Student Spotlight: Ashley Cummings

Bishop’s University is like no other university, with students from all over the world becoming involved on and off-campus in incredible initiatives. Ashley Rose Komangaapik Cummings, an Inuk Bishop’s student from Pangnirtung, Nunavut, has been extremely involved with the Canadian government, non-profit organizations, and NGOs.

Ashley Cummings Bishop's Student

             Cummings didn’t start off as a Bishop’s student. After giving a TEDx talk on campus titled Unattau Aniniusaju as part of a Maple League event, she realized Bishop’s was the university for her. “I loved the energy that Bishop’s had. I was immediately surrounded by other people that wanted to enact change the same way I did, and its students were just so ambitious,” she explains. She proceeded to transfer from Mount Allison University to Bishop’s.

             As Cummings started her first semester at Bishop’s  in the fall of 2018, she also joined the Prime Minister’s Youth Council (PMYC). With this council, she travelled all over Canada. According to Cummings, this was an amazing opportunity as she was part of the 10 candidates chosen out of the thousands of applicants from across the country. Making lifelong friends with members of the PMYC was the cherry on top: “the council’s diversity and readiness to make a change and to speak out for our communities, from focusing on homelessness in Toronto or issues from the far reaches of the territories” was incredibly enriching. As this involvement required a hefty investment of time, along with the extensive travelling, she had amazing professors who helped her balance her academic workload. Dr. Jessica Riddell and Dr. Linda Morra were extremely supportive throughout her time at Bishop’s. “There aren’t enough words for the gratitude I have for these professors,” she says.

             Though her 2 year term with the PMYC has ended, Cummings remains engaged throughout Canada. She is on the Board of Apathy is Boring, which does phenomenal work to increase democratic engagement in Canada’s youth. In addition, she is a co-chair of Kids Help Phone’s Indigenous Advisory Council (KHP), where she helps in increasing KHP’s services for Indigenous Peoples, who have been under served in Canada. Cummings decided to take a break from her degree, and is working in Whitehorse at a local non-profit called Yukonstruct. Cummings states that she feels very fulfilled with what she is doing right now

             A big part of what motivates Cummings is her focus on supporting her Inuit heritage. “We’re such a small group of people, so the basis of my work is getting us heard,” she adds. Cummings enjoys working with NGOs and non-profit organizations and sees herself pursuing a career in this field of work. “I was fortunate enough to have a seat at very important and influential tables, and I need to take advantage of it while I’m there. I need to make sure I’m heard, Inuit are heard, and that the youth in Canada I know I can represent are heard,” she says. 

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