2022’s William G. Davis Scholarship winner will change the world, one brain at a time
Sep 8th, 2022 | By FCT
We just had the pleasure of awarding this year’s William G. Davis Scholarship. Named for the late Honourable William G. Davis, a chairman of FCT’s board, former education minister and Premier of Ontario, the award has reflected his passion for education and investing in youth since its inception in 2015.
For the last four years, we’ve awarded it in partnership with Home Suite Hope, a charitable organization that supports single, unhoused or otherwise at-risk mothers and their families by providing them with housing, support networks, education funding and a path to self-sustainability.
Meet this year’s winner: Aaliyah Gordon, an extraordinary young woman with a love of science and a passion to care for others. She’ll be starting at Wilfrid Laurier University this fall to begin her journey towards her dream career as a neuropsychologist.
Aaliyah recalls the moment she learned she’d won the scholarship. “I was in the kitchen washing dishes when Mom got the call. We jumped up and down in the living room—it was very exciting and so surreal. I couldn’t believe it actually happened!”
Besides her studies, Aaliyah has a long history of impactful volunteer work. She and her mother run a not-for-profit organization called No One Goes Hungry, which provides free meals throughout the Halton region using recovered food.
“There was a time where I lived at a women’s shelter with my mom,” Aaliyah recalls. “It was a struggle, and we could see how the other moms and kids were having a hard time, too. My mom and I would go out and grab groceries, then cook for everyone. That’s where we first got the idea for No One Goes Hungry.
“We set it up later on, in Mom’s Caribbean restaurant. We just cooked meals with the extra food we had there and gave it away. Things grew from there, and we were able to help a lot during COVID. I love seeing people being able to have good food without worrying how to pay for it. You never forget the looks on people’s faces.”
For Aaliyah, cooking is about togetherness. “I remember recently I was at a festival with my sister, just making peas with rice. But we were side-by-side in the kitchen, laughing, singing along with the music. That’s what made it special. It’s even more rewarding when the food tastes great!
“I first learned to cook helping out my grandma because she had a lot of medical problems and eating well helped with them. She used to call me her little nurse. I’d make sure she had the right pills, and tried to learn how to do diagnostics. I learned from that just how much I love the study of not just humans, but biology in general. It’s fascinating! There are so many things to discover and understand.”
Early experiences with social workers left Aaliyah with a strong desire for a career working with people struggling with their mental health. That drive to help people met her fascination with biology, and set Aaliyah on her academic path.
“Neuropsychology is a study of human behaviour and a way to try and solve problems that might feel impossible for many people. The more we understand, like if and how traits such as depression can be handed down genetically, the closer we are to better diagnoses and treatments.
“There are so many people who deserve help but don’t get it. That hurts to watch. Our Black community gets misrepresented in medical fields, and that has real consequences for us. For me, neuropsychology is where science meets social work. It’s how I can help.”
We’re invested in our communities, which is why meeting people like Aaliyah and helping them towards their goals means so much to us. Congratulations Aaliyah, from everyone here at FCT. We wish you all the best in your studies—you’re going to go far.
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