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Kenyan twins graduate FAMU as first-generation pharmaceutical doctors

Posted at 2:28 PM, May 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-05 14:28:29-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — After six straight years of dedicated study, twins Rhoda and Agnes Musyoka will join the ranks of rattler graduates with the highest educational honor.

"It's really exciting. It's been a long time coming," Rhoda said, with her sister Agnes adding, "It was many, many late nights."

Obtaining their pharmaceutical doctorates is a goal they say they've been looking forward to as they set a new standard in their family.

"My mom is a nurse and my dad is a business owner, and they're both from Kenya," Agnes said, referring to parents Alphonce Kyule and Serah Alphonce. "We're first generation African Americans, so being able to be the first ones, it shows that my parents did grow us up, raise us well."

The doctoral duo says its their honor, not only to accomplish this goal for their family, but also for them to make their mark as minorities in the STEM field.

"Florida is a big pharmacy school area," Rhoda points out. "We're going up against seven pharmacy schools in Florida. So just being one of the big minority programs, you get to see a lot of your black pharmacists come out of FAMU. And so then just being able to showcase your representation, what you've learned at these places, it means a lot."

FAMU's School of Pharmacy is just one of 14 colleges and schools within the university helping usher hundreds of new grads into their next chapter.

"We have over 1,200 graduates that will finish in the spring semester," FAMU interim provost Allyson Watson said. That number, down from more than 13-hundred last year, but, Watson says, by no means less impactful. "We are moving the mark on social mobility. We know that our first generation college students and the 55 percent of Pell-eligible students that come here as freshmen are now leaving, and they are impacting their communities because they're usually a first- or second-generation college grad, and they're making monumental strides."

As this year's cohort awaits their life-changing walk across the stage, university leadership and alumni wish them the utmost success. "We recognize that this graduation means so much to families," Watson says. "We are incredibly elated for our graduates."

FAMU will have three graduation ceremonies at the Al Lawson Center for spring 2023 graduates. The first is Friday at 6 p.m., followed by Saturday's commencements at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.