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SHAD to foster the next generation of students

By Will Sloan

Sean Mullin

Sean Mullin, executive director of the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship, attended a SHAD program in 1998.

Beginning next summer, Ryerson will become a host campus for SHAD, a summer youth program for exceptional high school students at a pivotal point in their education.

The program annually sends 700 high school students with a strong aptitude for science, technology, engineering, arts and math to Canadian universities for a one-month educational experience. In July 2017 Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science, Faculty of Science, and the Ted Rogers School of Management will support the first cohort of 60 students.

“We’re looking for curiosity, energy, and a willingness to think outside the box,” said Monica Sauer, program director of SHAD at Ryerson. “We want students who are open to meeting new people and overcoming new challenges to be successful. Ryerson has an entrepreneurship culture, and so it is particularly conducive to SHAD, which is working in teams to create business plans. For high school students that don’t know what Ryerson has to offer, it’s a great program to highlight what is available here.”

“The SHAD program will be made better by being connected to Ryerson’s entrepreneurial DNA, and from Ryerson’s perspective, having these 60 really talented kids come to campus is going to help the university,” said Sean Mullin, executive director of the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship, which made the case for bringing SHAD to Ryerson and engaging various faculties. “These could be students who apply to Ryerson in the future.

“They (SHAD) came in and were blown away by ‘the new Ryerson,’ as they called it,” Mullin added. “They saw how Ryerson was leading in this integration of entrepreneurial, innovative skills development within a university setting, and that’s very much in line with the SHAD mission. When they see zone learning and they see the DMZ and the activities in our science, engineering, and business management faculties, they say, ‘This is what we do in our programs.’”

Mullin himself is an alumnus of SHAD, having spent summer 1998 at the University of British Columbia through the program. “We were exposed to concepts like entrepreneurialism and how to build up ideas into products and companies. We worked together as teams on solving challenges all within a very exhausting but exciting month.”

Annette Chan, a current Ryerson architectural sciences student, was also enrolled in a SHAD program in 2015. “It’s a very transformative experience. It allowed me to meet with so many other people who were motivated, and it just made me more motivated. It showed me that I could do so much.

“It definitely made me a more outgoing person. It made me more motivated to reach out and do the things I always wanted to do. Before, I would be scared—I would think I couldn’t do things because I was young. Afterwards, it made me realize there are so many things I can do.”

“What students get out of it is an experience they’ll never forget,” said Mullin. “They’ll get exposure to ideas and people that will broaden their horizons, and have a launch pad for the next stage in their lives.”


If that sounds like you or you want to know more about SHAD, visit