has been running STEAM programs since 1980. Learn more at shad.ca

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