Debbie Dada considers herself a world changer.

The Grade 11 student from Weston Collegiate Institute in Toronto is one of 65 of the top high school students from across Canada who are participating in SHAD, a summer program for exceptional high school students, at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ont.

Dada said one of her ambitions is to help reduce the high infant mortality rate in developing countries like Mali and Afghanistan.

She has already done research on global health and she is trying to find creative ways to approach the issue.

"I hope to combat this with innovative research in the field of medicine," she said.

Debbie Dada, SHAD program at Lakehead U

Debbie Dada is one of 65 SHAD students who will be working in small teams at Lakehead University for the whole month of July. (Lakehead University)

These students, who competed for coveted positions at SHAD, arrived on the campus July 3 and will live in residence until July 29, attending lectures and participating in workshops put on by Lakehead faculty.

"SHAD is an exceptional experience for students," said Dr. Sultan Siddiqui, mechanical engineering professor and director of SHAD Lakehead. "This program encourages them to work together and think outside the box to solve problems."

The program specializes in science, technology, engineering, art and math and is for students currently completing grade 10, 11 or 12.

This year's group is coming from Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia.