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Sisterly success at Illinois State

Karen (left) and Elizabeth Skylakos are proud Honors Redbirds.

Karen (left) and Elizabeth Skylakos are proud Honors Redbirds.

Anyone who has siblings knows it is a special relationship, but they would be hard-pressed to find a relationship more special than the one Elizabeth and Karen Skylakos have.

These twin sisters and “best friends” grew up in a loving family of five in Northlake, but when it came time to go to college, the future education majors spread their wings and became Illinois State University Redbirds.

“During our college visits, ISU stood out as a strong school with a caring community feel,” Elizabeth said. “It ultimately became the school for us, and we decided to join the Honors Program because it seemed like a great way to expand our learning here.”

In addition to being admitted to the Honors Program, Elizabeth was named a Presidential Scholar, and Karen was selected as a University Scholar, both prestigious awards that recognize students’ academic achievements. The sisters are also Golden Apple Scholars.

Both have known since childhood that they want to be teachers. “We used to play teacher as kids all the time,” said Elizabeth. “We would take turns being teacher and would use our stuffed animals as the other students. Our dad even built us an easel so we could have a board to write on, and my second grade teacher gave us her old spelling books to use.”

The two were very involved in education and mentoring programs through their high school and local library. Ultimately, Elizabeth chose to major in special education while Karen selected elementary education.

Elizabeth and Karen together in their room in Manchester Hall.

Elizabeth and Karen together in their room in Manchester Hall.

The Skylakos twins have always been close. They shared a room growing up, and are now sharing a room in the Honors Themed Living-Learning Community. “Living on Manchester 6 has been great!” Elizabeth said. “Our floor mates are always so nice and willing to help with any questions. I would definitely recommend the Honors TLLC to others because you are able to surround yourself with people who have similar goals, and it makes the transition to college easier.”

Not very many students get to experience college with their sibling and best friend. “People often wonder how we don’t get sick of each other,” said Karen. “We respond by explaining how we are so used to each other and being able to go to the same school and be roommates was our ideal situation,” Elizabeth added.

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