“Sometimes you need to start somewhere new to be successful.”

Even though Abigail Graham went to high school in Johnstown, Pennsylvania — far from Arizona — she chose ASU as the school she wanted to attend to prepare for a career in education. “I always wanted to go to school far from my hometown. I did all this research on ASU and the surrounding area, and the programs offered here. Now, here I am!

“I distinctly remember looking at the tutoring center back then and thinking that I really enjoy tutoring other students, so maybe that is something I could do at ASU. Now, I’m an online writing tutor.” Graham said she liked tutoring elementary school students in math and reading. Her high school teachers noticed she had a talent for explaining things and being a leader, so they helped her get involved in tutoring.

The thesis she completed as a Barrett honors student at ASU is “Giftedness and EBD [Emotional Behavioral Disorders]: How do we accommodate high school and university students who have both?” Graham explained, “Many teachers and staff members don’t know how to deal with gifted students who also have mental health challenges. One way for high schools to better support students would be for departments and teachers to form more partnerships so people can collaborate to help students succeed and get any services they need.”

Tales Out of School

A lightning-round interview that introduces you to members of the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College community

What three things are always in your fridge?

Eggs, cheese and chocolate

What gives you a headache?

People who complain, but don't do anything about it

Last book you read:

“The Castle of Otranto” by Horace Walpole

Book that had the greatest impact on you before you were 21:

“Impulse” by Ellen Hopkins

What is a favorite job from your past, and what did you like about it?

I loved being a tutor for elementary school students during my senior year of high school because the kids were always super-excited to see me, and it is the job that made me feel secure in my decision to be a teacher.

Who inspired you when you were young, and why?

My cousin, Jennifer, because she has accomplished big things, even though she is only a few years older than I am, and she is always very optimistic about life in general.

Who inspires you now?

My cousin still inspires me, but my mom also does because she's been through a lot with medical problems and surgeries and still manages to get up each day.

What was the biggest risk you ever took and what did you learn from it?

Coming to Arizona. I didn't know anybody when I got here. I learned that sometimes you need to make big changes in your life and start somewhere new to be successful.

Three historical or fictional people you would have over for dinner:

William Shakespeare, Christina Rossetti and Maya Angelou

What did you like to do on the playground at recess when you were a kid? 

Play tag with all my friends

Most adventurous thing you’ve ever done:

I spent last summer studying abroad in Oxford, England, and I also went to France.

If you could have any pet, it would be: 

A penguin

App you can’t live without:


The most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen:

Notre Dame Cathedral