2020 Joseph G. Doria Exemplary Student Award Recipient: Alexandria Gawhary

“I am thankful to my shop teachers who supported and encouraged me to go after my dreams,” said Alex. “I believe in myself.”

The Joseph G. Doria Exemplary Student Award was established in 2013 to promote and encourage the pursuit of a career in welding. It is meant to support a graduating Canadian secondary school student who is entering a full-time welding technician or welding engineering technology program.

Alexandria Gawhary
Ancaster, Ontario
Conestoga College, Welding Techniques

Alexandria (Alex) Gawhary graduated from Ancaster High School in 2020 and is now taking the Welding Techniques program at Conestoga College. Her goal is to build the skills she needs in welding so she can further her education to become a Boilermaker.

Alex grew up in foster care, and was blessed with a wonderful family who gave her the love and support she needed to grow into a responsible and positive young woman. She was on the honour roll from grades 10 to 12. She swam competitively for many years and received her National Lifeguard certificate.

As a child, Alex was always active and creative. “I really enjoyed art and drawing, always incorporating fitness into my life and challenging myself. Welding I feel has all of those aspects I enjoy.”

Alex has always had an interest in the trades, thanks to the influence of her uncles and their careers and hobbies. “I remember looking out the window from my grandma’s house watching my uncles build demolition derby cars, welding, bending materials and creating something worthwhile. I believe having this experience really helped my interest to thrive and grow.”

Her interest in welding grew in grade 10, when she first learned about MIG welding. In grade 11, she learned stick welding, and was one of two students chosen to participate in the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board Skills Welding competition. She was the only female participant and placed fourth in the district. In fact, Alex was the only female student in the trade-based courses she took through high school.

“I am thankful to my shop teachers who supported and encouraged me to go after my dreams,” she said. “I believe in myself.”

She went on to complete two co-op placements—one at The Iron Workers Union 736 and the other at Walters Incorporated. She was given the opportunity to cut steel for weld tests and see how the welds were processed, and she was able to practice stick welding every day.

“At the end of the semester my instructor let me test for my first position flat stick weld test along with my forklift ticket. I was able to pass both! It was a great accomplishment for me.”

Through her courses and placements, Alex learned many things about herself: she has a passion for welding, enjoys working with her hands, and is creative and hardworking.

Congratulations on your achievements so far, Alex! We wish you the best success as you continue your education.

Are you starting or continuing your welding education at a post-secondary institution in Canada? Student awards from the CWB Welding Foundation can help with tuition. Awards range from $1,000 to $3,000. Check out the Awards page to learn more!