Two students on campus will have teachers doing a double-take.
Briana and Jamie Nakawatase are ideal students who happen to be twin sisters. They have made quite a name for themselves at PCC. As members of the campus honor society, Alpha Gamma Sigma, they have been busy volunteering, studying and receiving coveted scholarships.
The 20-year-old sisters both recently won the Kathleen D. Loly Scholarship. The award, named after a former PCC Spanish instructor who was one of the original founders of AGS in 1962, recognizes outstanding scholars on campus.
“Without kind letters of recommendation from our professors and employers, neither of us would have been able to receive the scholarship,” said Briana. “We were so, so grateful for their help.”
The sisters seem to work well under pressure as they didn’t have very much time to fill out the scholarship application, write an essay, submit their class schedules and transcripts and get three letters of recommendation.
“Believe it or not, Briana and I had all of this done in less than 24 hours,” said Jamie, who is older than her sister by one minute. “We were notified of our nominations the day before the applications were due. It was a long night and hectic morning, to say the least, but it was well worth it in the end.”
Vanessa Schulz, an AGS advisor, wrote recommendations for both of the sisters. She knows them well as they have been involved in AGS since their first semester at PCC in fall 2009. Schulz is impressed with their work ethic as they have managed to maintain a 4.0 cumulative GPA after completing nearly 60 units of rigorous coursework.
“I’m both pleased and excited by Briana and Jamie winning the Kathleen D. Loly scholarships,” she said. “They are both highly deserving young women with excellent academic records and a commitment to service.”
As busy as the girls are, service is an important aspect of both their lives.
“Volunteering has been a rewarding experience,” said Jamie, who volunteered as an AGS intern to the Tournament of Roses to help with the organization and production of the Rose Parade. “I love to help others and I honestly think it has improved my college experience thus far.”
Both of the sisters have helped work at the Sierra Madre Wine and Jazz festival, the L.A. Aids Walk and other activities.
In addition to volunteering, Jamie, a mathematics major, is part of the MathPath program at PCC. It is an accelerated math program combining two semesters of math into one semester. With her coursework complete, she made a last-minute decision to apply to several UCs this year.
“I originally planned to continue my education at PCC for one more year, but I just received acceptance letters from UCLA and UC Berkeley, so I plan to transfer to one of those universities.” she said. ” It’s a tough decision for me because both schools are amazing.”
Briana, an animal biology major, currently volunteers four days out of the week tutoring high school students and has started getting volunteer work at a veterinary clinic. She hopes to transfer to UC Davis to study medicine, but will be sticking around at PCC longer than her sister.
“Unfortunately, the higher level science courses are in high demand, so my time at PCC has been extended longer than I had planned for,” she said. “I hope to transfer to UC Davis after the next school year, but it may take [longer].”
“I wish to someday have a successful private practice,” she continued. ” I look forward to a wonderful and rewarding career as a veterinarian.”
Jamie is excited for new adventures at a four-year university, but plans to take her work ethic with her.
“Wherever I go next, I plan to continue volunteering, meeting new people, and striving to make the most of my education,” she said. “All goals I have developed as an AGS member.”
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