Paul and Lynn Tran in UNG lab
Paul and Lynn Tran with UNG assistant biology professor Paul Johnson
Lynn and Paul Tran in first grade (family photo)
Lynn and Paul Tran with biology UNG biology department head and faculty advisor Nancy Dalman
DAHLONEGA, Ga. -- "When we arrived in kindergarten we only knew a few basic words like 'yes' and 'no'," Lynn Tran told 11Alive News on Wednesday.
But it wasn't long before she and her now-16-year-old twin brother, Paul, not only learned English, but skipped the second and fifth grades and started college while still in high school.
The straight-A students graduated from Forsyth Central High School last spring and hope to graduate from the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega next spring with dual degrees in chemistry and biology.
They credit several teachers in their journey and their Vietnamese immigrant parents who started it all when the twins were only 3.
"Our mom just wanted to teach us some stuff for fun like Vietnamese and math, but then she found that we were actually able to understand it, so she wanted to teach us more," Paul said.
He said by kindergarten they spoke Vietnamese and already knew addition, subtraction and multiplication.
When she first met them, their UNG academic adviser couldn't believe these rock star students wanted to take 24 hours of chemistry classes.
"At first it was just a matter of they were two people who needed a schedule, but then I got a chance to meet them and realized they're pretty terrific kids," said Biology Department head Nancy Dalman.
Lynn and Paul Tran also credit a lifelong academic rivalry that constantly challenges each other.
"We always try to do the best that we can and when the results come out, we're kinda like, 'well, what'd you get?'," Lynn said.
"Like a point difference in grade for tests causes me to study more, want to beat her next time," said Paul.
With the help of assistant biology professor Paul Johnson, the twins are already doing their own research on antibiotic resistant bacteria.
By this time next year, they hope to be enrolled in a post graduate program toward a Doctorate in Medicine and Philosophy.
And they don't even have driver's licenses yet.
"Right now we're leaning towards medical research, but that could change," said Paul.
Whatever they end up doing in life, they say it would be nice if they could continue doing it together.