Contact: Gladys Amador
Laura and Santa De Oliveira are making this year’s Barry University fall graduates do a double take. The two sisters, identical twins, have been dressing the same and doing just about everything else the same their entire lives including graduating, again, with the same degree.
On Dec. 13, the two joined approximately 1,000 other Barry students for the fall commencement ceremonies at the James L. Knight Center in downtown Miami. Laura and Santa received their Master of Clinical Medical Sciences degrees.
Born and raised in South Africa, the twins relocated to Sarasota with their parents and older brother, at the age of 15. Their parents, immigrants from Portugal and Italy, say they are proud of their daughters for realizing their dreams.
In 2001, the twins became U.S. citizens and attended University of Florida, graduating with identical degrees; Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and Cell Science with a minor in Food Science and Nutrition, in 2003.
“She’s my best friend,” said Laura. “You grew up doing things together and we just always liked the same things; we both wanted to be gators and both wanted to be in Miami.”
After deciding they wanted to enter the medical field, they both applied to Barry, were both interviewed and both accepted into the program.
“We have helped and supported each other through the program,” said the 30-year-old twin Laura De Oliveira, the younger sibling – by one minute. “We have always worked well together.”
From the age of 15, the twins, who also speak five languages, have been teaching kids to dance; anything from hip-hop to jazz. They sometimes conduct classes together. “The kids love it; they get a kick out of it to see us choreograph together.”