Twins Selected for Fulbright Summer Institute

Nebraska Wesleyan University junior Matt Schmitt spent part of last summer digging in the dirt.

Now it’s his twin sister’s turn to go digging.

Matt and Rachel Schmitt — biology majors with hopes of becoming doctors someday — were selected for the United Kingdom’s Fulbright Summer Institute.

The Fulbright Summer Institute brings U.S. undergraduate students, with at least two years of undergraduate study left to complete, to the UK to participate in academic and cultural programs. Nine summer Fulbright programs are offered with three to 10 students selected for each program.

“Looking back, it was a really cool experience working alongside the experts, and it was great to represent Nebraska Wesleyan over there,” said Matt.

Both students were chosen to study at Durham University for a program involving workshops and a major archeology project focused on the northern edges of the Roman Empire in Britain.

Though having two siblings from the same university picked for the selective summer program is a bit unusual, it’s not surprising that Rachel is following her brother’s footsteps.

The twins have lots in common: they’re both studying biology and want to be doctors. They take many of the same classes and participate in the same activities like Student Affairs Senate, Pre-Health Club, Tri Beta, and American Chemical Society. Matt participates in Blue Key Honor Society while Rachel participates in its female counterpart, Cardinal Key Honor Society. As New Student Orientation leaders, both just finished welcoming the Class of 2018 to campus during enrollment days in June and they’ll be back to welcome the new students when they arrive in August.

Both applied for the Fulbright Summer Institute to further develop their critical thinking skills and become better global citizens.

“Matt had such a great time studying in Durham,” said Rachel. “When he came home I could tell he had learned a lot and had grown as a person.”

Rachel begins her program on July 7. Meanwhile Matt will spend his summer conducting research at Nebraska Wesleyan and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

And it could be the start of the twins straying in their own directions. Matt hopes to become a geriatric physician and Rachel is interested in pediatric medicine. Their paths to the end of their NWU careers will cross less often as well: Rachel plans to participate in the Capitol Hill Internship Program in Washington, D.C. while Matt wants to study abroad.

Matt and Rachel are among four Nebraska Wesleyan University students who have been selected for the Summer Fulbright Institute since 2012. 

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Junior Matt Schmitt spent the summer of 2013 participating in the Fulbright Summer Institute.
Rachel Schmitt will spend a month in the UK this summer participating in the same Fulbright Summer Institute.