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Laurentian University hosts Canadian high school students for bilingual, tricultural summer program

Shad Canada partnership equips youth to tackle challenges via STEAM-based solutions.

(July 28, 2022) - Fifty-six grade ten and eleven Canadian high school students have been keeping busy on Laurentian’s campus, participating in Shad Canada’s twenty-seven day program from July 3rd through July 29th. Laurentian University is one of twenty-one host universities across the nation in partnership with Shad Canada, a not-for-profit organization who equip youth to tackle social and economic challenges via a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) and entrepreneurial lens.

“We have students participating in this year’s program from nearly every province,” said Christian Laforge, program co-director, Shad Laurentian. “This year’s cohort is a very talented and diverse group. Some are provincially or nationally ranked athletes, others are well versed musicians, or national science fair winners.” For many of these students, this is their first time being away from home for such a lengthy period of time.

Shad students (referred to as ‘shads’) immerse themselves fully in the program by living in residence on Laurentian’s campus. Shads follow a carefully planned schedule of activities that finds them attending academic lectures and workshops, participating in canoe trips and camping adventures, and engaging in Indigenous teachings, thanks to Laurentian’s tri-cultural identity. This July, eighteen out of twenty-one Shad Canada partnering institutions offered the Shad program, and Laurentian is the only institution that offered a bilingual experience. 

While educational and cultural enrichment via a STEAM and entrepreneurial lens is central to Shad Laurentian, so is the promotion of a sense of community. This kept in mind, Shads benefitted from visits across Greater Sudbury, including to Collège Boréal, Cambrian College, Dynamic Earth, Science North, NOSM University, and even a local farmer’s market. A grant from the City of Greater Sudbury’s Event Support Fund, through the Tourism and Culture department, helped subsidize some of Shad Laurentian’s programming, developed around the theme of wellness. 

“The City of Greater Sudbury and Sudbury Tourism are proud to support this program that provides a transformative learning journey for students from across Canada,” said Mayor of Greater Sudbury, Brian Bigger. “The Shad program provides a unique experience unlike any other, allowing students to learn about STEAM and entrepreneurship while exploring the surrounding learning environment here in Greater Sudbury.” Mayor Brian Bigger visited the University’s campus in July, to meet Laurentian shads.

While Shad Laurentian 2022 wraps up this week, today, Shads have the opportunity to showcase what they’ve learned and enjoyed most about the program through an Open Day of activities. 

“This is a fantastic group of young people. Over the last three weeks we’ve watched them explore their own interests in the STEAM fields, work as teams, ask questions, and come up with solutions. Their energy and enthusiasm is contagious,” said Shad Laurentian co-director and Full Professor at Laurentian University, Dr. Thomas Merritt.

Shad Laurentian anticipates many future years of success through partnership with Shad Canada. Not only does the program offer a unique educational opportunity to high school students who may be interested in the pursuit of future studies at the University, the program also employs several current and former Laurentian students.

“Shad Canada is thrilled to have Laurentian University join our complement of in-person program offerings in 2022. We are excited for the exceptional tri-cultural experience they are offering our pan-Canadian participants!” - Leanne O'Donnell, Director, National Programs, Shad Canada.

For those interested in future opportunities through Shad Laurentian, please contact Christian Laforge at or Dr. Thomas Merritt at