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Arizona State University biochemistry junior Aurora DuBois and her younger sister Sophia attended the recent rivalry game against the Arizona Wildcats in hopes of extending the family tradition of DuBois women to one more person.
“There’s something special about ASU,” said alumna Allison DuBois, a best-selling author and medium whose life inspired the hit television drama series "Medium." “That’s why I knew if my daughter went to the rivalry game, I’d have a better chance of getting her there.”
Allison, a third-generation Sun Devil, has been attending ASU classes since she was a little girl. Tiena, Allison’s mother, would often bring her daughter to campus while she was working on her accounting degree in the early 1980s. Allison’s grandmother, Genevieve, attended ASU in the late 1950s.
“Knowing my mom and grandma went there made me feel really connected to the school,” said Allison, who received her Bachelor of Arts in political science in 2001. “So I always knew I was going to go there.”
In addition to the family’s four-generation legacy of women spanning 60 years, numerous cousins and other siblings from both sides of Allison’s family have also graduated from ASU.
“We’re just an ASU family,” Allison said. “It’s who we are.”
While pursuing her degree and raising three children, Allison’s original plan was to become a prosecuting attorney in homicide and, eventually, a superior court judge. But after she interned in homicide at the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, life took her in a different direction.
Allison said her medium abilities, which she started to notice at 6 years old, were triggered when she was sorting crime-scene photos at her internship — she said she could see through a perpetrator’s eyes to help agencies solve crimes.
“I started seeing things that were happening before the person was killed,” Allison said. “I was hoping I’d just be wrong, that I could just go to law school and put it all behind me.”
While interning with homicide, she began testing her abilities and profiling killers on cases from around the country. Allison’s first case indicated her career would follow a unique trajectory when she helped solve the disappearance of a missing girl with the Tarrant County (Texas) Sheriff’s department.
“I really wasn’t comfortable with what I was doing,” said Allison, who thought she didn’t fit the mold for the stereotypical medium. “But I had to figure out what was going on with me.”
Uncertain about following such a unique career path, Allison participated in a study at the University of Arizona — a tough choice for the die-hard Sun Devil fan — to test her medium abilities. While there, she was noticed by a production company that later approached her about creating a television series based on her life.
“I didn’t set out to be famous. It just happened,” Allison said. “If I hadn’t been at ASU interning in homicide, none of that may have ever happened.”
Allison said she was lucky to have medium abilities, but her diligence and gumption contributed most to her success. She said she’s proud to have gotten her college degree while working and having three kids, showing her daughters “if you work hard, you can pretty much do anything.”
Much like Allison went to classes with her mother, Allison’s daughters grew up watching her do homework, visiting the bookstore and rooting for ASU. She said it was never a question of if they would attend college, but where.
Allison’s youngest Sophia, a high-school junior, has started the process of planning for college, taking the PSATs and creating a short list of potential schools. Allison hopes the rivalry game experience will move ASU to the top of her daughter’s list; after all, Sparky was the third word Sophia could speak.
“She called (after the game) and said she wanted to go (to ASU),” Allison said. “You know when they say, you bleed maroon and gold, we do.”