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Twin Pursuits: Engineering and Basketball

Monday, February 06, 2017

Abby And Ally Bromenschenkel

On Court Success: Abby (left) and Ally Bromenschenkel have contributed to the basketball team's success the past two seasons. Ally is a starting forward, leading the team in scoring and rebounding, while Abby is a leader as one of the team's starting guards.

Abby and Ally Bromenschenkel may have been born 20 minutes apart, but the fraternal twins from Mendota, Ill., have been nearly inseparable ever since.

Their shared interest in engineering and science has brought them to Rose-Hulman, where they're taking the identical winter quarter classes, share a residence hall room, and are key players in their sophomore season on the institute's conference-leading basketball team.

"There's no sibling rivalry between us, never has been," says Abby, while taking a quick glance to her sister, who is nodding in agreement. "We pretty much do everything together…You have your best friend with you all the time."

And yet they are individuals with unique interests as well: Abby is more artistic and favors listening to country music; Ally is more analytical, and likes being outdoors (hiking, biking and rollerblading) and reading.

Also, Abby is a biomedical engineering student, while Ally is majoring in mechanical engineering. Both strive to help improve gender diversity in the engineering profession. Only 18 percent of U.S. engineering undergraduate students are female. That percentage is much higher at Rose-Hulman, which has set female enrollment records during the past two years.

"I grew up loving math and science. I thought engineering was the perfect fit for me and my interests," says Ally, who is interested in designing elements of mechanical systems.

Meanwhile, Abby wants to study the intricacies of the human body and use her problem-solving skills to create biomedical instruments to address public health problems.

Ally, a 6-foot-1 power forward, was the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference's (HCAC) Freshman of the Year and a second-team all-conference player after leading Rose-Hulman to a school record 23 wins and regular season co-championship. She is having another strong season this winter as Rose-Hulman's leading scorer in 10 of the team's 21 games, and is averaging a team-high 12.9 points and nearly seven rebounds per game. She was a starting player for every one of her first 47 college games.

Abby has been the Engineers' leading scorer in four other games so far this season and the 5-foot-11 guard has started each of the team's first 21 games. She is averaging seven points a game and ranks among the team leaders in assists and steals.

Rose-Hulman won 18 of its first 21 games this season and leads the HCAC with an 13-1 league record.

"While academics were important in making our college decision, it's also been great that we've been able to play basketball here," says Abby. "It has helped us relieve the stresses of our classes and lab sessions. We cherish the times we're on the (basketball) court in practice and games."

During weekdays this winter the twins can be found in the same classrooms learning about general chemistry, fluid systems, mechanical systems, and material algebra/system of differential equations. They have also taken many of the same classes during other academic quarters. However, things will change in the future as they get more involved in their different academic majors.

"We know that the time is coming when we'll have our separate lives. That's why we're cherishing the moments we have together now," Abby remarks.

Ally adds, "We're so thankful to have found a place where we could still be together (in college). Whether in class, in our residence hall room or on the basketball court, we can glance at one another and know precisely what the other is thinking. When doing homework, we can explain things so that the other can understand. It's like we have a special language."

And, as if on cue, Abby remarks, "We know we have each other's back. We want each other to succeed-in class and on the court."