A head full of STEAM
Thursday, Jun 23, 2016 06:00 am
A local high school student has gained entry into a national program that fosters future innovators and entrepreneurs.
Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Academy student Freya Morgan was accepted to SHAD, where she will focus on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) from July 3-29.
SHAD is an organization that has helped exceptional high school students reach their full potential, partly through direct interactions with corporate leaders and university faculty.
“It’s really exciting that I’m going to meet a lot of people who are like-minded individuals like me,” said Morgan. “Just the whole idea of SHAD … it’s so many different experiences combined into one that I can hopefully choose where I want to go (after high school).”
Morgan will travel to the University of New Brunswick – one of 12 host universities across Canada that will host approximately 700 national and international Grade 10 to 12 students.
Each student applying for SHAD has to demonstrate why they should be chosen for the program. This includes examples in an essay on what leadership roles they’ve undertaken and how they’ve been creative and innovative in that environment.
“They said (STEAM) was going to be a lot of hands-on learning, but it’s also centred around entrepreneurship and the final project is for a useful impact,” said Morgan.
Every year SHAD’s students are given a theme or challenge at the beginning of their tenure.
For it, students must collaborate in small groups to devise an original product or service, for which they will build a business and marketing model and present an operating prototype.
The challenge the students face in one month simulates what they will face later in the real world, said Barry Bisson, SHAD president.
“They leave the program all fired up about innovation and with an entrepreneurial spirit many never even knew they had,” said Bisson.
“They have to stare down impossible odds and obstacles in one month, take risks and, in the process, start thinking about solving complex global issues.”
The theme bodes well for Morgan’s knowledge as she has had practice as part of OLS’s International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) team, the BreaKERS.
The iGEM team’s original idea to solve a local issue is to find a natural solution to breaking down human hair in the wastewater system, which includes presenting their process orally and through a website and poster.
In fact, to aid her in gaining entry, Morgan wrote an essay about her iGEM project for SHAD organizers.
“I’ve been on the team since it started, so I wrote about that and how it really has given me a passion for science,” said Morgan.
SHAD, a Canadian charitable non-profit organization, was founded in 1980 and has nearly 15,000 alumni.