California Educator

October 2016

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N icco and Rocco Ruscitto are both psychology majors at CSU Fuller- ton. At first glance, most people don't realize they are identical twins. ey don't look exactly alike; Rocco has a beard, and they differ in weight by about 15 pounds. But Nancy Segal did a double take and recognized that they were identical twins the minute she set eyes on them. That's b e c a u s e sh e i s c o n si d e re d o n e of th e foremost experts on twins in the country. Author of four books and more than 200 scientific articles about twins, she runs the Twin Studies Center at CSU Fullerton, where she is a psychology professor. And yes, she is a twin. Her fraternal twin sister lives in New York and is an attorney. S h e a ske d th e 2 2 - ye a r - o l d Ru s c itt o brothers if they would drop by her lab and contribute to her research. ey were hon- ored to assist such a renowned researcher. ey wish, however, that they had met her earlier. She could have come to their defense a few years ago when they were taking the same online college course and their work was so similar that they were unjustly accused of cheating. "is happens on occasion," says Segal, California Faculty Association . "I have worked on a number of cases where twins were accused of cheating because they came up with the same answers on tests and homework assignments. Several of these cases have gone to court, and in some cases students have been dismissed from their universities. It's unfortunate that some faculty and administrators don't real- ize students with matched talents can do similar work." Segal has a passion for clearing up mis- conceptions about twins and studying the ways they are alike and different that con- stantly drives her to break new ground on the topic. She has studied the relationships of twins with each other and with outsid- ers. She has studied twins who were raised together and twins who were raised apart, and some who were reunited after decades of separation. She has compared the bond of fraternal twins with that of identical twins. She estimates that she has studied hundreds if not thousands of twins. She made headlines in 2014 when she arranged for a reunion of twins Ann Hunt and Elizabeth Hamel, who had been apart for 78 years, since they were 5 months old. Hunt, from England , was adopted and learned she had a twin sister after her Meet twin expert Nancy Segal By Sherry Posnick-Goodwin In 2014, Segal arranged for the reunion of twins Elizabeth Hamel (left) and Ann Hunt, who had been apart for 78 years, since they were 5 months old. Photo courtesy Nancy Segal. Nancy Segal with twins Rocco and Nicco Ruscitto. Photo by Scott Buschman. 14 perspectives

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