MSS student selected to take part in once-in-a-lifetime program experience

M’CHIGEENG—At first, she did not expect to be chosen when she applied for one of the positions in the Canada-wide SHAD program, but Manitoulin Secondary School (MSS) student Jocelyn Kuntsi will be taking part in a once-in-a-lifetime program experience. The SHAD enrichment program is named after Shad Creek in southern Ontario, which is close to the school where the program originated in 1981. The SHAD offices are now based in Waterloo, Ontario.

“I really wasn’t expecting to get into the program,” Ms. Kuntsi told The Expositor. “Then I received an email indicating I had been selected for the program, and I thought, ‘it must be a fluke’.”

SHAD Canada is an annual Canadian summer enrichment program for high achieving high school students, held in July. The program is open to both Canadian and international students, and the program is offered at 19 participating universities across Canada.

Ms. Kuntsi was accepted into the prestigious SHAD program that will take place in July this summer. She was not only accepted, she received a full scholarship for this program. SHAD is a 27-day long program for Grade 10 and 11 students. Selected students participate in university level STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics). There is also entrepreneurship content and participants have access to mentors. Students get to attend one university for 27-days, attend lectures, do labs, work with professors and participate in group projects, a website explains.

“We equip youth to take on social and economic challenges with a STEAM lens. Each campus tackles the same real-world problem and designated design teams with assigned mentors develop STEAM-based solutions, pitches and presentations to panels. This is an entrepreneurial experience with a social impact and one of the most loved aspects of our program,” the SHAD website states.

“You apply in October-November,” for the program and have to write a couple of essays and provide teachers for reference,” said Ms. Kuntsi, who is in grade 11 at MSS. “You take a test, like an IQ test, which presents a bunch of scenarios and you have to explain what you would do in each.”

Ms. Kuntsi chose physics and mathematics as her two areas of focus for this program. Now, she is in the process of choosing her preferred university where she would like to attend the program this summer. “About 18 universities across Canada host the SHAD program,” said Ms. Kuntsi. “You have to choose the top seven universities you would like to attend for the program. She explained, “the universities I chose are mostly out of Ontario. The reason I’m thinking of going out of province is because I got in on full scholarship. Normally this is a $6,000 program, not including living expenses, so I’m pretty excited about that because I want travel to see another area.”

Ms. Kuntsi said, “the program is pretty intense, from what I understand. We start at 7 am and wrap up at night, and there are lectures during the day along with labs and workshops.”

Around 1,000 students from across Canada will be taking part in the SHAD program and at each university that is hosting the program, between 50-60 students will be participating.