Austin and Brandon Hayes are fourth-year engineering students from Aurora, Ohio. The twin engineers are on track to graduate next year with honors and are currently preparing for their senior design project, which they are hoping to work on together beginning next fall. When they’re outside of the classroom and lab, the two enjoy hiking, swimming, canoeing and exploring the outdoors.
Question: What brought the two of you to RIT?
Austin: Brandon was set on RIT before I was. It had a great co-op program, which we knew that we both wanted. I was deciding between Kettering University and RIT and was pretty set on Kettering because Brandon was going to RIT and we thought we would go to different schools, but we came on a visit and here I am.
We originally came up to visit U of R, and just figured that we’d swing by RIT while in Rochester. The buildings were closed but we got a random person to let us in and were able to check it out. Then we came up again for an open house, and I was really just tagging along for the free food, but then I started to see myself here. The next day I filled out the paperwork, and here I am.
Brandon: That was pretty much it. I just knew once I visited that out of all of the places, this was the one for me.
Q: What’s it like to go to school with your twin and also share a major?
Brandon: Well we’re actually different majors, but both within engineering. I’m biomedical and microelectronics, and Austin is mechanical.
Austin: For the most part it’s perfectly fine. If we lived together, it might be different. Freshman year we were living in the same dorm but on different floors, so we would run into each other. We’re planning on living together next year, but other than that we’ve lived separately, and it has been fine. We have a lot of mutual friends, but I’m a swimmer so I’m closer with the swim team, and he’s closer with friends from running club and swim group.
Brandon: Freshman year we both had a lot of friends from our floors and we kind of ended up conglomerating, so now we know twice as many people and that’s nice.
Q: Have you had many classes together?
Brandon: We’ve actually only had one circuits lab together, and that was fun and made things easy. We’re also hoping to work together next year on our senior design.
Austin: Honestly we don’t mind having classes together or being in the same college. For us, it isn’t a problem. There are a lot of times though where professors will think that I’m Brandon or that he’s me. Some of them pride themselves in knowing the difference, and when they mess it up we just kind of let it go and act like we’re the other person.
Q: What have your co-op experiences been like, and do you have any left to complete?
Austin: We’ve had different co-ops, and we both have one left to do this summer. I joined a thermal analysis research lab and worked in that on campus. I was here freshman year over intersession for swimming and I figured that it would be good to get lab experience in. I had a professor who was very welcoming, and he threw me in the lab with Ph.D. students right away. He also convinced me to do my master’s thesis.
Brandon: I was in Oregon last summer working at HP. I’m going this summer. It was really nice because I lived with a host family. I’m going back again this summer and will hopefully be living with them again.
Austin: He liked living with them because of the food.
Brandon: It was like living in a five-star restaurant. They really liked to cook, so every night that I got home I’d have something like smoked salmon and grilled asparagus waiting for me on the counter. It was awesome.
Q: What are your plans following the completion of your degrees?
Brandon: We’re both going to go to school to get our doctorate degrees. When I was working with HP, I was doing research on microfluidics, and that’s when I realized that I wanted to to do research and go to graduate school.
Austin: You kind of have to get your Ph.D. if you want to do research and that’s what we’re both interested in doing. It’s either that or getting a job. I’d rather stay in college.
Brandon: He just doesn’t want to work.
Austin: Yeah, pretty much.
Q: Do you think that you will end up at the same graduate school as well?
Austin: We’re not entirely sure yet. We’re both interested in two schools in Colorado, but we’ll just have to see what happens. We’re actually going to go and visit for the first time this spring break.
Brandon: We both really like to be outdoors and like the more relaxed attitudes out there. I guess we’ll know more after our visit. We’re taking it one step at a time.
Lauren Peace “Student Spotlights” for University News. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org with suggestions.