Inseparable sisters tackle college together


Mia Hennen

Marissa and Maria Edelman study together in the RSC before going to their next class together. The Edelman sisters majored in accounting and graduated together.

Graduating from college and heading into the “real” world is something many anticipate for years. For graduates Marissa and Maria Edelman, this day came a bit earlier than usual. 

“I think it’s pretty funny and unique — I actually started college when I was 14, so I’ll actually be graduating with my bachelor’s at 18,” Marissa said.

Maria started college at the same time as her sister, but with three more years under her belt, beginning at 17. 

“We started off with the same courses because we didn’t know how it would work out, if we’d feel comfortable, or if we’d be able to do it,” Maria said. “We went through it and we both felt good, so we just kept taking the same courses throughout the college degree.”

Maria and Marissa were both homeschooled which enabled them to begin a dual-credit program at Cowley College before moving on to Wichita State where they both majored in accounting and took almost every class together.

“I think in a way by going to college together, we kind of encouraged each other to keep pushing through which was really nice, and I think that’s why we ended up taking the same courses because we were like ‘Well, she’s gonna be in it. I want to be in it,’” Maria said.

Being an inseparable pair came with recognition and fun nicknames from others.

“Our grandma would always call us M&M’s, so it kind of just stuck,” Maria said. “Whenever we go somewhere, and [people] are like, ‘Oh, it’s the sisters,’ we’re like, ‘Oh, it’s like being called the M&Ms.”

The two’s bond inspired them to try new things together. Marissa had an interest in becoming a CNA after seeing how their relative was treated in a care home.

“When I was like 15 years old, I talked to my mom about it. I got really lucky because the class started right on my 16th birthday and you have to be 16 to do it,” Marissa said. “Because I was doing it, [Maria] came with me, and we got our CNA course at WSU tech.”

After trying CNA course clinicals and realizing the emotional demand of the job, the pair decided to take a course in Home Health Aid (HHA).

“At that point, we were a little bit scarred by the clinicals, so it wasn’t something we ended up doing long term because we were pursuing our accounting degree at the same time,” Marissa said.

In addition to dipping their toes into health care professions, the pair are both involved in organizations and programs on campus like Professional Edge and Beta Alpha Psi.

“We’re both officers in Beta Alpha Ps,” Maria said. “[Marissa] is VP of Communications Coordination, and I’m the secretary.”

After their graduation in May, the pair will pursue different paths: Marissa hopes to receive her MBA and has a job lined up for the summer, while Maria begins a new internship.

“Watching her change and being next to her while she’s doing that is really cool,” Maria said. “I kinda wish we could work together.”