This week we're spotlighting Ainsley Tucker, who joined the Cambridge Coaching team in 2012 as a writing, history, PSAT/SAT and GRE tutor. She's our most cheerful marathon-running, honey-eating, weather obsessed tutor. She's also a fantastic college coach, and has mentored countless high school students to gain acceptances at their top choice colleges!
1) Where are you from?
2) Where did you go to college?
Carleton College, Northfield, MN
3) What do you do now?
I work for Harvard Divinity School in the Office of Development and External Relations, and I am on leave from a doctoral program in Religion at Harvard.
4) What’s your most embarrassing favorite movie or song? What occasion would call for it?
I’m unabashedly a huge fan of John Denver. This is cliché because I’m from Colorado, but I know the lyrics to basically every single song that he wrote, from Rocky Mountain High to Wild Montana Skies and I love them all. This embarrasses my husband and friends more than it embarrasses me, I think!
5) Tell us a favorite epic (or not so epic) story from your childhood.
As a kid, I created a compendium of all of the spells, potions, and incantations from the Harry Potter books. As I read through the series, I wrote down any of these that I came across in a hand-bound journal. I wrote in emerald gel pen. A very good use of my time. I also whittled myself a wand and decided I belonged soundly in Slytherin House.
6) Describe your perfect weekend morning.
Early-morning tea and toast, watching the sunrise, go for a fifteen or twenty mile run, shower, read while soaking in the sun outdoors.
7) What’s your spirit animal?
The lizard. I love dry weather, sun-bathing on rocks, and running around like crazy, just like lizards.
8) Introduce us to your 15 year old self.
Half Colorado hippie with long, straight hair, an electric guitar, and a crush on all long-haired drummers, half pre-professional orchestral flute player obsessed with getting good grades and sucking up to teachers.
9) What are your favorite website(s) to browse?
I’m obsessed with checking the weather all over the world. I could probably tell you the monthly averages for not only Cambridge but Yakutsk, Russia, Edinburgh, Scotland, Reykjavik, Iceland, and one of my personal favorites, Yellowknife, Canada. I like to try to find crazy places where the sun rises really late in the winter or where it boils in the summer. I also keep a large selection of places on my phone’s weather app.
10) What are your favorite ways to idle?
I like standing around in the kitchen eating bread and butter while reading a book.
11) What are 3 alternative career/life paths you have considered (even just for fun?)
- Marine biologist (until I realized I didn’t love science and was terrified of deep water)
- Orchestral musician: I played in a super-serious young artists’ orchestra in Denver and loved the thrill of performing at the Colorado Symphony’s beautiful music hall.
- White-water rafting guide: I spent a few weeks canoeing down the Arkansas River in Colorado and loved the feeling of sleeping on a sandbank under the starts. Carrying your own “waste products” with you in a small metal lockbox, on the other hand, was less romantic.
12) What are 3 (non-generic) things that you’re grateful for?
Spiders, worms, and lenticular clouds.
13) Tell us about the last amazing meal you had.
My parents brought me my favorite bagels from Evergreen, Colorado when they visited for my first Boston Marathon. I had a mountain power bagel—dark brown with raisins, nuts, and seeds—smeared with honey-walnut cream cheese.
14) What are 3 places you'd like to visit in the next 5 years?
I’d like to run marathons in Iceland, Hawaii, and the Scottish Highlands.
Read Ainsley's tutor biography:
Ainsley grew up in the beautiful Colorado Rocky Mountains. She traded mountains for farmlands as she completed her undergraduate degree in religion with an emphasis on education at Carleton College in rural Minnesota. She graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, and enjoyed time studying abroad in France and Israel. Until recencntly, Ainsley was a Masters student at Harvard Divinity School focusing on contemporary religion and history in America. Ainsley finished her graduate studies in the spring of 2014, and is now employed by Harvard’s Office of Development.
When she isn’t reading or writing papers, Ainsley tutors students in history, expository writing, the SSAT, PSAT/SAT and GRE. In college, she worked as the organizer for a large volunteer tutoring program that connected Carleton students with local youth for tutoring in all subjects. Since she joined Cambridge Coaching in 2012, she has enjoyed helping students develop strong academic habits as they tackle coursework and standardized tests.