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Trent University hosts its first Shad Open Day

Shad Valley students display their prototypes and business plans for products related to health and wellness

Too gangly, too straight and just plain inconvenient; and since they felt that way about crutches, one group of Shad Valley students took it upon themselves to make them better.

As part of their 21-day experience at Trent University, the group, along with several others, rose to the challenge of designing a prototype and completing a business plan for a new product that will solve an important problem. Trent University was pleased to showcase the work of these 48 high school students as it hosted the inaugural Shad Valley/Trent University Open Day on July 28. From innovative biohazard waste containers to pneumatic gas-lift crutches, this year's participants, known as "Shads," produced products for fields related to health and wellness.

Shad International President Barry Bisson was on-hand to meet with students and to discuss their prototypes. He says Shad Valley's first year at Trent has been a good one, and he looks forward to having more faculty members involved in the program in the future.

"Pretty soon, people will get infected by the Shads," he said. "It's such an exhilarating experience to work with them - As we build links to the intellectual community here, the program will just get better and better."

Celebrating its 25th year, Shad Valley is a month-long program that brings together high-potential youth from across Canada to one of 11 university campuses. All Shads design prototypes and one of the participating teams from each university will be selected to participate in the national competition known as the RBC Shad Cup, held in Waterloo this October. In this competition, teams from each of the 11 universities will be judged on the quality of their prototype and business plan as well as the application of scientific principles and the effectiveness of a web site to communicate their product concept.

The team that will represent Trent at the RBC Shad Cup developed a prototype of a EpiPen "holster". When the EpiPen is removed from the holster, it would transmit a GPS signal and alert the company selling the product, so that emergency help could be summoned and the user would be easy to find. The prototype holster, on display at Open Day, simulated the GPS-satellite effect.

For background on the Trent University / Shad Valley partnership, visit

Photo 1: Shads with their product, pneumatic gas-lift crutches.

Photo 2: Elaine Lau with the winning product, the EpiPen "holster"

Posted July 29, 2005

















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