Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Twins following parallel paths

williams sisters cropped     In an online course, no one knows if you look different. They also don’t know if you look the same.
     For identical twins Katrina, in red, and Kanethia Williams, that’s a relief. In grade school, looking the same wasn’t so great. “Hey! Twin!” their classmates shouted. “Which one are you?”
     The sisters still lead twin lives. They live together in Federal Way, Washington, work for the same company and are both earning social sciences degrees through Washington State University’s online degree program. If a stranger calls one by the other’s name, they go with the flow. “We usually act like we know them, even if we don’t,” Katrina said.
     The Williamses, 25, grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, and moved to Washington in 1996. Katrina attended Tacoma Community College. Kanethia went to Highline and Green River community colleges. When it came time to finish their university degrees, they returned to parallel paths, both enrolling in WSU Online.
     “With online classes, you can set your own schedule,” Katrina said. “We both wanted to study psychology and liked the flexibility of the WSU program.”
     Kanethia echoed that.
     “I enjoy being able to access my coursework any time of day,” she said. “I always recommend the program to other people.”
     The sisters both work online as guides for ChaCha, a free search engine for mobile users. When people call or text questions about any topic (Can you make pancakes in the microwave?1 Tell me a corny joke2), they look up answers on the Internet.
     After graduation, Katrina will still help people, but in a more transformative way.
     “I plan to work as a chemical dependency counselor,” she said. “I would like to get a master’s in social work or community counseling.”
     Kanethia hasn’t made up her mind about her career. But Katrina spoke for her: “She is considering the same career path as me.”

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1Yes, but they won’t get brown.

2 A three-legged dog walks into an Old West saloon, goes to the bar and says: “I’m looking for the man who shot my paw.”

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