The Wallace sisters usually cause a double-take whenever they travel together. But then again, so do the Poche sisters and Tyler siblings.
The young women represent three sets of identical twins, but what makes them even more unique is the fact that all are students in The University of Southern Mississippi nursing program.
Amy and Allison Tyler of Collins, Miss., are in their fourth semester of nursing school; Lauren and Emily Poche of Hammond, La., are in their third semester, while Kenitra and Keitra Wallace of Natchez, Miss., are in their second semester.
National statistics show that the odds of having identical twins are 1 in 250. The odds of having three sets of identical twins enrolled at the same time out of 284 nursing students seem practically unthinkable.
“What are the chances? Isn’t that amazing?” asked Dr. Lachel Story, assistant professor in the School of Nursing.
Story knows all six students quite well having served as their instructor. She has come to appreciate how the bond between each set of twins fortifies their efforts in the nursing program.
“This bond serves to support them as they progress through the rigorous nursing program – emotionally and academically,” said Story. “Support is crucial to success in any program and they have their own pre-existing support system.
“It is impressive to watch them interact, holding each other accountable and motivating each other.”
The Tyler twins
Amy is six minutes older than Allison and definitely does most of the talking for the duo.
“We don’t really compete for anything. She’s the one in charge,” said Allison.
As one might expect, the sisters spend very little time apart.
“We do everything together, every single thing,” said Amy. “And it helps having someone that close when it comes to studying or trying to get an opinion on something important.”
As for the desire to become a nurse, Allison said she could not imagine taking any other career path.
“I try to give the same honest answer every time somebody asks me why I want to be a nurse. I really feel like it is what God wants me to do,” said Allison.
The Wallace twins
The Wallace sisters are so identical that only one letter separates them from having the same name.
“Most people can’t tell us apart,” said Kenitra, who is one minute older than Keitra. “Once you get used to us you can though because we’re really different in a lot of ways.”
Such as: “Our friends say I’m a little meaner than her,” said Keitra.
“We do argue all the time,” said Kenitra.
The sisters became enamored with nursing after taking allied health courses in high school.
“I just like the idea of helping people, taking care of people and making them feel better,” said Keitra.
The Poche twins
Emily, the oldest by five minutes, admits that she and Lauren have fooled a few teachers by swapping identities in the past, although the ruse “never really worked with boyfriends.”
Lauren conceded that having a sister shadowing your every move gets bothersome at times, but the annoyance is always short-lived.
“We can’t stay mad at each other for very long,” said Lauren. “It is really great to have a twin. I know that I can always count on her no matter what.”
Their biggest difference? They joined different sororities as freshmen at Southern Miss where Lauren represents Delta Gamma and Emily serves in Phi Mu.
“This helps those who cannot tell us apart by using the sorority name to tell the difference,” said Emily.
Whether or not the sisters end up treating patients in the same clinical setting down the road remains to be seen. But it remains a pretty safe bet that where you’ll see one Poche twin, you’re likely to see the other.
The same can be said for the Wallace and Tyler twins.
Allison, left, and Amy Tyler
Kenitra, left, and Keitra Wallace
Emily, left, and Lauren Poche
About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities. In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world. Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at www.usm.edu.