Faculty Focus: Dr. Ashley Fecht, Assistant Professor, School of Occupational Therapy
Growing up in the small town of Gothenburg, Neb., population 3,400, Dr. Ashley Fecht used relationship building to discover the world of occupational therapy (OT).
Fecht changed her major several times after beginning her college career on a Chemical Engineering scholarship at the University of Nebraska.
“It evolved from continuing sciences to pre-med, but I discovered that I wanted to be an occupational therapist during my junior year,” she said.
Shortly before reaching that conclusion, Fecht met one of her sister’s friends who worked as an OT. The more she learned about the profession, the more she fell in love with it.
After completing her undergraduate studies at the University of Nebraska, Fecht enrolled in Creighton University’s new entry-level Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) program, one of three OTD programs in the country at that time.
“I’m what they call a ‘Jaysker’,” she said. “Nebraska is the Cornhuskers and Creighton is the Blue Jays.”
After graduation, Fecht went to work as a pediatric occupational therapist for the University of Nebraska Medical Center but decided to move out West in 2007 where she landed a job as an OT with the Clark County School District (CCSD).
At the same time, she worked as a pediatric OT on a per diem basis at Summerlin Hospital. That’s where she met Dr. Cynthia Lau, who was an Assistant Professor in Touro University Nevada’s School of Occupational Therapy.
“Dr. Lau told me about an open faculty position in Touro’s School of OT and I came on as a full-time faculty member in July 2011,” she said.
Over the last eight years, Fecht said the Touro community continues to make it easier for her to come to work every day.
“We have a sense of community at Touro that gets lost at larger institutions,” she said. “You can walk down the hall and say ‘hi’ to just about anybody and chances are you know that person’s name. As a faculty, it really allows me to connect with my students.”
Fecht said she enjoys watching her students acquire new skills as they discover their passion for the profession. Since OT offers a wide range of specialties, she encourages her students to learn as much as they can.
“I tell them to keep an open mind and really find out what they want to do,” she said. “I want them to know that as long as they keep learning, they will discover their passion. Whether they find that passion in OT school at Touro or out in the community, I want them to remember that it’s all going to come together.”Learn More About Touro's OT Program