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News > Alumni News > Alumni Profile > Alumna Interview - Kristin Tolson Grasso

Alumna Interview - Kristin Tolson Grasso

AAS Alumna, Kris about her time at AAS Moscow in 1977-1979
Kris, Bridget and Erin at AAS 1977-1979
Kris, Bridget and Erin at AAS 1977-1979

Tell us a bit about yourself now and your time at AAS.

(Kris Tolson Grasso) I attended AAS from 1977-1979 (Grades 6 and 7) and loved every minute. I remember my teachers, my friends, and time spent on the playground especially in the winter when the hill would be iced so we could sled down or more likely throw ourselves down in our snowsuits. I loved the ice rink and ice skating for recess. I loved the art room. I remember bake sales and plays. It was a wonderful time.

Now, I have three grown daughters and have been married for 29 years. I live near Washington DC and work for the Department of State in the Office of Overseas Schools. Coincidence? Probably not. I attended the University of Virginia and majored in Foreign Affairs and History concentrating in the Soviet Union (as Russia was known then) and Latin America.

What is your favorite AAS story?

(Kris Tolson Grasso) The story I tell most often is that there was a boy named Bobby in my grade from Argentina. After it rained one day and while we were out back on the playground the other boys dared him to eat a live worm and he did. Then they said they would pay him a ruble (I think) for every worm he ate. He ate quite a few. We girls were disgusted. BUT I still talk about it.

Since leaving AAS, what accomplishments are you most proud of?

(Kris Tolson Grasso) I love my job and appreciate all that I learned at University but I am most proud of the three wonderful, accomplished daughters my husband and I have raised.

What advice would you give a recent high school or college graduate? What advice would you tell them to ignore?

(Kris Tolson Grasso) As we told our daughters, you should have many interests and take classes that are interesting while in University. However, you should only major in something that will give you a career. The cost of University is only worthwhile when pursuing a career. My eldest is a Nurse Practitioner who majored in nursing and Spanish (she loves to read and be outside). My middle daughter majored in Chemistry and is now pursuing a Ph.D. in Chemical Biology (she loves to paint). My youngest daughter also majored in Chemistry and will be teaching in high school for this first time this fall, she is a new teacher (she loves to bake, cook, paint).

Were there any skills you developed at AAS that proved useful in life?

(Kris Tolson Grasso) The skills developed in all the schools I attended were how to work with and be friends with people who are very different from you because, in the end, we are really not all that different. My time in Moscow was eye-opening and invaluable. I am so glad I was given that opportunity by my father’s job.

What do you feel were your life’s most worthwhile investments?

(Kris Tolson Grasso) The most worthwhile investment in my life was given to me by my parents. Living overseas in quite a few places allowed me to grow and understand things in a way that would be very different had I never had that opportunity. It did not make me better than those who never move, just gave me a different perspective. It has made me observant, willing to try new things, and gave me the ability to really listen to what people have to say. The other gift they gave me was the gift of higher education.

Do you have a message you would like to share with the AAS alumni community?

(Kris Tolson Grasso) I would love to hear from anyone who attended AAS from 1977-1979. I have lost contact with them and would love to know what they are doing now.

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