By Emily Larkin, Managing and Online Editor
If you think you’ve been seeing double on campus this semester, you may be right. This year’s freshman class brought with it three sets of twins. Austin and Brenden Schwartz; Sydney and Lauren Kuhrt; and Hunter and Morgan Gunnarson all became Jets this semester. This is the first time in recent years that Newman has had so many twins in one year, Angel Moore, assistant director of admissions, said.
Austin and Brenden Schwartz
Born and raised in Wichita, Austin and Brenden are male identical twins. Though the Schwartz brothers are identical, they have different interests. Austin is undecided on his major but is leaning toward a theatre major doubled with communication or English, but Brenden is a biology major with a pre-medicine concentration.
They also took different paths to get to Newman.
“I was set on Newman right away,” Brenden said. “This is the only school I visited, and it just seemed like a good school.”
Brenden consistently urged his brother to come to Newman too, but Austin never thought it would actually happen.
“I never considered Newman at all. I actually looked at a ton of other schools,” he said. “Then, it was a week before school started, so I was like, ‘Newman is going to give me the same scholarship as Brenden, so I might as well go there.’”
Austin said that even since they were little, it has been important to him that he be distinguishable from his brother.
“That’s always been a thing with me. I like to be completely clear that this is me, not him. So, when I was first in theater, and he tried to join senior year, I was very upset with that at first,” he said. “But then I realized that it was a little ridiculous. Yeah, we’re still our own people, and we can have similar interests.”
Sydney and Lauren Kuhrt
From Kingwood, Texas, Sydney and Lauren Kuhrt are fraternal female twins. The sisters have taken on both the books and the softball gloves at Newman.
That duality is what initially drew them to Newman, they said.
“[Newman] was the best fit for us because most schools don’t let you play a sport and do nursing,” Sydney said. “Newman lets you do that and has a great nursing program.”
Through coming to college, Lauren has realized how much she relies on her twin for help.
“For me, I’m very dependent on people because I’ve never been alone. So, like I don’t know how to get gas because Sydney drives me everywhere, and if I do drive, I get lost a lot.”
The pair said they love to play tricks on people when they first realize the girls are twins.
“If people are like ‘Do you have twin telepathy? we’re like, ‘Yeah, yeah.’” Sydney said.
Lauren said they strategize about what people might ask them and pull together answers.
“We plan it out, so if they ever say a number from one to 10, we’ll have one. We have the food planned out, fruit planned out, just like the things they would probably ask.”
Sydney said it’s fun to play jokes on people because it can give everyone involved a good laugh.
“It messes with people so much,” she said. “That’s what most people first ask us, ‘Do you guys think the same?’ and we’re like, ‘Yeah. Ask us a question.’”
Hunter and Morgan Gunnarson
Hunter and Morgan Gunnarson are identical female twins who are both majoring in biology.
Hunter said they were drawn to Newman through personal ties.
“Our friend, Hannah Wheeler, goes here,” she said. “So, once we both got accepted, we thought, ‘Might as well.’”
Morgan said that while growing up, the twins only ever tried to swap identities once.
“In fifth grade, we switched places. Her teacher was in on it, but my teacher was so confused,” she said. “The whole thing was blown within like five minutes because everyone in the class was laughing.”
Nowadays, the pair likes to take on greater adventures, Hunter said.
“We love to help our boss, who is a wildlife rehabber,” she said. “We pick up baby raccoons for her and baby deer.”
Though Hunter wants to be a neonatologist, she said she thinks being a rehabilitator on the side would be interesting. Morgan, who wants to be a veterinarian, said she also could see herself doing it.
“I always tell her I’ll be her vet, and she can bring all her animals to me.”
PHOTO: HUNTER AND MORGAN GUNNARSON help save wildlife in their free time. Courtesy photo, Hunter Gunnarson