Alumni Profile


Ashley Butts


Graduated from UTM:  June 2005

Degree:  Honours Bachelor of Arts with High Distinction

Program(s):  Sociology specialist

Awards & Accolades:  Dean’s List Scholar, Golden Key International Honour Society inductee, Ontario Graduate Scholarship recipient

Other Degrees:  Master of Arts in Criminology, Law degree

Current Role:  Legal Counsel

Ashley Butts



What have you been doing since graduating from UTM?

Ashley:  After completing a Specialist in Sociology at UTM, I went on to complete the Master of Arts program in Criminology at the University of Toronto, St. George Campus. After that, I worked as a Project Coordinator within the Department of Sociology for about eight months until I landed my dream job at the time – working with the Ontario Government on policy issues related to youth, in or at risk for, conflict with the law. While working in government, my work intersected with legal matters and I found myself intrigued by the law. I went on to complete a law degree at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University. From there, I have continued to be involved in various endeavours, and currently work as in-house legal counsel. While my present career focus is in the law, I also enjoy living out my long-standing passion related to furthering social justice and diversity, equity and inclusion, through involvement on committees and volunteer work. 


What did you enjoy most about your time at UTM (or the SOC/CRIM program specifically)?

Ashley:  There were many aspects I enjoyed most about my time at UTM, but now looking back, I would have to say that I most enjoyed the genuine support of my academic pursuits and opportunities to work with some amazing members of the Sociology faculty. I really felt as though there were no barriers to achieving my highest potential, as long as I was willing to put in the work. No one had to say they supported me, they just behaved in ways that genuinely and kindly showed they did, and that has and will always mean so much to me. 


Were you involved in any clubs, teams, or extra-curricular activities while at UTM?

Ashley:  I am not sure if various roles as a Research Assistant with the Department of Sociology would be considered “extra-curricular” activities, but I held a few of those types of gigs while at UTM. I was also asked to be an Academic Skills Centre Student Assistant, a volunteer role whereby I taught study skills for Sociology courses to other students – I was happy to help in whatever way I could. 


What tip or suggestion would you like to pass along to current students?

Ashley:  Tips that seemed to work well for me would be: 1) try to implement a "delayed gratification" approach – it helped me out a lot; 2) try to limit social media or other entertainment to a “reward” for achieving certain study goals or other tasks; 3) find like-minded peers that want to be excellent that you can study and laugh with (we all need a break at times!; 4) on the note of breaks, take them often and try to see your academic journey as a marathon, not a sprint; and 5) dedicate and apply yourself to doing the best you can.


What’s next for you?

Ashley:  I will continue to keep stretching myself…listening and learning will be a big part of that process.


Thanks Ashley, we wish you all the best!