SHAD (summer program)

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SHAD Logo English.png
FounderDr. Derek Lane-Smith
TypeRegistered charity
Area served
Primarily Canada
Key people
Tim Jackson (President & CEO)

SHAD (formerly known as Shad Valley) is an annual Canadian summer enrichment program for high-achieving high school students in July. The program is open to both Canadian and international students. The program is offered at 17 participating universities across Canada.

SHAD focusses on both academic learning through lectures, workshops, labs and group projects as-well as the development of an individual and community. These experiences are usually focussed on the areas of science, technology, engineering, arts, and/or mathematics (STEAM).[1]

There is a rigorous application process, which goes in depth into both the students' academics and extra-curriculars. In 2017, over 1,900 students applied. SHAD normally runs from July 1–27.[2]


The pre-2013 logo of the program.
The pre-2013 logo of the program.

The SHAD program was founded by Dr. Derek Lane-Smith, a teacher, physicist, and entrepreneur. The first summer program ran at St. Andrew’s College in Aurora, Ontario in July, 1981,[3] and has since expanded to 16 university campuses across Canada. The program is named after Shad, the kind of fish found in Shad creek, near Aurora.[4]

SHAD is a non-profit organization based in Waterloo, Ontario. Tim Jackson is the current President and CEO of SHAD.

SHAD Program[edit]

During the month, SHADs participate in various activities including lectures, workshops, labs, group projects, recreational activities and more. SHADs also participate in a Entrepreneurship Project (EP). In the project, SHADs are presented with the current years theme and propose a solution. SHAD also aims to create a community which then expands to the greater 'SHAD network' after the program. At the end of the program, SHADs receive certification of their participation and receive the 'SHAD Fellow' designation.

SHAD Entrepreneurship Project[edit]

Each year, SHAD presents a "Design-Entrepreneurship Challenge" to its participants. The project's "theme," usually an important issue that has both economic and societal implications and differs each year, is revealed to all of the SHAD participants in the first week of the program. The project is to be completed in teams before the program's end. Each group must plan and design a product or service that addresses the issue at hand, create a working prototype and business plan, and pitch their product in a process intended to simulate an entrepreneurial experience.[5]

The 2018 theme was "Helping Canadian communities become more resilient against natural disaster," and was revealed via a video message from NASA and Canadian astronaut Andrew J. Feustel.[6][7]

Previous themes have included: "Disaster & Emergency Preparedness" (2004),[8] "Health & Wellness" (2005),[9] "The Great Canadian Energy Challenge" (2006),[10] "Zero Waste Technology" (2007),[11] "Design with Conscience" (2008),[12] "Nature and Natural Fibres" (2009), "Designing for Canada's Aging Population" (2010), "Improving the Quality of Life for a Canadian Child with a Disability" (2011), and "Preventing/Reducing Obesity in North American Youth" (2012), "How might we improve food security for Canadians?" (2016),[13] "Meaningfully reducing Canada’s energy footprint" (2017),[14] "Helping Canadian communities become more resilient against natural disaster" (2018).

Host universities[edit]


There are currently 17 SHAD campuses:


SHAD Fellows[edit]

SHAD has more than 17,000 SHAD Fellows in 36 countries, 32 of whom are Rhodes Scholars.[15] Among SHAD alumni, there are also Loran Scholars[16] and Schulich Leaders.[17] Additionally, several Canadian post-secondary schools offer scholarships for SHAD alumni.[18][19]

SHAD has many prominent SHAD Fellows including:

  • Joseph Tafese, SHAD 2017, Loran Sholar Finalist, Software Engineering at the University of Waterloo, Dave Black Award for Excellence in Innovation and Entrepreneurship 2017
  • Michele Romanow, SHAD 2003, youngest member of CBC's Dragons' Den, Co-founder of, 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada
  • Ted Livingston (Kik), SHAD 2004, Founder of Kik Interactive, parent company of the mobile app Kik Messenger
  • Bruce Gao, SHAD 2012, Co-founder of Simply Solar, a mobile app that aligns solar panels in 130 countries around the world
  • Darlene Lim, SHAD 1989, top research scientists currently involved in scientific exploration and Mars discovery, working closely with NASA
  • Rameez Virji, SHAD 2010, is awaiting patent approval on a ground-breaking pill vaccine he first started developing at SHAD
  • Mike McCauley, SHAD 2006 & Jay Shah, SHAD 2005, Co-founders of BufferBox, a network of automated package delivery kiosks
  • Jason Farris, SHAD 1984, top executive with the NHL's Dallas Stars
  • Richard Wiltshire, SHAD 2000, working at LinkedIn previously co-founded the Aboriginal Professional Association of Canada (APAC), a supportive community and platform for Aboriginal professionals.[20]
  • Marshall Zhang, SHAD 2010, using supercomputers, he made an exciting discovery in cystic fibrosis research at only 17. He is now studying at Harvard.[21]
  • Gaurav Jain, SHAD 2002, was named one of Forbes' Top 30 Under 30 in Venture Capital in 2015.[22]
  • Stephanie Rozek, SHAD 1993, a social entrepreneur and advocate for increased diversity and inclusion in technology. She is Executive Director of Hive Waterloo Region,[23] and founded both Year of Code Waterloo Region and Hackademy.[24]
  • Fred Bullock SHAD 1985, has been leading ground breaking Information Technology and Entrepreneurial ventures from his home province New Brunswick for more than 25 years. Currently he is the Co-Founder, President and CEO of Cirrus9, a cloud computing and hosted solutions company based out of Saint John.[25]
  • Neil Pasricha, SHAD 1998, his "The Book of Awesome" series and "The Happiness Equation" have landed him on New York Times Best Sellers and #1 International Best Sellers lists.
  • Parker Mitchell, SHAD 1993, Co-founder and former CEO of Engineers Without Borders. He also co-founded Significance Labs, a charity that connects the tech world with low-income America.[26]
  • Todd Reichert, SHAD 1998, Founded AeroVelo, which received a $250,000 AHS Sikorsky Prize for designing, building and flying the AeroVelo Atlas human-powered helicopter, as winner of the Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition. He is also breaking world records in other forms of human-powered transportation. Reichert says SHAD was eye opening. It was the first time he was with a room full of like-minded high achieving students looking to leave their mark.[27]
  • Devon Galloway, SHAD 2004, Co-founded Vidyard, a world leading video marketing platform which is considered a YouTube for business. In 2011, Silicon Valley’s startup incubator Y-Combinator declared the company one of 5 startups to watch.[28] Devon and Vidyard's other co-founder, Michael Litt, were Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneurs of the Year in 2014.[29]
  • Joshua Liu, SHAD 2005, an MD and Co-founder/CEO of SeamlessMD, Liu’s company provides a web and mobile platform used by hospitals to educate, engage and monitor patients going through surgery.[30] Named a Forbes 30 Under 30 in Healthcare in 2014, Liu says there are not too many opportunities like SHAD that help unleash a young person’s potential.[31]
  • Tony Brijpaul, SHAD 1998, co-founded Miovision, a world leader in predictive traffic analysis and management. Based in Waterloo, Miovision has developed technologies that bring outdated urban infrastructure into the 21st Century, preventing traffic gridlock around the globe. Brijpaul says he grew up in a rough neighbourhood in the Toronto area and SHAD gave him the confidence he needed at a critical time.[32]
  • Skawenniio Barnes, SHAD 2005, Received the National Aboriginal Achievement Award in 2010 for helping establish the first public library in her community. Growing up in Canada’s Kahnawake Mohawk Territory, at the age of 13, she recognized a lack of educational resources available in her small community – specifically a library. In response, she launched a media campaign and received 30,000 books from all over the globe. A graduate of Yale and more recently Harvard, Barnes is now a lawyer in New York.[33]
  • Bobby Umar, SHAD 1988, was named one of Inc Magazine's Top 100 Leadership Speakers, and is a 4x TEDx speaker. A social media influencer and thought leader, with over 500,000 followers, Bobby founded Raeallan and DYPB - Discover Your Personal Brand, North America's largest conference dedicated to personal branding. He credits SHAD with the first great influence for his leadership development and dedication to empowering future leaders.


  1. ^ "SHAD Brochure" (PDF).
  2. ^
  3. ^ Aschaiek, Sharon (2003-01-08). "Shad students gain a career edge". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 2008-08-14.
  4. ^ "Is SHAD an acronym?".
  6. ^ "Astronaut announces theme for SHAD summer program from the International Space Station". Retrieved 2019-04-01.
  7. ^ "PAST SHAD PROJECT THEMES". SHAD. Retrieved 2019-03-31.
  8. ^ "2004 Projects". SHAD. Retrieved 2014-12-02.
  9. ^ "2005 Projects". SHAD. Retrieved 2014-12-02.
  10. ^ "2006 Projects". SHAD. Retrieved 2014-12-02.
  11. ^ "2007 Projects". SHAD. 2007. Retrieved 2014-12-02.
  12. ^ "2008 Projects: RIM/Shad Valley Entrepreneurship Cup". SHAD. 2008. Retrieved 2014-12-02.
  13. ^ "Home-SHAD". SHAD. Retrieved 2016-08-30.
  14. ^
  15. ^ "SHAD Rhodes Scholars". SHAD. 2014. Retrieved 2014-12-01.
  16. ^ "Five Shad alumni are 2014 Loran Scholars". SHAD. 2014-03-03. Retrieved 2014-12-02.
  17. ^ "Five SHAD Alumni are 2014 Canadian Schulich Leaders". SHAD. 2014-07-04. Retrieved 2014-12-02.
  18. ^ "SFU targets Shad Valley alumni with new entrance scholarships". Simon Fraser University. 2005-03-03. Retrieved 2008-08-14.
  19. ^ "Dalhousie Announces Shad Valley Scholarships". Dalhousie University. 2005-02-27. Retrieved 2008-08-14.
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