Canada’s brightest youth are at SHAD Lakehead for month of July for intense enrichment and entrepreneurship

Photo of Sultan Siddiqui speaking with SHAD students during their orientation.

Sultan Siddiqui spoke with SHAD students during their orientation at Lakehead University on Monday, July 2.

July 2, 2018

THUNDER BAY, ONT. – Grade 11 student Brianna Heal of Whitehorse, Yukon, is familiar with finding creative solutions to problems. She runs her own business and has had to overcome obstacles exclusive to her northern geographical location.

Heal raises her own hens, collects, distributes, and sells the eggs, all in an effort to raise money for her post-secondary education. She decided to raise her hens free-range because of the added appeal, but was faced with the challenge of housing them in northern Canada where summer nights don’t get dark enough for hens to instinctively return to their hen house on their own.

Because she needed the hens to be in their coop in the evenings, Heal decided to train them to return whenever she whistles the Harry Potter theme song. It took months for the chickens to learn, but learn they did.

Heal is one of 65 students from across Canada at Lakehead University for the award-winning program SHAD, which takes place at 16 host universities from coast to coast.

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.

Dr. Sultan Siddiqui is a Mechanical Engineering professor and the director of SHAD Lakehead. He has witnessed the growth of hundreds of young people who participated in the program.

“SHAD encourages young people to get outside of their comfort zone,” Dr. Siddiqui said. “These exceptional individuals have been advising Canada’s prime minister on youth issues and are Canada’s future prime ministers, future scientists, innovators, entrepreneurs, lawyers, and other change makers.”

Heal is interested in treating those who have experienced brain trauma or have degenerative diseases, something she believes SHAD will help her accomplish.

“SHAD will help me reach my goal by giving me the opportunity to meet people who share the same interests as me,” she said. “I feel very honoured to meet and work alongside all of these amazing people.”

This sentiment was echoed by grade 12 student Tyler Hiscock of Trouty, Newfoundland, who is also at Lakehead University for the month of July. He is the first ever to attend SHAD from his small K-12 school of just over 100 students.

“I cannot wait to make my own SHAD family so that I can feel this sense of unity,” Hiscock said. “I am very excited to be representing my school and community.”

Hiscock is one of Canada’s top young public speakers, having won the Skills Canada Provincial Competition two years in a row and placing third in the national competition after only his second time competing in the event.

Hiscock has made a significant contribution in his school, re-establishing a student council to increase school spirit that had previously been discontinued. He was also awarded a grant as part of the RBC 150 initiative to make a difference in his community, where he organized a literacy event for children.

“I would like to change the world through helping as many people as I can,” Hiscock said. “These small changes can be through volunteering, or helping others, or simply through speaking one’s mind. Change can be established by anyone. Anywhere. Anyhow.”

SHAD 2018 runs from July 1 and wraps up on July 27, after which both Heal and Hiscock 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 Dragon’s Den, a NASA researcher, and a best-selling author.

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SHAD produces leaders for Canada through its award-winning, life-changing, pan-Canadian enrichment platform for high school students. Every year, SHAD helps 900 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


Media: For more information or interviews, please contact Brandon Walker, Communications and Marketing Associate, at (807) 343-8177 or




Lakehead University has approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and 2,000 faculty and staff in 10 faculties at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead is a fully comprehensive university: home to Ontario’s newest Faculty of Law in 44 years, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, and faculties of Engineering, Business Administration, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Social Sciences & Humanities, Science & Environmental Studies, Natural Resources Management, Education, and Graduate Studies. Maclean’s 2018 University Rankings place Lakehead University among Canada's Top 10 primarily undergraduate universities, as well as first in Total Research Dollars, second for Citations, and third for Scholarships and Bursaries. In 2017, Research Infosource named Lakehead Research University of the Year in its category for the third consecutive year. Visit