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  • Teddy Katz

Unique Canadian Program SHAD Continues to Win Accolades

A question for STAN members: what unique STEM based Canadian program has produced almost one Rhodes Scholar for every year it has been in existence, since 1980?

If Canadians don’t know the answer to that question, they should, especially with the skills and talents this country needs to drive the new economy.

The answer is SHAD, formerly known as Shad Valley.

The prestigious program and network continues to grow and win accolades around the country—more on that in a second.

SHAD takes youth with raw talent, real diamonds in the rough, and helps them see and realize their full potential.

Every year, SHAD brings together 800 young Canadians from coast to coast to coast through an innovative month-long summer program at one of 13 partner university campuses. There, students who are in grades 10 to 12 apply STEAM (science-tech-engineering-arts-math) disciplines to real-life public policy and entrepreneurship challenges, forging insights and valuable relationships for life.

Most SHAD Fellows call the program and joining the network transformational as it matches them with like-minded youth from around the country, all driven to make a difference in their community or beyond.

Among the thriving global network of 15,500 SHAD Fellows are 32 Rhodes Scholars, 80 Loran Scholars, and 34 Schulich Leaders.

2016 was a big year for SHAD. The Rotman School of Management’s Creative Destruction Lab named SHAD the winner of its Labour Award as an organization that had a first-order impact on Canada’s competitiveness through the development and promotion of human capital in the areas of science, technology and commerce.

Rotman officials said “SHAD has become one of the world’s leading programs to empower exceptional students early in their education….The spillovers that accrue to Canada as a result of the SHAD program are immense. This award recognizes the unrelenting efforts as a visionary program, identifying and nurturing talent early and thereby laying foundations for our nation’s future."

In October 2016, SHAD was also cited in a public policy paper by the Canada West Foundation as an example of the kind of experiential learning Canada needs to expose more youth to in order to deal with the country’s “innovation crisis”.

The report: “Start em Up: Incubating nextgen innovators” recommends exposing high school students to experiences such as SHAD that will help them think like entrepreneurs. With the addition of Ryerson University in Toronto this summer, SHAD will now be in 13 host university campuses, a record number to match SHAD’s record number of applications. For the third year in a row, SHAD continues to beat the previous year’s number of SHAD applicants, with close to 2000 in 2017. The program is hoping to continue its expansion to find students in rural and more marginalized communities. It is also interesting to note that for the past three years, females have made up about 60 per cent of SHAD participants in the STEM focused program and 87 per cent of SHAD Fellows pursue STEM degrees.

The application process for SHAD begins in the fall. You can help ensure the continued success of this unique Canadian program by telling others the story. Please make sure any diamond in the rough students you come across know about the opportunities that exist at SHAD by visiting

You can also keep up-to-date about SHAD’s activities on its social media channels:

If you are organizing a conference and need a terrific guest speaker, please consider inviting a SHAD Fellow or SHAD President & CEO Tim Jackson. Tim and the SHAD Fellows can share their unique perspectives and stories on topics such as STEM, youth, innovation, entrepreneurship and navigating the new economy.

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