Recess favorite: the swings


Jennifer Priest Mitchell

Angelina Cook (BAE ’17) said she basically grew up on the ASU Tempe campus, and she might actually bleed maroon and gold. “It was just a given that I would eventually come to school here,” she said with a laugh. “My mom started bringing me here to the space center, where she worked, as soon as I could walk.” An aspiring teacher and a huge fan of video games and the Harry Potter books, Cook knew she would be a Sun Devil, but it was late in the game when she decided to become a teacher.

“I was in community college, and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I took a class that required an internship, and my intern opportunity was spending 10 hours in a classroom. Once I was there and observing a teacher, I knew I loved that atmosphere, and I knew I wanted to teach!” Now in her senior year residency in a first grade classroom in Paradise Valley, Cook said she enjoys “the aha-moment when a student gets excited about learning something, and it’s a little different for each child.”

She developed a family literacy program in a required literacy class last year and is working to bring that to life at her school. “I have collected book donations for my students, and I am planning a family literacy event where more than 800 books will be distributed, and we will share in activities around basic early childhood literacy. I hope to plan and host things like this throughout my career as early literacy is really important to me, and I love seeing families get involved.” In five years, Cook anticipates she will be teaching, and she said she plans to pursue a master’s degree and a doctorate down the road.

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?

Hummus, green granny apples, and Mountain Dew Code Red.

 Do you use the gas pedal or the brake pedal more, and why?

Brake pedal. I always go exactly the speed limit. 

 What gives you a headache?

When people mistake Link and Zelda. (Yes, I am a video game geek!)

 Last book you read:

“What Teachers Make” by Taylor Mali.

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

Any book from the “Harry Potter” series.

The teacher who most inspired you was …

Tiernnee Jefferies-Cole, my eighth grade homeroom teacher who had this special thing about her: She was able to connect so easily with her students.

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

I worked at In-N-Out Burger in Avondale from 2011 until this past July. I loved the atmosphere and the people I met along the way. I had great managers who supported me in my school and fantastic co-workers who pushed me to do the best I could in and out of work.

 Who inspired you when you were young, and why?

My grandparents. They always worked hard to help my mom, my siblings and me.

 Who inspires you now?

My husband. He works hard full-time so I have this amazing opportunity to go to school and focus on my classes and lessons.

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

I got married. Growing up in a divorced household, I was nervous to get married. However, once I met my husband, and we began our journey together, I knew everything would be great. I learned that when you meet the right person, you should always focus on your relationship.

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

Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger

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

Go on the swings! It felt like I was flying.

Strangest thing you believed as a child:

That adults knew everything.

If you could have any pet, it would be:  

Mythological: griffin. Reality: a wolf or an otter!

App you can’t live without:

Google Maps. I have a horrible sense of direction.

If you had one do-over in life, it would be:

My first day at ASU. I parked in the wrong structure, got on the wrong bus, went into the wrong room, was 10 minutes late to my first class and left my books for the class (which we needed that day) in my car.

Most adventurous thing you’ve ever done:

I was vice president for my honors society, Phi Theta Kappa, at my community college. I went to Denver, Colorado for an international honors society meeting for a week and met people from all over the U.S. We stayed in the dorms on the Denver University campus. I had never been away from home alone like that before.

Leadership role model, and why:

Laura Ling. I met her while I was in Denver for my honors society trip, and I heard her tell the story of how she was a captive in North Korea, and about her fight home and her life after. She had a Q&A time during which I told her it would be an honor to shake her hand. She replied that she wasn’t great at hand-shaking, but how about a hug? I melted. I hugged my idol.