The Bronners: Twin Success at Spelman

Co-valedictorians and hair-care scions Kristie and Kirstie told us what propelled them to the top.

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They spent the spring semester of their junior year studying in Milan as part of the Institute for the International Education of Students. The semester was the first time since birth that Kirstie and Kristin did not live together or take classes together.

"I was nervous about being in different classes. We had not been in different classes since elementary school," Kristie said. "We like being together, but we can be confident and independent on our own."

Because of the requirements of the international study program, students from the same college could not live together, Kirstie said. The Bronners spent most of their time together on the weekends, which they often used to travel through Europe to take in the cultures of such places as Paris, Barcelona and Ireland.

"We would find the cheapest flights or trains, get a map and travel," Kirstie said. "This was one of the most memorable experiences because it broadened our horizon and allowed us to be immersed in a different culture. Americans live to work. Italians work to live. They place emphasis on family and relationships."

At Spelman, the Bronners participated in several activities, including the Spelman College Glee Club. Kirstie is a section leader and student conductor, and Kristie is a section leader and chaplain.

One of the greatest challenges for the sisters was learning to balance their lives. "We had to learn to study during the week and get our work done so that we could do other things or rest on the weekends," Kirstie said.

Most days, Kirstie and Kristie dress alike because they want to. They live in an apartment about 10 minutes from campus, and they share a car.

While some twins have tension between them because of competition, Kirstie said that hasn't been an issue for her and her sister. "We both have our own identities. Those who know us well can distinguish between us," Kirstie said.

The twins have advice for students who want to be successful in college. "Work like it's all up to you, and pray like it's all up to God," said Kristie.

Kirstie stresses balance in life. "You don't have to work the whole weekend to keep a 4.0. It just takes time management, prayer and diligence," Kirstie said. "It's not about just being the smartest. When you work harder than a lot of other people and you pray harder, you get results."