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Alumna Masters Bold Lighting Design

Earning a college education means taking brave steps to find your path. But sometimes we find our courageous path by accident. That’s what happened to Ashley Parra when she transferred to the University of St. Thomas.

Inspiring Teachers Enbolden Positive Choices

Although she was in the drama club in high school, Ashley didn’t think UST even had a Drama department when she decided to take an acting class as an elective. “The Drama department was so welcoming,” she said, “that I soon had a new major, entirely by accident.”

But unlike many Drama majors, Ashley was more interested in the creativity she discovered backstage. “So much goes into making a successful play, from the props and set design to the costumes and lighting,” she said. “I didn’t think I could learn it all.”

Ashley credits Professor Claire McDonald, chair of the Drama department, for pushing her to reach her potential. “I saw in Professor McDonald a strong woman boldly making her way in the world with poise and confidence. I wanted to be like her.”

Professor McDonald pushed Ashley to learn everything about producing a stage play, from painting sets to designing costumes. She was especially excited about digital lighting systems that allowed her to stretch the boundaries of design.

Finding the Confidence to Succeed

Ashley always had a strong interest in psychology, her original major. Her unique dual major allowed her to bring together divergent ideas and achieve a deeper understanding of the world and her place in it.

“Everyone here at the University of St. Thomas has been so helpful and welcoming,” she reflected. “It’s shown me that drama and theater are true mirrors of human experience.” She can’t help but feel enboldened and more confident by the universal spirit of togetherness that is part of UST’s mission.

Ashley feels her knowledge of human spirituality and psychology gives her a unique understanding of the creative processes needed for any successful design.

Find Your Bright Path to Success at the University of St. Thomas

Is grad school in Ashley’s future? “Definitely! I want to get a master’s in lighting design,” she said. “But first, I want to get some real-life experience in Houston’s booming theater scene.”

After graduation, she plans to work for a Christian theater group while she designs her future with confidence.

Get in touch to discover how you can find your own unique path to success. The University of St. Thomas is ready to welcome you.

by James Thurston Davis