When you have learning differences, public schools can’t always provide everything that you need. This was the case for Presidential Scholar Aliyah Bradley-Davino.
“My parents saw that public schools could not accommodate the differences I have that were impacting my learning,” Bradley-Davino said. “So instead, my parents put me into a hybrid learning environment including homeschooling and small educational learning groups.”
Growing up in Decatur, Ga., Bradley-Davino volunteered with the childcare program of the Decatur Family YMCA, and she used her art as social commentary to protest police brutality, reject white supremacy and support non-intersectional feminism. Originally, Bradley-Davino saw herself going to art school and pursuing her creative passions. After getting into Georgia State, she switched majors from art to special education so that she might help others with learning differences.
“As a transracial adoptee, being in a diverse environment has always been of importance to me and my family,” Bradley-Davino said. “I was always encouraged to love and embrace my identities and wanted a school that gave me that encouragement as well. That is why my father pushed me to attend a racially diverse university like Georgia State. Beyond its impressive programs, Georgia State is located in the heart of Georgia’s biggest LGBTQ+ city. I appreciated how queer-friendly the university was, and getting into the Honors College cemented my decision. I knew Georgia State was the school for me.
“Switching from the arts to majoring in special education with a minor in educational psychology has a lot to do with me realizing the chance I’ve been given,” Bradley-Davino said. “For people with learning differences, a lot of their education is riddled with ableism and what ‘cannot be done.’ Just because I learn things differently does not make my education less valuable. I plan to embark on a mission of providing support both in and out of public schools, especially for the BIPOC [Black, indigenous and people of color] community. I will one day change special education policies and programs for all students of color.”
To learn more about the Presidential Scholarship, Georgia State’s most prestigious and valuable academic award, go to https://honors.gsu.edu/the-presidential-scholarship/.
Story by Boyd Baker, photo by Meg Buscema