Elise Lynch, 17, found out earlier this year that she was one of 801 students from across Canada and abroad to be selected to participate in a SHAD summer program. She's the only Hants County teen involved in the program.
Lynch said her math teacher at Avon View High School told the class about the program, which piqued her interest. She did some research and applied last fall.
“I'm really interested in science and it sounded like there would be a lot of good opportunities. I thought it might help me find out more of what I'm interested in, post-secondary wise,” said Lynch, who is in Grade 11.
“I like physics but my favourite is probably chemistry and biology. I especially like human biology,” she said.
Lynch received the letter welcoming her to the SHAD program in February.
“I was really surprised because I heard this year there was a record number of applicants that applied,” she said.
This year marks the third consecutive year for SHAD to have received a record number of applications.
Lynch's mother, Tina Leighton, hopes the program will further inspire her daughter to chase after her dreams.
“I am very proud of her. I think it's a huge opportunity — an opportunity that not many people get,” said Leighton.
“I just think it's going to change her life. I'm so excited for her.”
Lynch will head to Ontario July 2-28 — a trip that she says she's both nervous and excited about taking.
Her mom says the trip will also serve as a way to prepare her daughter for university.
“I think it'll help because she'll be living in a dormitory and there will be a meal hall. It'll kind of ease some of the nerves about going to university too,” said Leighton.
According to its website, SHAD, a registered Canadian charity, “empowers exceptional high school students — at a pivotal point in their education — to recognize their own capabilities and envision their extraordinary potential as tomorrow’s leaders and change makers.”
The month-long program focuses on science, technology, engineering, arts and math.
“Past students rave about the program and how it transforms them. That’s why we’re trying to ensure SHAD is known and available to every eligible student across the country,” said SHAD President and CEO Tim Jackson in a press release.
Aside from lectures and workshops, at the beginning of the month, students will be presented with a theme or social problem to work together to address. They will be tasked with developing an original product or service to fix the issue, and are taught everything from building a business plan and marketing to how to develop a prototype.
Thirteen Canadian university campuses will play host to students this summer as part of the SHAD program.
“I'll miss her but I know it's only a matter of four weeks and she'll have so many great stories to tell me when she gets home,” Leighton said.
When Lynch returns to Falmouth, she's not going to take the rest of the summer off. She already has an IT internship lined up for August in Halifax.
To learn more about the program, visit: http://shad.ca
Did you know?
32 SHAD alumni are Rhodes scholars
SHAD was founded in 1980 in Waterloo, Ontario
There are more than 15,500 SHAD alumni
Students in Grade 10-12 can apply to take part in SHAD.