Name: Gabby Cook
Hometown: Bremerton, Washington
Freshman Gabby Cook has spent much of her life travelling abroad and has lived in so many places that she struggles to refer to anywhere as a “hometown.”
Cook comes from a military family and has had the opportunity to explore a variety of places and cultures. She attended elementary school in Germany and later moved to Japan, where she graduated from the same high school as Mark Hamill from Star Wars.
Despite Cook’s love for travel and her abundance of experiences abroad, she ultimately put down her roots on the banks of the Red Cedar, when the time came to pick a university.
“My mother’s side of the family lives in Michigan, and whenever we would go home, we would stay with them,” Cook said. “Whenever I’ve thought of home, I’ve always thought of Michigan.”
Of all the places she’s been, Cook said she’s especially fond of Japan and Italy, though she insists that the popular destinations in Italy, like Rome, are dirty and that the real wonders of the country can be found in cities like Florence and Milan. She said she views her experiences living abroad as “bittersweet,” but doesn’t regret them.
“I’ve gotten to travel around the world. I’ve been to more countries than I can even name, but you lose friends often, and you’re always moving and having to start all over again,” Cook said. “But I wouldn’t change it, because I’ve gotten so many experiences and have seen so many cultures.”
A result of growing up primarily on military bases, Cook said she has seldom had the chance to live in communities that felt significantly connected to the place they were located. She views MSU as being unique from everywhere else she has lived in this regard.
“Compared to my high school, the MSU community is a lot more apparent,” Cook said. “Everywhere you go, everyone is talking about Michigan State. You can’t go here and not be a huge fan.”
Cook said she often enjoys a weekly bowling outing at the MSU Union with friends, and loves to sit by the river behind the Hannah Administration Building. She’s currently studying psychology and intends to apply for medical school once she completes her Bachelor’s degree, with the goal of becoming a psychiatrist.
“I love the human brain, I think it’s very fascinating,” Cook said. “I want to help people that have struggled with mental disorders and those kinds of issues.”
Cook recently joined the Students Today, Leaders Forever program at MSU, an initiative where students spend their spring break travelling on buses to visit different cities in the U.S. Participants complete service projects such as food banks and yard work in each city. Engaging with different communities, exploring new places and meeting interesting people made the opportunity perfect, Cook said.
Four buses departed from MSU this year, with about 40 students on each bus. This year, the ultimate destination was Pensacola, Florida, where the students worked with Habitat for Humanity, though they stopped at so many interesting places that Cook said she struggled to decide on a favorite.
“New Orleans was really beautiful, like insanely beautiful, and I loved it a lot, but Nashville and the culture there was really cool too,” Cook said. “I’m gonna say New Orleans (was my favorite), because it was so beautiful, and I ate beignets.”
The program encouraged Cook to become further involved, she said, and she recently accepted the position of “Bus Core.” As a member of Bus Core, Cook will be travelling with the bus again next year, and she will be in charge of planning the community service project the students complete at one of the cities.
In addition to her passion for travel, Cook said she’s an avid fan of hockey. In particular, she is enamored with the Detroit Red Wings, though she plans to start following MSU’s team more closely as well. Cook said she makes it a priority to watch every Wings game live and has been known to shed tears over their outcomes.
“I love the Red Wings,” Cook said. They’re my favorite thing in the entire world.”