Identical Twins, Proud Alumni Make Most of Saint Leo Admissions Roles
Meet Jenna and Jessica Skrelunas, identical twins and proud Saint Leo alumni now supporting their alma mater through campus admissions roles.
Jenna and Jessica Skrelunas might be hard to tell apart. But the two Saint Leo University alumni and current graduate students who also work for the university are paving their own paths while being there for each other.
Sometimes referred to by others as “the twins,” The 23-year-old identical twins were born just two minutes apart. They are also mirror twins since certain physical characteristics appear on opposite sides of their bodies.
“Our hair parts on opposite sides, we used opposite feet when we first learned to walk, and we have opposite dominant hands,” Jessica explains.
Born in Dunedin, FL, they currently reside in nearby Tarpon Springs. Their mom, Christi, uses a lighthearted way of describing them.
“She said we were like ‘buy one, get one free babies,’” Jenna says with a laugh.
They have two dogs, Paisley Grace, a Chihuahua-Jack Russell Terrier mix, and Sydney, a miniature Australian Shepherd. Naturally, their guinea pig is named Nibbles.
The Skrelunas sisters are both proud 2017 alumni of Anclote High School. Thanks to a connection there, they added Saint Leo University to their list of potential schools for college.
“Our cheerleading coach at Anclote High School went to Saint Leo,” Jenna explains. “She was the main person who introduced us to the university. We found out about the community feel and how it felt like being included in one big family.”
Jessica notes that they were both accepted into seven colleges but knew Saint Leo was the best choice among them.
“Like Jenna, I loved the campus feel,” Jessica says.
The twins began their college careers at Saint Leo in the fall of 2017. Jenna decided on the English degree program with a focus on professional writing. Jessica opted for a bachelor’s in psychology with a focus on clinical counseling.
Jenna says Prof Marissa Glover was an incredible support to her.
“She was absolutely phenomenal,” she says. “She was also my advisor. I enjoyed every single second I spent with her. She is so knowledgeable but also a lot of fun to be around. I would ask her questions about my classes and life in general.”
She thoroughly enjoyed the professional writing track within her English degree program and notes that she got to tackle numerous practical projects that prepared her for her future.
For Jessica, a few psychology instructors come to mind who stood out to her.
“Dr. [Tammy] Zacchilli and Dr. [Kevin] Kieffer are very knowledgeable in their field and willing to be there for anything their students need. Every time I walked out of their classes, I felt so excited for my field and prepared to be successful.”
She adds that the mock therapy sessions she conducted with Dr. Kieffer helped her land an important internship.
The twins completed their undergraduate degrees in the spring of 2021.
They roomed together in the residence halls on campus and both benefited from this college bonding.
“We were involved in a lot on campus,” Jenna says. “We always know what each other is doing and going through, and we have always supported each other. The fact I got to live with my best friend was amazing.”
Both did work/study jobs with the university’s athletics department. Jenna was a staff writer for The Lions’ Pride student newspaper. Plus, they served as student ambassadors for prospective students and as orientation leaders for incoming students.
They were also members of the Delta Upsilon chapter of the Alpha Sigma Tau sorority and the Order of Omega Honor Society under Greek Life.
While working on her BA in English degree, Jenna was a member of the Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society’s Alpha Alpha Alpha chapter. In turn, as a psychology major, Jessica was part of the Psi Chi International Honor Society chapter. Athletically, they both competed on the cheerleading squad during their freshman year.
“Getting involved in all of these activities helped us with future internships, jobs, scholarships, and personal growth in general,” Jenna says.
“Thanks to Saint Leo, we both genuinely feel so prepared for our next steps in life,” Jessica adds. “I’d recommend that anyone coming to Saint Leo jump in with open arms. There is so much to do on campus. Even if the university doesn’t offer something you are interested in, they are willing to let students start new things as well.”
After finishing their undergraduate degrees, the Skrelunas twins knew they were not done with higher education. They wanted to keep advancing by pursuing graduate degree programs at the university beginning last fall. Jenna is working toward a master’s in instructional leadership degree with a specialization in exceptional student education (ESE).
“It has been such a great program,” Jenna says. “I have loved all of the knowledge I’ve gotten out of it so far. The assignments have been very beneficial.”
Their mom teaches ESE elementary students at Bishop Larkin Catholic School in Port Richey, FL. Seeing her rewarding career in education inspired Jenna to pursue this graduate degree.
Jessica is continuing her studies in psychology and is now enrolled in the master’s in psychology degree program on the health psychology track.
“I’ve really liked it so far,” she says. “It has taught me so much about the field and has been similar to my undergraduate program, just more advanced. My classmates have put themselves out there in this online program, and this has made it easy to connect with and support each other.”
For Jenna, community is a major core value in her eyes.
“You’re filled with so much joy at Saint Leo because of the people who are part of the community. I have had this feeling in my undergraduate and master’s degree programs, as well as in my current job. You can always go to someone around you because someone is always willing to help.
The concept of excellence has also resonated with her.
“We use the saying that, ‘You’ll love the person you become here.’ It is very true. Even if you are a confident student coming to campus, there is always room for improvement.”
Jessica also points to community but says respect is perhaps even more meaningful to her.
“You never know who might be able to open a door to a new opportunity for you, so respecting everyone is so important,” she says. “Saint Leo is a nice little bubble because of how much love and respect everyone has for each other. At one of our events, a family came up to us and asked, ‘Is everyone on campus really this nice?’? People are not used to being surrounded by such a supportive community.”
In 2021, the Skrelunas twins were lucky to land positions in Saint Leo’s University Enrollment Management department. They both work as assistant directors of undergraduate admissions. Jenna is responsible for recruiting undergraduate students in North Florida. Jessica handles the Central Florida region. This involves visiting high schools, attending college fairs, and connecting with prospective students and their families in a number of other ways.
“We enjoy the traveling aspect of our jobs,” Jenna says. “We love getting to share our amazing Saint Leo experiences with others, and our goal is that they will fall in love with it like we did.”
Jessica says it means the world to her to work for an institution that has given her so much as a student.
“In a sense, it’s giving back,” she says.
While both young ladies intend to continue their current admissions roles at Saint Leo for the foreseeable future, they do have specific career tracks in mind based on their graduate degree programs. Jenna hopes to work at a high school as a college or career coach. Jessica’s ultimate goal is to become a licensed therapist in the mental health space.
Outside of work and their graduate studies, the sisters love to travel. They have visited 48 U.S. states with Alaska and Hawaii remaining on their list. They also savor every opportunity they get to spend with their mom. Since they were little, they have even enjoyed an annual tradition.
“Our mom created a ‘discovery day’ for each of us,” Jenna explains. “We get to choose some activity to do that day where it is just one of us spending the day with our mom. Jessica’s discovery day is the day on which our mom found out she was pregnant. My day is the day she found out she was having twins.”
Photo credit: The photographs included in this blog article were provided by Jenna and Jessica Skrelunas and are used with permission.