Scholarships lure top science students

March 10, 2005, vol. 32, no. 5
By Julie Ovenell-Carter

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SFU is the first university in Canada to court alumni of Shad Valley - a prestigious science-focused leader-ship program for high-performing teens - with substantial new entrance scholarships.

SFU registrar and dean of student services Ron Heath says the $24,000 Gordon M. Shrum Shad Valley scholarships recognize the "leadership, community spirit and intellectual spark" of Shad graduates - "precisely the kind of students we want to attract to this university."

He notes that Shad claims several science industry leaders and 16 Rhodes scholars among its alumni.

Now in its 25th year, Shad Valley is not a place but a non-profit government- and industry-sponsored program that brings dynamic students in grades 11 and 12 together for the month of July at 11 leading university campuses across the country to develop their scientific and entrepreneurial skills.

SFU is a corporate sponsor of the Shad program held at the University of British Columbia.

Guided by top faculty and researchers, they are challenged to work together to solve problems while meeting the highest standards of ethical conduct, social responsibility, and environmental sustainability.

There is also the option of a four-week co-op work placement for some students. This year, thousands of students from around the world vied for 500 spots.

Barry Bisson, president of Shad Valley, says the Shrum Shad scholarship "is a great example of a high-calibre university working with Shad's high-calibre program to invest in Canada's highest potential youth. We're pleased to have friends like SFU who share our mission to find the best and make them better."

The first Shrum Shad scholarships - between three and five are to be given each year - will be awarded this fall.

Rob Drapala, a Shad alumnus who is a second-year business administration and microbiology student and a member of the track team, says he's confident the scholarships will "cause many more Shads to apply to SFU.

"My Shad experience has enhanced my own university experience by an immeasurable amount. It gave me the confidence to approach adults and engage in meaningful conversation, and has given me something in common with numerous other students here."

For more information about the Shrum Shad scholarship, visit

For more on Shad Valley, visit

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