KOKOMO, Ind. — Courtney and Kiley Freeman have always done everything together, and attending college was no different.
They enrolled at Indiana University Kokomo in the summer of 2012, and have taken every college course together. They have shared books, helped each other study, and even spent their class breaks together running and working out in the Cole Fitness Center. This May, they both graduated with the same degree—a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences, focusing in health promotions—and both earned medical coding certificates.
“I couldn’t have graduated without Kiley,” said Courtney, and Kiley agreed.
“When one of us was unmotivated or grumpy about our busy schedule or classes, the other one was there to pick us up and keep us going,” said Kiley. “Courtney was always there to help and push me.”
The Freeman twins found a home in the health sciences program, after semesters of uncertainty and switching majors.
“We’ve always been healthy, active, and are constantly moving and involved in something,” said Courtney.
“We’ve always been interested in the topic, so going into a health-related field was natural. We just needed to figure out where we fit,” added Kiley.
However, these sisters were determined to graduate early. Courtney came up with a plan that would allow them to graduate in three years, so long as they took 50 credit hours their third year.
“I remember the day I walked into our advisor’s office and told her that we were taking these classes and we were graduating,” said Courtney. “She trusted us, approved the courses, and we knew we would make it happen.”
“We were not only determined to complete our plan, but we were going to do it well,” said Kiley.
They proved everyone right, as they both made the Dean’s List during that 50 credit-hour year.
While they made academics a priority, they also participated in activities on campus and within the community. They were members of the first-ever IU Kokomo cheerleading squad, and volunteered at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure as breast health ambassadors. Additionally, they visited the Komen Tissue Bank and volunteered as specimen runners; their fellow classmates donated breast tissue for cancer research, and the twins would transport the tissue to the labs.
“We loved participating in these events and activities, because we gained hands-on experience in what we are hoping to do in our careers,” said Kiley.
Throughout it all, the Freeman twins have kept one thing separate: their jobs. In addition to classes and activities, they each worked one to two part-time jobs off campus to help pay for school, and they completed separate internships.
Kiley interned at Midwest Eye Consultants in Wabash in their central billing department. She put her medical coding and billing skills to work and also worked with insurance companies and patients regarding surgery authorizations.
Courtney interned at the Image Vision Center in Marion and was trained as an optician, where she would help fit patients to contacts and glasses after they saw the doctor. This internship led Courtney to a full-time position, and she is now being trained as a technician, where she will prepare patients to see the doctor.
“My internship was such a great and necessary learning experience, and I am so glad I had the opportunity,” said Kiley. “It’s helped me figure out where my interests are and what I could be great at in this field.”
Looking back on their experiences, they said they would do it all over again.
“Choosing IU Kokomo was a no-brainer for us,” said Courtney. “The campus offered exactly what they were looking for: small classes, affordability, and the opportunity to build meaningful, life-long relationships with faculty and staff.”
They both said they wouldn’t be where they are today without the help and support of Jessica Henderson, assistant professor of health sciences.
“She had us build portfolios, complete mock interviews, have our resumes critiqued, and volunteer,” said Courtney. “She even helped us get internships this last year, on top of everything else. We didn’t realize how much we had done and learned, and Jessica taught us how to apply all of it for our future careers.”
“We are more introverted, so we needed this gracious shove to get out there and build a network,” said Kiley.“IU Kokomo really was the perfect package.”
Story written by Mary Olk for the Office of Media & Marketing.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.