Alaska <br>  Speech-Language-Hearing <br>         Association

2019 AKSHA Award Winners!

Thank you everyone for your nominations for AKSHA Awards! We are thrilled to recognize the following people for their achievements:

AKSHA Award Winners at the 2019 AKSHA Convention from Left to Right:

Maya Dunham and Amy Hogue, Cara Leckwold and Amy Hogue, Rhonda Neill and Amy Hogue


AKSHA Sourdough - Outstanding Contributions in Speech Language Pathology or Audiology

This award recognizes an Audiologist and/or SLP who demonstrations long-term dedication to issues in the state, advocacy, leadership, or outstanding clinical practice. 

Cara Leckwold

Cara Leckwold helps make communication accessible to those under-estimated communicators that require an alternative means to interact with the world. She has spent years perfecting her knowledge and skills that makes her an innovator with AAC services to adults, children and fellow clinicians.

One parent of a child seen by Cara relates how, at age four, her daughter had never spoken- no words or sounds. She recalls when Cara introduced her daughter to a communication system. The first thing her daughter said was “I love you.”

Cara takes her daily work further. She had a Saturday Science Club for several years for 4th-7th graders that communicated using AAC devices. These budding scientists would learn new vocabulary, participate in science experiments and use their communication systems to problem-solve, discuss and socialize.

She has made voting accessible to one of her young adult clients that is physically challenged. He expressed a desire to vote at age 18 in the elections but wanted his vote to be private. How to do this when he used an eye gaze system? Cara collaborated with this young man’s mother resulting in the ability for him to demonstrate his right to vote. Later she was able to be part of the team for this same young man to make the transition from high school to university. He has become a leader among his peers.

Finally, Cara has been active in training other SLPs in AAC. She has spent evenings with students in their graduate programs and has always been available to work with her peers regarding AAC and its implementation in a variety of settings. She has travelled to rural areas, presented at the state association and nationally at Closing the Gap. She has been an advocate for accessibility and funding for augmentative communication devices both at the national and state levels. She gives creativity, innovation and a great deal of her personal time to ensure everyone’s voice can be heard.

--Nancy Lovering and Molly Thompson


AKSHA 49'er - Excellence in Clinical Practice

This award recognizes an Audiologist and/or SLP who demonstrates innovative ideas in speech language pathology or audiology; may include service delivery, programs, or services.

Jackie Kempf

Jackie’s dedication and work building language for IN students, especially in the SpEd preschools is exemplary for her close collaboration with the GenEdpreschool teachers, her passion for visual supports, her cheery personality, and her dedication. She often puts in extra hours to hone her programs and work on individual student’s needs. She’s used some wonderful center rotations for language in the preschools and spent much time integrating these into the classroom to build social language growth. Over the years she has taken many graduate students as well, being a wealth of information and example of good clinical practice. She has really done excellent work building early language and social skills for our youngest and most needy students and advocating for them to have more access to language growth throughout their tenure on her caseload. A parent recently gushed to me that she was “just the most wonderful therapist.” --Noelle Miller, SLP


President Award: Given by the association president for service to the association

Maya Dunham

Maya is an amazing member of our executive board.  She is able to problem solve on the fly, which I appreciate.  Maya is efficient and responds quickly to the needs of the association.  Her perspective on issues is valuable for us on the board.  She is an amazing therapist and we are lucky to have her.

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