Alumni Profile: Ashley Cukier '04 (Pre-U '05)
Speech Language Pathologist
It was not long after leaving the halls of LCC that Ashley Cukier returned. Armed with a Bachelor of Science degree from Brandeis University and a Master of Science from Syracuse University, Ashley came back to what she would call her second family. Now a speech language pathologist in private practice, she devotes several hours a week to supporting students in the Learning Enrichment and Development (LEAD) Centre. “The LCC community helped me develop a strong foundation at a young age, and I wanted to give back to the community that helped shape me,” she says.
After graduating from LCC’s Pre-University program, Ashley embarked on a journey that had her travelling the globe. “When I was at Brandeis, I went on exchange twice – to France and Australia – and both experiences helped me come out of my shell,” she says. “It was great living on my own, meeting interesting people and being exposed to different cultures.”
Ashley credits the Pre-U program, in part, for nurturing this sense of independence that allowed her to venture beyond what was comfortable and known. LCC was also a place where she gained confidence and learned how to think creatively and set goals. An athlete at heart, Ashley joined as many sports teams as was permissible during any one season at LCC. “I was very involved in the athletics program as well as community service,” she says. “All of those diverse experiences allowed me to explore many different things and taught me not to be afraid. I learned how to navigate speed bumps along the way and to deal with both success and failure.”
This ability to juggle competing demands throughout her schooling serves her today in her chosen career path. Ashley works with different types of clients who have varied needs, including autism spectrum disorder, childhood apraxia of speech, fluency, expressive and/or receptive language delays, and articulation disorders. Balancing priorities, in both her work and personal life, is a skill that she says was achieved at LCC.
Ashley was a pioneer, coming to the school in 1995, the first year that girls were admitted to LCC. One of eight girls in her grade 3 class, she became part of a tight-knit group which, years later, maintains closes ties. “I always felt – and continue to feel – a strong sense of belonging,” she says. “And I think the coeducational experience, which was new to me having come from an all-girls school, was important for my development.”
As she reflects on her time at LCC, Ashley is quick to acknowledge the exceptional teachers. If coaxed, she might even launch into a song about French verb conjugation, which she still remembers from M. Tremblay’s class. Ashley feels truly fortunate to be able to step through the doors of LCC every week as a speech language pathologist, over a decade after walking through those doors as a student.