By Canadian Immigrant Magazine |

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards, we are looking back at some of the past honourees over the years in this special “Where are they now” series.

Spotlight on Ishita Aggarwal (RBC Top 25 2017)

It’s only been a year since young scientist Ishita Aggarwal was chosen as an RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant and the program’s inaugural Youth Award winner. Since then, she’s managed to tack on a couple more honours onto her growing list of awards, including the Rising Star Award from Health Promotion Canada.

“Perhaps most notably, I have been selected as a Queen’s Young Leader 2018 for Canada,” says Aggarwal, who today continues her work as a research analyst in the neurogenetics and neuroscience research department at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).

“As a QYL 2018, I will receive a tailored package of training and mentoring designed by the University of Cambridge. Additionally, I will take part in a one-week residential program in the U.K. in June 2018, during which I will receive my award from Her Majesty The Queen! I am infinitely grateful to be recognized for this incredible honour and am certain the RBC Top 25 Award contributed greatly to it.”

When the immigration department talks about bringing in the “best and the brightest” to Canada, Aggarwal is a shining example of that. “My family immigrated to Canada in search of new opportunities. Canada promised growth and hope for the future in a way that India did not,” says Aggarwal, who has an honours bachelor of science degree in cell and molecular biology, neuroscience and psychology from the University of Toronto.

Her immigration has definitely been Canada’s gain. She thanks her parents for bringing her here. Canada thanks them, too.

Making an impact on her community

Aggarwal has also remained active in her community work. She continues to grow her online magazine, Behind-the-Scenes, which anonymously shares stories of gender prejudice and discrimination, as well as Mom’s the Word, a community organization that offers free prenatal care workshops for low-income women.

“I remain active in my community. I have had an opportunity to grow my work at Behind-The-Scenes magazine and Mom’s the Word,” she says.

“The Top 25 Award has helped me meet and connect with many influential leaders in diverse fields. It has also given me a chance to pursue opportunities I would not have known about/been considered for otherwise,” says Aggarwal. “This award has shown me that my work and actions can and do have a significant impact on my community and beyond. I have the power to choose the knowledge and ideas I put out into the world.”

Final question for Aggarwal … which past RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrants inspire you the most?
“All of the past Top 25 Award winners have made tremendous contributions to Canada and beyond. The ones who have inspired me the most include Arlene Dickinson (2014), Ilse Treurnicht (2014), Dr. Tak Wah Mak (2015) and Narmin Ismail (2016).

It’s the 10th anniversary of the RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards this year. Learn more about the 2018 awards program here.

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