Tia Gordon is a microbiology major and rising senior at Kennesaw State University. By any measure, she is a remarkable young woman, and she is the winner of this year’s $5,000 undergraduate scholarship awarded by the DRI Foundation.
From Lithonia, GA, Tia is the daughter of Thomas Gordon, CBCP, who is a disaster recovery analyst at Truist Financial Corporation. She plans a career in medicine that incorporates research, which is her passion. Tia has an impressive list of accomplishments and accolades to her credit including being selected for New York University Grossman School of Medicine Summer Undergraduate Research Program (Summer 2021) as well as the Advance Undergraduate Institute Program at Stanford University that aims to introduce students to the campus and provide guidance in the graduate school admissions process (Fall 2020). She says she is “grateful and proud to be awarded this scholarship.”
In her application essay, she was asked to identify the greatest risks that she will face as a future leader (read her essay here). “That really hit home for me,” she says.
“I clearly remember the moment my microbiology professor stood in class a few months before the Covid-19 outbreak and said, ‘We are due for a pandemic. Viruses constantly mutate and it is only a matter of time that a deadly virus will attack.’ I immediately questioned to myself – okay, so if we know that a pandemic can happen at any time how do we prepare? How can individuals, our country, and other nations prepare on an international level? What do we do next?”
As a physician-scientist, she says her “scope of work will go beyond the medical clinic. A significant amount of time and professional effort will go towards advancing scientific research and there is not a more perfect time to discuss not only the important role of scientific research, but the other important factors that can mitigate the risks.”
Tia credits her dad with opening her eyes to the world of business continuity issues and also for driving her to “always do better.”
“Yeah, I always challenged her to do a little better even when she was doing very well,” He laughs. “Even all the way back to coaching her in tee ball, I would always say that you have to work hard at whatever you do. Always work on trying to do your best and then see if there’s a way to do better.”
As it turns out, Thomas got the call notifying him of Tia’s win on his birthday. “That was one nice birthday present,” he says.