Program Directors

Charlene VanLeeuwen, PhD

Coordinator of the Teaching and Learning Center

When Shad first came to UPEI Charlene (she/her) got involved and was hooked! The next year she returned as Program Co-Director.

Charlene is Coordinator of the Teaching and Learning Center at UPEI. Teaching and learning is intertwined in much of what Charlene does, it’s one of her passions. She completed her Bachelor of Applied Science at the University of Guelph, and later degrees from the University of Ottawa and the University of Prince Edward Island. She completed her post doctoral fellowship at Royal Roads University while also teaching courses at UPEI, working at two island universities on the east and west coasts And her educational journey continues with Shad each summer.

Outside of work, Charlene is an avid reader of mystery novels. As a volunteer she spends LOTS of time on the pool deck officiating swim meets. She’s also a board member with a PEI-based
organization that works with farming communities in Kenya, where the majority of farmers are women. She shares a love of gardening with her husband, where they happily divide up the gardens so Charlene gets the flowers and he has the veggies.

Joshua Dobrowolski


Shad’s spark was first ignited for Joshua (he/him) at McMaster University as a program participant. Kindled by kindred community, his passion for the unique and formative experience that Shad provides remained aglow up until his return to the program in 2019 as a team member at Shad McMaster. Since 2019, Joshua has continued his work with Shad each summer, and, in 2021, with Shad Canada’s national team.

Joshua has always been a passionate people-person, endeavoring to create spaces for communities to coalesce, converse, and crescendo. He continues to strive to create meaningful spaces for communities through his work in hospitality and event management.

As small and medium-sized nonprofits and corporations transitioned to providing services online during the pandemic, it became clear to Joshua that many were under-equipped to maintain fluid and connected operations with dispersed teams. Seeing this need, Joshua founded Kusp Corp. in 2020 to focus on providing modular, rapidly tailorable applications to support interactive experiences for teams unfamiliar with digital tools. He continues to pair this work with his studies in computer science at Athabasca University.

For Joshua, re-energizing often includes some form of storytelling. Whether through the lens of a cinema camera, acting, creative writing, or, in the liminal space between, the power of stories – our human stories – always captivates.