Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Twins go from GEDs to Columbia University

Vincent (l) and Eugene Dinescu 

Growing up, Eugene and Vincent Dinescu did everything together. They lived together, had class together, played sports together and even dressed alike.

The fraternal twins were somewhat separated for three years when they attended different elementary schools, but have essentially been together since then.

“We were basically one entity,” Vincent said of growing up together in North Brunswick.

Now the 22-year-olds will join each other again, at Columbia University next month; Eugene has been there for a year already, while Vincent will be starting his path toward medical school this fall.

Although the two never graduated from high school because they missed too many days because of their mother’s battle with cancer, they eventually received GEDs. Afterward, they decided to attend Middlesex County College (MCC) on their path toward a pre-med degree, a goal they’ve both had since they were young. Then the future doctors decided to apply to Columbia University for their medical studies.

“The goal was to come [to MCC], work hard … and make it to a four-year institution,” Eugene said. “Middlesex was the key. It was the catalyst for everything. This is basically where the story started; we’ll see where it finishes.”

“I think if you do well at Middlesex, you have an opportunity to do whatever you want,” Vincent added. “I thank Middlesex for giving me an opportunity to better myself and to reach a pretty successful point in my life.”

Eugene decided that Columbia would be the only school he would apply to, though he did not graduate with an associate degree; he decided to transfer his credits from Middlesex to Columbia instead. Vincent, on the other hand, took an extra year to build up his credentials, and applied to about 16 schools. This is the same determination that was instilled in them by their father, a Junior Olympics 100-meter sprinter from Romania, who gave them a medical encyclopedia at the age of 6.

The former Boss and Vision models also have volunteered in the medical field. Vincent spent 100 hours at Staten Island University Hospital, N.Y., with the director of the emergency room, and Eugene shadowed a few doctors in interventional radiology at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick.

Their academic path is especially impressive because attaining Ivy League acceptance after receiving a GED is not common, MCC counselor Gina Bedoya said, and also because it is twins accomplishing this feat.

“For me, as a counselor, it goes to show that Middlesex really is for people of different backgrounds. If you have a GED or you graduate in the top 20 percent of your class, where there’s a will, there’s a way,” she said. “They proved that success does start here … and hard work does pay.”

Even more impressive is that they both want to specialize in plastic surgery. Eugene said he has always been able to draw, so “I should be a pretty decent surgeon,” and Vincent was inspired by a Discovery Channel special on conjoined twins. Eugene, who is also interested in the business aspect of having his own plastic surgery office, is currently developing his own website,, which will promote physical fitness, well-being and advice on how to achieve any goal. He also wrote eight e-books on topics such as careers, well-being and nutrition, which will also be posted on his site. “With proper planning, your hard work will pay off,” Eugene said.

Contact Jennifer Amato at

Twins go from GEDs to Columbia University

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