Meet the 2021 Winners of the Captain Judy Cameron Scholarship
Mar 01, 2021

As part of Air Canada’s efforts to promote non-traditional aviation careers to the next generation of women, it established the Captain Judy Cameron Scholarship in honour of the airline’s trailblazing first female pilot. The scholarship recognizes and high-potential women studying in aviation and aerospace and is open to young women pursuing non-traditional aviation careers as commercial pilots or aircraft maintenance engineers who may not have the financial means to do so.

This year’s winners are: Kahina Gagnon, Urooj Ali, Winnie Ho and Caitlyn Lam.

“After such a difficult year, it is especially uplifting and encouraging to see these four young women determinedly pursuing their dreams in aviation. Their accomplishments to date are outstanding, as is their desire to inspire and assist others. Air Canada made it possible for me to experience the most amazing career in the world, and I am grateful for their encouragement of other women in their passion for aviation,” said Judy Cameron, Boeing 777 Captain at Air Canada (retired), and Director, Northern Lights Aero Foundation.

“I would like to start by congratulating Urooj, Kahina, Caitlyn and Winnie on winning this prestigious award. As I reviewed all the applications, I realized what a significant achievement it is to win the Judy Cameron Scholarship. Each and everyone of you should take extreme pride in being selected for this award,” said Captain Murray Strom, Senior Vice President, Flight Operations for Air Canada

“One day, I’d love to be an airline pilot for a company like Air Canada, and have a wonderful and successful career like Judy. One of my long-term goals is to make a contribution by working with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), and maybe the Transportation Safety Board as well,” said Kahina Gagnon, who is studying in Air Transport Management at the University of Quebec in Chicoutimi (UQAC).

“My ultimate career goals are to eventually graduate university and then be hired by Jazz Aviation, gain some new experiences And eventually work my way up to the national carrier, Air Canada, and one day, hopefully become Captain,” said Urooj Ali, who is in her second year of studying Geography and Aviation at the University of Waterloo and is working toward her commercial pilot’s license at Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre.

“There is a lot of support and a lot of role models that you can look up to this day and age where nobody is really looking down on you for being a woman who wants to fly. And it is really encouraged by a lot of other people, so just go for it,” said Caitlyn Lam.

She recently completed her BSc at the University of British Columbia with a specialization in Cognitive Systems and is pursuing her Commercial Pilot License.

“If you have the passion, it is not going to be the easiest thing in the world. I have had many times where I am like 'can I really do this?' But you can do it, and there are so many organizations and people out there  who will support you throughout your journey and it is so worthwhile,” said Winnie Ho, a third year Science and Aviation student at the University of Waterloo who is also doing her flight training at the Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre.

The winners of the Captain Judy Cameron Scholarship for 2021, awarded in partnership with the Northern Lights Aero Foundation, each receive $5,000 toward their studies in aviation.  All four young women are also pursuing their commercial pilot’s license.