SUMMERFORD, N.L. — While many teenagers spend their summer at work or just relaxing after the school year, Mckenna Ings of Summerford will be spending her July in a SHAD enrichment program at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario.
Ings, 17, is looking forward to being one of 1,000 students participating in the program at 16 universities across the country.
“I am very excited to be going, but I’m also very nervous at the same time,” Ings said. “I hope to broaden my knowledge at the program and learn a lot of new things as well as meeting new people.”
The SHAD program provides an immersive enrichment experience for students from Grades 10-12. Participants take part in a variety of lectures, activities, and hands-on workshops that allow them to explore concepts related to science, technology, engineering, arts and math (commonly referred to by the acronym STEAM), under the guidance of leaders in those fields.
The program is a perfect fit for Ings, who says her favourite subjects at school are, “Math, with biology a very close second.”
The SHAD students are encouraged to incorporate their academic skills into developing solutions-focused thinking, and working together to solve problems. The goal of this approach is to help participants understand that they do not have to wait until adulthood to make changes to improve their world.
SHAD president and CEO Tim Jackson explains, “We hope program participants 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.”
Ings, who is ready to face the intellectual adventures ahead, says there were two factors that influenced her decision to apply to the SHAD program.
“I decided to apply to SHAD because of how highly a former teacher of mine spoke about the program and because of how enriching it looked to be,” she said.
Since its inception in 1980, 17,000 students have participated in the SHAD program. SHAD activities and programming has been instrumental in helping many students decide on their career plans and the programs alumni include an NHL hockey executive, a NASA researcher, an international best-selling author, and 32 Rhodes Scholars.
Ings is hoping that attending the enrichment program will help guide her in decisions about her future.
“After high school I plan on attending Memorial University, but I’m not quite sure on what exactly it is I want to do,” Ings said. “I’m hoping SHAD might also help with that!”