Class of 2023: Two of a Kind

Siblings Chelsea and Chandler Drumgoole have always been close — not because they had to, but because they wanted to.

You see it right away. They call themselves best friends, but you know that’s true before they tell you. It’s in the way they interrupt each other to finish thoughts. It’s in the way they playfully bicker.

“We do get into our little spats,” says Chandler. “It’s funny. It’s more common now that it was growing up.”

“I don’t think that’s true,” says Chelsea.

“I think it’s true,” says Chandler.

They bring out the best in each other. Chelsea says Chandler helps her with accountability. Chandler says Chelsea helps him unplug when he’s in hardcore academic mode. Even what they describe as their competitive natures with one another isn’t entirely competitive.

“We drive each other to succeed,” says Chandler. “I’d say that I don’t think I would’ve gotten this far without that competitive drive that she gives me. You know, I can’t let her outshine me.”

He laughs and so does Chelsea

“It wasn’t so much that if he gets a 98, I had to get a 99,” she adds. “It was always just … if he’s trying so hard, I’m trying hard, too. We’ve pushed each other in the best ways.”

You get the strongest sense of how close they are when they talk about their shared passion for animals and veterinary medicine, a path that had been on their minds since they were children. And they share an infectious excitement for joining the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine Class of 2023. The Drumgooles are the first set of twins to enroll in the CVM at the same time.

I know that having [Chelsea] here with me will make all of the difference, says Chandler Drumgoole.

Chelsea says they’ve been this unfailingly supportive of each other since her brother took her by the hand the first day of kindergarten to walk into class together. He is older, after all, by one minute.

They didn’t have their hearts set on going to the same veterinary school, but they find it hard to imagine what it would have been like otherwise.

“I think it’s comforting just to know somebody who’s in the same place, going through the same situation as you,” says Chelsea.

“Yeah, for me it would have been more stressful if we went to different schools,” says Chandler. “I’d be feeling like I was missing a piece of me. I know that having her here with me will make all of the difference.”

While Chelsea and Chandler were studying at North Carolina A&T State University, they told each other they wouldn’t go to the same school just because they both got in. But when they were both admitted, on the same day, to the CVM, they both knew that they needed to go. It was the school for them — each of them. 

For Chelsea, who’s interested in both small animal and farm animal medicine, the CVM offers the early hands-on veterinary experience she craves. She’s interested in rural medicine and making veterinary care accessible to underserved communities. 

Chandler is interested in laboratory animal medicine and is particularly impressed with the type of research conducted at the school. So is Chelsea, particularly if her research can help fight disease, a desire spurned on in part by losing her grandfather to Parkinson’s disease. They both want to conduct research that makes a direct difference — clear and strong. 

“We want to see real-world results,” Chandler says.

And they particularly want to see their work impact North Carolina. They were born in the Durham hospital where their mother worked as a nurse, but since their father was then a member of the Army Medical Specialist Corps, they moved frequently with their three other siblings. They went from North Carolina to Northern California, then south to San Diego, then to Houston, back to San Diego and finally to Greensboro for the last two years of high school.

Coming back to North Carolina clicked with them. Their mom grew up here, and it was where they took animal science classes and joined the National FFA Organization while in high school. Before applying to the CVM, Chelsea and Chandler wandered around the campus and talked with faculty and students during public open houses. Soon, they were dead-set on attending themselves.

They may even stick together after graduation. They’ve talked about co-owning a veterinary clinic and offering a mobile service. They’d love to set up shop in North Carolina.

“Greensboro has food deserts where fresh food is hard to find. There are rural areas all over the state with just one vet that not everyone can get to,” says Chelsea. “I’d like the opportunity to help North Carolina farmers and animal owners and make veterinary medicine accessible.”

“Right. And you know, when I got here, I just honestly fell in love with the state,” Chandler says. “There’s a sense of community and family. People welcome you into their home with open arms. I want to set down roots here because I want to be a part of this community. I want to contribute in all ways that I can.”

~Jordan Bartel/NC State Veterinary Medicine