HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Two identical twins from Southwick, Massachusetts are to graduate from Holyoke Community College (HCC) on June 4 as valedictorians.

Alina and Anastasia Antropova have been acknowledged for multiple honors, scholarships, and awards. According to a news release from HCC, both of them received a 4.0 GPA which led them to earn the title of valedictorian of their 2022 HCC class.

The 19-year-old twins appear identical through physical features, but have many differences through their character traits and skills.

“It’s kind of funny because when we were kids we were very similar,” said Alina. “We had the same interests. We did everything together. We both played clarinet in middle school. But when we hit high school, we started to differentiate. It’s been really interesting to see how that’s played out so far.” 

Differences that set the twins apart

Alina Antropova

  • Chemistry major
  • HCC Writing Club and is editor of Pulp City, the college literary magazine
  • Aspires to be an immigration attorney

Alina writing is based on creative, nonfiction, academic. Her poetry has been published in Pulp City. She took first place in 2022 in the HCC Library’s research competition for her paper she wrote for Spanish 201 class, “Exploring the Connections in the Magical, Diasporic, Caribbean, Female Coming-of-age Novel.” An essay she wrote based on research she conducted on the cost of college textbooks earned her a weekend trip to New York City where she received the Phi Theta Kappa New Century Transfer Scholarship. 

Of course, she brought along Anastasia – “my plus one” – as her guest. 

Anastasia Antropova

  • STEM scholar and vice president of the HCC STEM Club
  • Aspires to be a scientist

When Anastasia was growing up she had a vision of being a doctor at but first, but an AP chemistry class he sophomore year put her onto another path.

“I just fell in love with it,” she said. “I thought chemistry was the coolest science ever. I find it so fascinating how we have gotten to a point where we can understand very deep things about the universe that we can’t even see. It’s like a magical experience to know this hidden world.” 

Chemistry had become Anastaia’s focus at HCC and in her final research project, she used a microwave oven to synthesize aspirin without a catalyst. Her project was titled: “Give it the green light: evaluating microwave synthesis of aspirin for environmental impact.” At the spring 2022 UMass Undergraduate Research Conference, Anastaia presented her project. 

Experience at HCC

“It’s been an amazing experience,” said Anastasia. “We graduated from high school in the middle of the pandemic. Everything was virtual. Nobody knew what was going to happen. We decided to try HCC for a semester, and then we loved it, so we stayed.” 

Out of the two years they have spent at HCC, they had only one class with each other called macroeconomics.

The twins did become study partners. “She’s my better reader for all my papers,” Alina said of her sister. “I’m not that useful for her chemistry stuff, but I’ll quiz her on her flashcards, although I don’t understand what I’m reading.”   

“I feel bad,” said Anastasia, “because I’ll make these gigantic stacks of flashcards and it’ll be like midnight and I’ll say, you gotta help me study, and she she’s like, no, I want to go to sleep, and I’m like, no, not cool.” 

At HCC, both work in the tutor centers and were recognized for their contribution. In May, they each received the 2022 Center for Academic Support Award for Tutorial Excellence. Alina worked in the Writing Center, while Anastasia worked in the Tutoring Center.

“We’re so different in the way that we see the world and how we approach problems, and even the way we think of solutions,” said Alina. “But the fact that we can work together on things I think makes us really successful. We’re a complementary team in that sense.” 

Future paths

The two are to separate onto their two different career paths, beginning this summer. Alina will be attending a refugee welcome center in Albany, N.Y., where she will work with AmeriCorps on college access programs. Anastasia is to join National Science Foundation internship at the University of Cincinnati, where she will be conducting research in sustainable chemistry. 

However, in September they will come back together to share a dorm at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Anastasia is to study chemistry, while Alina studies English, social thought and political economy. 

“We won’t have to pre-vet our roommates,” said Anastasia. “I think it’s a special thing being a twin. You kind of have a built-in number one person, like she’d be my phone call if I was ever in jail.”