To the best of recollections, there’s never been a set of twins graduate from the James L. College of Pharmacy, so it’s a pretty safe bet that 2014 is the first year the college will graduate two sets: identical twins Kayla and Michelle McWilliams and fraternal twins Ameera and Jameela Aladimi— all of whom will receive their PharmD degrees on April 27.
"We make independent decisions, but a lot of times we still wind up in the same place,” Kayla McWilliams says of their choice to carry on a family tradition and attend pharmacy school at UC.
Their mother Elaine Kemper, RPh, (85’) is a pharmacist at Christ Hospital, while their grandfather John Kemper (48’), was the owner of Kemper Pharmacy in Westwood, an independent pharmacy which he operated for 38 years. Prior to him the pharmacy was called Habig’s and owned by his step-father.
"It was gone by the time we were old enough to appreciate what would have been there, but I think we would have at least worked there a little bit,” says Michelle.
With a GPA hovering near a 4.0, the McWilliams twins could likely each have had their pick of pharmacy positions anywhere in the country, but the Cincinnati natives decided to stick close to home. Michelle has taken a position as a hospital pharmacist at Bethesda North, where she’s worked the past four years while going to pharmacy school, and Kayla will be soon start her new job at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
It’s quite the opposite for fraternal twins Ameera and Jameela Aladimi, who hail from Dayton, Ohio, and are affectionately known to friends and family as "Am-Jam”. They will be parting ways for the first time in their lives. Ameera has secured a retail pharmacy position in Arizona and Jameela will be a pharmacy resident at Blanchard Valley Hospital in Findlay, Ohio.
"Being apart is something we are willing to do for the personal growing experience. Graduation is for going our separate paths, but we are still going to be very close,” Jameela says with the hesitancy one would expect from siblings who have shared everything their entire lives.
Ameera says that she was "determined to have an adventure” after graduation and is looking forward to the move; although regardless of where they reside and practice pharmacy, both say that their future will definitely include obtaining their certification in diabetes education (CDE) because Jameela was born a Type 1 diabetic.
"Having diabetes is definitely a challenge,” Jameela says, adding "I think I could help patients because I have the professional knowledge and the personal experience.”
Both sets of twins say they knew they wanted to pursue pharmacy early on in life and have benefited greatly from having that familiar shoulder to lean on.
"We tend to study the same way, the same style. We memorize the notes and then go back to them ….but she’s faster than I am so she tends not to want to study with me,” Michelle says in jest, while Ameera and Jameela say that their study styles are completely different from the McWilliams, and from each other.
"I like to write everything down and make colorful notes and she doesn’t have the patience to do that,” says Jameela.
Either way, the twins will be hooded on April 27th and embark on their professional journey with the enthusiasm and passion they’ve displayed towards education long before enrolling at UC.
Also of note is that 2014 graduate Hilary Gerwin, a triplet, has an identical sister, Abby, who is graduating from pharmacy school at the Ohio State University. However, Hilary and Abby will reunite soon. Both have obtained general pharmacy residency positions at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
Good luck telling them apart UCMC!