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Siblings offer a support system

Andrew and Rebecca Alonzo have followed the same academic path, both earning their bachelor's degrees in psychology. (USC Photo/Pamela J. Johnson)

Siblings Andrew and Rebecca Alonzo are a bit more than a year apart.

“When people say describe your sister, I tell them she’s me but a girl,” Andrew said. “We are mirror images of each other, just opposite sexes.”

After high school, both attended Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, Calif., the small suburban city where they grew up. Unsure what they wanted to do, both were taking general education courses.

“I didn’t have much direction,” Andrew said. “I was also unloading packages from trucks for UPS. I knew this was not something I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”

Leave it to younger sis to give him a nudge. Rebecca was eager to attend USC. They have uncles and cousins who are USC graduates, and Rebecca wanted to be part of that kind of school spirit.

“All the time, I told my brother, I want to go to USC,” Rebecca said. One day Andrew said, “I had an epiphany.” He hunkered down and his grades skyrocketed.

“Alright, let’s do it,” he told himself. Both took psychology courses at community college. Not surprisingly, both became intrigued.

“It just snowballed from there,” Andrew said, who along with Rebecca earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences on May 17.

While taking some classes together, the siblings were not competitive. Rather, if one excelled more, he or she would see what could be done to make sure the other did better next time.

Half Czech and half Mexican, their mother is a case management hospital director, and their father is a retired mechanical engineer. The siblings said they made the right choice with USC Dornsife, which encouraged them to explore many disciplines.

Both volunteered at USC Dornsife’s Joint Educational Project, where Rebecca was a volunteer placement coordinator.

Both are now applying to law school. Andrew already works at a law firm in El Monte, Calif. While it’s uncertain whether they’ll end up in the same law school, one thing is for sure: They have each other’s back.

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