Talent times 3: High-achieving triplets head to Barrett at ASU West campus


Moen triplets at Barrett Honors College at ASU West

The Moen triplets – Claire, Anders (center) and Grant, pictured at the Paley Gates that welcome freshmen to ASU's West campus — have followed the same path to Barrett, The Honors College at West. The family was drawn to the campus' small-college feel, while still offering the resources of a large university.

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You might say the Moen triplets are competitive.

“[Grant] would never let me hear the end of it when he beat me on the PSAT by like one point,” Claire Moen says of one of her brothers. All three triplets will all be attending Arizona State University at its West campus this fall. “He was so proud of himself for beating me on that.”

Grant is quick to respond, albeit in a lowered voice: “It was more than one point.”

The high-achieving triplets — Anders, Claire and Grant — offer an interesting take on the age-old debate of nature vs. nurture, and they would seem to offer evidence of the latter. They were all active in sports and extracurricular activities in high school — but not always the same ones.

“Just because they’re triplets, they’re not identical; they’re not the same person,” says Todd Moen, their father.

It seems as if academic acumen comes naturally to the siblings, who will all be members of Barrett, The Honors College. However, when asked if they think it has anything to do with the fact that they push each other to achieve more, Anders is quick to respond: “Yeah.”

“It definitely helps, for sure,” Grant says.

“I guess we also kind of hold each other responsible to succeed,” Claire adds.

Kathy Lemery-Chalfant, associate professor of psychology at ASU, says that sets of multiples often tend to be more competitive compared with single-born siblings, simply because they are all the same age.

“They’re compared a lot more to each other throughout their whole life,” Lemery-Chalfant said. “There’s always a comparison in terms of grades, height, hair color, etc. from the get-go.”

The Moens are an example of when that phenomenon goes right.

Each received a New American University Scholarship, along with plenty of other scholarships between them, including a private business scholarship for Anders, an SRP scholarship for Claire and a National Merit Scholarship for Grant.

“It’s funny, the first day we found out we were having triplets I thought about college,” Todd says. “And if they didn’t have the drive themselves, they wouldn’t be sitting where they are today.”

Originally from Arizona, the Moen trio spent most of their lives in Arkansas, where they attended Harmony Grove High School.

Anders is an art lover who often indulges in sketching and painting. Grant is a sports guy, who was a starting player on his basketball team and a lead scorer on his soccer team. Claire enjoys reading and taking the helm on various projects, events and activities.

Despite their varied interests, when it came time to choose a college, the siblings knew they wanted to stick together. So they did their research.

“We visited quite a few schools in Arkansas,” Anders said, but they never found what they were looking for.

At that point, their parents got in on the search.

“My wife and I, we were looking for more of a liberal-arts-style school for them,” Todd says. “But as we looked, we noticed other schools didn’t have the resources and the programs that a larger university had.”

The Moens still had family in Arizona and decided to look into ASU’s West campus, which offers that smaller, liberal-arts-school feel they were looking for without sacrificing on the resources larger universities offer.

It was a perfect fit.

“For all of us, it was really kind of like, ‘Wow, they’ve got everything,’ ” Todd says.

So they packed up and headed back to Arizona, ASU West-bound.

Anders will be studying accounting while Claire and Grant are both going into medicine. All three will be living on the West campus this fall, and their excitement is palpable.

“I don’t even know what to expect, honestly. I’m just looking forward to doing new things and meeting new people,” Grant says.

And, it’s safe to say, their father shares in their enthusiasm.

“Now they’re in a place where all doors are open to them,” he says.

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