Canada’s Brightest Youth Set to Arrive at SHAD UPEI for Month of Intense Enrichment and Entrepreneurship

PEI Premier Wade MacLauchlan set to address graduating SHAD participants July 26
Thursday, June 28, 2018

The following is release on behalf of SHAD: an award-winning enrichment and entrepreneurship program and network that empowers exceptional high school students – at a pivotal point in their education – to recognize their own capabilities and envision their extraordinary potential as tomorrow’s leaders and change makers.

Grade 11 student Amy Mebesius of Chilliwack, British Columbia, knows all about overcoming adversity. Her father passed away when she was just 12 years old and she has experienced severe anxiety ever since. Her family also faces financial barriers but she doesn’t let that hold her back. 

Not only is she heavily involved in her school, participating in things like Student Council, but she has achieved an exceptional academic standing. Being a dancer, Mebesius participated in a group dance where she opened up about these experiences. She danced to an audio recording of herself walking the audience through her difficult journey of losing her father. 

She said she gains motivation from her father’s death, seeking high grades to make him proud, as well as from her mother, who taught her to never give up when times are tough but to instead let her passions “be her guiding light.” 

“Through these obstacles, I have learned that I am strong, resilient and determined and that no matter what the world throws at me, I will persevere and succeed,” Mebesius said. “I have learned that even though times get hard, that things WILL get better even though it may take years of feeling defeated, that nothing will ever go right, it will if you always put your best foot forward.” 

Mebesius is one of 48 students from across Canada heading to the University of Prince Edward Island for the award-winning program SHAD, which takes place at 16 host universities from coast to coast. UPEI is one of three new host campuses to join SHAD in 2018, along with Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick, and McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. To celebrate the launch of SHAD-UPEI, Premier Wade MacLauchlan will address the first graduating class of SHAD Fellows from the SHAD UPEI program on July 26. 

Founded in 1980 to help youth reach their full potential, students in grades 10 to 12 are immersed in a one month enrichment program focused on STEAM: science, technology, engineering, arts and math. The students interact with renowned university faculty and visionary corporate leaders. In a unique element of the program, the students are challenged to come up with an original solution to a societal problem they learn about in the first week. It teaches them about entrepreneurship and innovation and leaves the students seeing how they can make an immediate impact. 

“These exceptional students from all parts of Canada spend the month of July together with their peers and mentors. We hope they end the month not only dreaming big, but empowered with the tools and passion they need to take risks, roll up their sleeves and get going,” said SHAD President and CEO Tim Jackson. 

Mebesius hopes to one day use her experiences to help others in need, just like she once was. She believes SHAD will help her reach that goal. 

350-100 Regina St. S., Waterloo, ON N2J 4P9 Canada
T: (519) 884-8844
F: (519) 884-0665

“I am incredibly excited to meet such amazing and hardworking youth like me. I know I will be inspired by my peers and I hope to inspire them too. I am enthusiastic to be surrounded by people with drive, aspirations, and dreams,” she said. 

This sentiment was echoed by grade 10 student Jessica Guo of Toronto, Ontario, who will join Mebesius at the University of Prince Edward Island this July. 

Guo is heavily involved in athletics. She is a gold medalist in competitive synchronized swimming and is an amateur boxer. She uses her athletic strengths to teach children needing special assistance how to swim. Before she excelled in sports, however, she had to overcome both chronic joint pain and her fears. 

“I had been living around physical restrictions and activities that I thought I couldn’t do. Pushing past those barriers made me rethink my life and it had a big impact on me,” Guo said. 

Proving she excels in more than one way, for a science project Guo designed a bracelet for patients with Alzheimer’s disease that allows their caregiver to locate them to monitor their health and to get them the help they need. Guo wants to pursue a career in medicine. 

“My doctors, from specialists to physical therapists, have greatly helped me and the way I live my life so I have always looked up to them,” said Guo. “I want more people to have access to good healthcare. So many people could be saved or wouldn’t be sick if they had the same healthcare that people in wealthier countries do.” 

“I am proud and honored to have been chosen and I am very grateful to be able to spend the summer at SHAD. I think any person who is given such a unique and meaningful opportunity should feel this way,” said Guo. 

SHAD 2018 commences July 1 and wraps up on July 27, after which both Mebesius and Guo will join other change makers and top innovators in an impressive network of nearly 17,000 SHAD Fellows, including an NHL hockey executive, a serial entrepreneur on CBC’s Dragons’ Den, a NASA researcher, and a best-selling author. 

– 30 – 


SHAD produces leaders for Canada through its award-winning, life-changing, pan-Canadian enrichment platform for high school students. Every year, SHAD helps almost 1,000 young Canadians tap into their full potential through an innovative month-long program at one of 16 partner university campuses. There, students apply STEAM (science-tech-engineering-arts-math) disciplines to real-life public policy and entrepreneurial challenges, forging insights and valuable relationships for life. Among its thriving global network of close to 17,000 SHAD Fellows and innovators are 32 Rhodes Scholars, 88 Loran Scholars, and 55 Schulich Leaders. For more information, visit 

For more information or to set up an interview, please contact: 

Teddy Katz, Vice President, Media Relations | SHAD or call (647)505-8095 

Dave Atkinson
Research Communications Officer
Marketing and Communication
(902) 620-5117
Contact UPEI