Feature Friday: Megan and Kaitlyn Piontkowsky

Feature Friday: Megan and Kaitlyn Piontkowsky

Twins. Soccer. Navy Reserves. CNA.

Those are just four of the incessant and impressive ways to describe sophomores Megan and Kaitlyn Piontkowsky. The twins have already compiled impressive resumes, and have their sights set on even bigger futures for themselves.

Even before their aspirations began to transpire, the duo's bond strengthened on the soccer field.

"We always played soccer together, even the same positions until we got to college," said Megan. "We just know what the other person is going to do."

"We understand each other's playing styles and that sets us apart on the field," added Kaitlyn.

This upcoming spring will be the first soccer season in their lives they will not be playing together, as Megan has enlisted in the Navy Reserves and is slated to depart in November. A physics major, the sophomore will spend two months in Chicago at the Great Lakes Naval Station before heading to Pensacola to be a corpsman.

Her sister will continue her busy life back home in Michigan, as she has already logged over 400 hours of research, and over 800 hours as a CNA. With plans to attend medical school, Kaitlyn is double Majoring in biochemistry and Spanish, and has performed plenty of research while also becoming a medical technician in July and becoming a certified EMT this summer.

Her research focuses on the development of an hpa1 antibody in hopes to prevent the degradation of rice plants via the bacteria Xanthomonas Oryzae. She began her own project last winter, but was cut short due to COVID. This summer she read research papers with her FURSCA group to further understand aspects of her project such as yeast surface display and magnetic activated cell sorting, which she is currently applying while selecting for her antibody.

This summer she was a co-author along with her research partners on a published paper featured on ASBMB, a chemistry organization, about the transition from in person to remote research and how it affected undergraduate research nationwide.

They have prepared themselves to balance classes, internships, research and soccer from an early age.

"It started in high school, we worked full time on top of soccer, so we learned time management back then," said Megan.

"We're very future-oriented," said Kaitlyn. "We pay for college ourselves and we just bought a car together, so we're really excited about that."

The driven duo certainly has their sights set on big futures. Megan hopes to work at NASA, researching new telescopes that are being built. She got her first taste of that research when she went to Washington, D.C. with Kaitlyn's FYE group and toured NASA.

Whether it's on the pitch, in the classroom or in the workplace, the Piontkowskys have found success through the support of each other.