The Catholic University of America

McGann Sisters

Sisters Grow Closer at CUA

Deciding on Catholic University as seniors in high school was not easy for identical twins Mary and Jenny McGann.

“We were very adamant that we were not going to go to the same school. We wanted separation completely,” Jenny said. “Then we visited Catholic and we both fell in love.”

“We both knew we were going to pick it but we didn’t want to say,” said Mary, laughing at the memory.

Now the two seniors are roommates along with several mutual friends. Though they both say they have developed their independence during their years at college, they have also grown closer than ever before.

“In high school I don’t think we realized how strong our relationship was,” Jenny said. “Coming to CUA, it was so nice to have her there if I was ever homesick or needed someone to talk to or did badly in a class. In high school I don’t think we ever leaned on each other like we do now.”

“We’ve become individuals and our relationship has become stronger too,” Mary said.

The two seniors have excelled in athletics during their college years. Mary has played four years on the women’s soccer team and two on the basketball team, and Jenny has played four years on the basketball team.

“Jenny has always led by example. Her work ethic and determination have gained her the respect of her teammates,” said Meghan Sullivan, assistant women’s basketball coach. “Jenny’s team-first attitude and strength of character will continue to be respected by many.”

Jenny hit an important milestone during a Jan. 30 game against Juniata College, scoring a career high of 22 points. The team won the game by 3 points and is currently in the midst of a 24-1 season with a ranking of tenth in the nation.

“As a player, she is a relentless defender, an incredibly vocal presence on and off the court, and she is an outstanding student in the classroom and extremely active in our community,” said Matthew Donohue, head women's basketball coach. “Her tireless work ethic, attention to detail, and well-rounded intelligence will surely make her a success in all she does.”

After two years playing on both the soccer and basketball teams, Mary decided to leave the basketball team in order to focus on soccer and academics, though the sisters said they missed playing with each other.

“We have the same mindset in sports,” Jenny said. “When she was off the team, I missed that, having someone who knew exactly your style.”

“There were times when I would see [a play] and she would see it at the same time,” Mary added.

According to head women’s soccer coach J.P. Sousa, Mary had her best season yet this past fall, earning her a spot on the All-Landmark Conference team.

“Mary has been a consistent performer on our soccer team for four years. … [She] is a dedicated worker on the field, always doing what is asked of her. She leads by example and gives everything she has to be successful. If she sets her mind to something, Mary is going to achieve it,” Sousa said.

The sisters, both members of the University Honors Program, have met with success both on and off the field.

Mary was recently awarded the College Chemistry Achievement Award, an honor presented annually by the Chemistry Society of Washington to one chemistry and biochemistry senior at each of the four-year colleges and universities in the Washington D.C. area. Mary was selected for the award by the chemistry department at CUA.

This semester she is treasurer of the Chemistry Club and works as a teaching assistant in an organic chemistry lab. She plans to eventually attend pharmacy school.

Jenny works for the human resources department of a law firm, a job she says has shown her that a law career is not for her, but has introduced her to human resources, a career path she is excited to pursue.

For their first three years of college, the sisters avoided rooming together in order to branch outside their comfort zones. As seniors, they have enjoyed being roommates, but it’s too early to say if they will be able to continue living together next year.

However, at this point they say where they live won’t matter.

“After four years of being at college together, I think we’ve established our relationship,” Jenny said.

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Jenny (Genevieve) and Mary McGann

Hometown: York, Pa.

Major: Jenny, Business; Mary, Chemistry

Favorite Pastime in D.C. Together: Taking a run around the national monuments

Jenny’s Favorite Class at CUA: Ceramics with Robert Barnard, lecturer in ceramic art in the Department of Art. “I’ve definitely decided that [ceramics] is going to be my hobby later on. I made teapots for my whole family for Christmas … It was completely different from any class I’d ever taken. I liked all my business classes, but that was a surprise.”

Mary’s Favorite Class at CUA: Chemical Instrumentation with Vadim Knyazev, professor of chemistry. “It was a lot of looking at instruments and how they work and why they work and what they’re used for. I really liked the practical aspect of it.”