Graduate spotlight: Professors’ support helped Abigail Dishner succeed

Abigail Dishner says professors' support is one thing that makes Pellissippi State special.
Abigail Dishner says professors’ support is one thing that makes Pellissippi State special.

Even though Abigail Dishner didn’t have a specific career goal in mind when she came to Pellissippi State, she eventually found a major she loved and realized it’s OK to take things one step at a time.  

“You don’t have to know exactly what you want to do,” says Abigail. “Just taking the next step and keep taking the next step is what keeps us going.”  

Abigail has followed her own advice, using her time at Pellissippi State to explore different career options, and will graduate in May with a degree in Early Childhood Education. Abigail currently works for Knox County Schools as a special education instructional assistant and plans to continue working there after she graduates.  

“It’s really cool getting to know those kids and how they see life,” she says. “Seeing it from their perspective is really inspiring.”  

Abigail grew up in Harrogate, Tennessee, where she was still living when she started classes at Pellissippi State.  

“I was driving an hour and a half to go to my classes,” she recalls. “I chose Pellissippi State because I was an early high school graduate and wanted to take advantage of the Tennessee Promise scholarship. Once I started, the professors were all great. They’ve been so awesome to work with.” 

Abigail believes one of the things that makes Pellissippi State so special is the professors’ support 

There’s an extra understanding of mental health,” she says. The professors have empathy, and they understand that real life happens even while you have classes full time. They acknowledge your struggle and take their time to help you through that.”  

Abigail remembers a time this past year when she experienced that support and understanding firsthand.  

I struggled last year with keeping things straight,” she explains. I’m a multi-passionate person – I want to do everything all the time – and, and when you’re taking full-time classes and most of them are online, it’s hard to stay focused. My professors made themselves available for me to talk to them, and that’s been the biggest thing in helping me be successful.”

Abigail knows that her experiences at Pellissippi State will stay with her far beyond the classroom.  

Although I don’t exactly have a specific dream job or goal in mind right now, I pray that the knowledge and skills I’ve gained throughout this degree help me to better serve young children and families in the mission field – whether that be in my own neighborhood or across the world,” she shares. I want them to know that they’re loved more than they can imagine. If the discipline and moments of struggle in college have helped me learn how to serve others better, then I think it’s been worth it.”  

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