UPEI hosts Shad participants from across Canada in July

Shad participants
Shad UPEI participants at a PEI beach

Fifty senior high school students from across Canada spent the month of July at UPEI, participating in Shad, a STEAM (science, technology, education, and mathematics) and entrepreneurship program offered at 18 university campuses across Canada. 

During their stay, the students took part in lectures, workshops, and labs covering a wide range of topics—from cryptography, exercise physiology, biomechanics, and One Health to astrobiology and moral philosophy, to name a few. They also got a taste of campus life by living in residence.

They formed teams for design-entrepreneurship projects based on the question, “How might we enhance the well-being of Canadians?” Resulting projects included a friendship lamp-type device that promoted collaboration to engage in physical activity; an app that provides healthy recipes from broader range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds; a waterproof and shock-resistant product to secure insulin pumps during intense physical activity; an interactive website for youth and educators with sex ed resources that represent wider diversity; and more. The teams were supported by mentors from several UPEI faculties as well as the community.

Leo Liu, of Toronto, Ontario, said that attending Shad was a valuable experience. He enjoyed the variety of educational and recreational activities incorporated in the program.

“Shad was fantastic,” he said. “It helped us to discover ourselves and make new friends.” 

Camille Hanry, of Summerland, British Columbia, said that Shad opened her eyes to a lot of new things and possibilities.

“I really enjoyed it. It gave me a network of friends across Canada. And the workshops were very interesting and valuable.”

Dr. Charlene VanLeeuwen, program director of Shad UPEI, said that benefits of being involved with the program extend beyond participants’ exposure to STEAM activities.

“At Shad UPEI, participants become part of a community of problem-solvers and change-makers. While the academic sessions, hand-on labs, and design-entrepreneurship project are important foundations for our program, to me it’s the personal development, eye-opening moments, and network of friendships with peers from all regions of Canada that are the lasting take-aways for our Shads.”

The students learned a lot while they were on campus, and they also enjoyed field trips that included touring the UPEI Centre for Climate Change and Adaptation, Canada's Smartest Kitchen, and the Culinary Institute of Canada; attending the PEI Pride Parade and shows at the Confederation Centre; making and tasting bannock cooked in the traditional ways of the Mik’maq and designing and building elaborate sand sculptures while camping at Stanhope Campground; learning about historical and contemporary potato production during a farm visit; checking out the singing sands at Basin Head; and deep-sea fishing off North Rustico.

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