Student Spotlight: Ainsley Cook ’24

March 5, 2024
Izzy Quam '25

The Student Spotlight Series is a new feature to highlight Saint Michael’s students’ lives in all corners of campus. Students’ answers have been lightly edited for style and clarity.   

Ainsley Cook ’24, from Marietta, Georgia, and Randolph, Vermont, is majoring in Theatre and minoring in Gender and Sexuality Studies.  

What brought you to Saint Michael’s College? 

Ainsley Cook ’24

My high school brought classes to different levels of college campuses each year so that everyone had equal opportunity to explore what higher education could look like for them, regardless of whether or not college was something you could afford. My sophomore year, St. Mike’s was chosen as the school we would visit, and I absolutely fell in love with the campus the moment we stepped off the bus. I loved how small it was, and how welcoming our tour guides were. In short, I felt at home in every space we entered. When I got home, I immediately told my mom this is where I was going. When I began applying to colleges, St. Mike’s was my number one, and my high school theatre director connected me with people within the theater department. I got back an awesome video from Peter Harrigan explaining why we should choose St. Mike’s, and he used mini versions of different items we might use in the theatre and described why our program was the best. I was instantly sold and have been loving it here ever since. 

Where do people see you on campus? (What are you involved in? How do you spend your time?)  

People probably recognize me most from being a resident assistant (RA) on campus. I was a first-year RA in Alumni from 2021-2023 and I am currently an RA for Suites North living in Cronogue. Most of the residents I have now were residents I had in my first year being an RA. So, it’s been a really awesome full-circle experience.   

My focus the past four years has been technical theatre, and so I have had the opportunity to be a scene shop assistant in McCarthy. I have built, painted, and gathered/made props for most of the main stage/student productions we have put on in my past four years. So, you may not have seen me, but you have seen some of my work!  

What is your favorite thing about the academic experience at St. Mike’s?  

My favorite thing about the academic experience at St. Mike’s is the professors and their passion for the subjects they teach. Every professor I’ve had knows so much about their respective fields, and actively participates in what they teach. I feel this makes St. Mike’s such a unique space to learn because of the opportunities this brings to students. For example, I have worked at the Saint Michael’s Playhouse for the past two summers, and I feel that I was able to do this because my professor/advisor, John Devlin, is a resident designer/production manager for the Playhouse. I was able to actually apply my learning here in a professional setting because I was inspired by his love and passion for making live theatre happen.  

What is your favorite thing to do on campus?  

I love going to my scene shop assistant job because I get to use my “creative juices” as a theatrical artist and continue to develop my skills I have learned over the past four years. Theatre is an ever-developing art, and I come into work/classes learning something new every day. In addition to this, I love building, painting, and developing the things audiences see when it comes to showtime. Creating impossible and magical things is probably my most favorite thing, and I get to do it every week!  

How are you hoping your St. Mike’s education will prepare you for the future? (Do you have after-graduation plans?)  

Post-graduation I will be participating in the Disney College Program in Orlando, Florida, at Walt Disney World. I feel especially prepared for this role because of the many experiences and classes I have been able to take at St. Mike’s. I feel that I have experienced a little bit of everything over my past four years here, which I feel has made me unique to handle whatever may be thrown my way while working for one of the most influential companies in the world. And, I get to make magic happen for hundreds, if not thousands of people every day. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without St. Mike’s. 

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