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​Triplets and scholars, the Fernandez brothers make the most of Ohio State career

Max, Andrew and Simon Fernandez may not look alike, but the fraternal triplets have taken a nearly identical trip to and through The Ohio State University.

All three third-year students went to the same high school in Columbus, all three are part of the university’s Morrill Scholarship Program and all three are now in the same biomedical science program.

Familiarity has not caused contempt.

“We do try to push each other to excel but we definitely help each other more than we try to outdo each other,” Max said. “We’ve never really had much competition or really much reason to fight over anything. We’ve done a lot of the same things. So we all like and enjoy many of the same things as well.”

Their interest in medicine comes from their parents. Their father, Alex, was born in Cuba but fled the country when Fidel Castro came to power. He went to medical school in Spain to become a physician before moving to Columbus. Their mother, Katheryn, is an Ohio State graduate and was an assistant professor in the department of nursing at Capital University.

“I think that just being exposed to [medicine] from an early age you are asking a lot of questions,” Simon said. “It inspired some curiosity. We’ve always been very involved in the sciences so it just kind of led to a very natural extension of looking at medicine.”

Growing up as Buckeyes, it made sense to consider Ohio State when they graduated from high school.

“It’s kind of hard living in Ohio State’s backyard and just ignore it completely. The academics are strong and there is a lot of opportunity if you know where to look,” Max said.

The scholarships helped close the deal for all three brothers. The Morrill Scholarship Program rewards academically talented students who are also engaged in activities that support diversity in leadership, service and social justice.

They spent time volunteering both locally and abroad. In Columbus they volunteered in the Isabelle Ridgway Care Center and in Mexico they worked for the Cemanahuac Educational Community, a Spanish language immersion school.

“Isabelle Ridgway was very interesting because it served a diverse population,” Andrew said. “I’ve met a couple of guys there that were professional boxers. We met the wife of one of the Tuskegee Airmen. It’s just been a really great opportunity to meet people from a really varied background and to be able to interact and to hear their stories. And I think that really helped us to appreciate diversity.”

Max said the trips to Mexico were aided by their mother.

“During middle school and high school we went to Mexico several times for study-abroad trips. Our mother is a professor and she ran some study-abroad trips for nursing students. Usually we were fortunate enough to be able to go along and it was super interesting experience,” he said.

Although the brothers have followed a similar path to this point, that will change when they graduate. Andrew and Simon plan to attend medical school when they graduate next year. Max intends to practice medicine of a different kind: He plans to go to veterinary school when he graduates from Ohio State.

That will change the way these brothers continue their education.

“I’ve always compared it to going to college with your best friend,” Andrew said. “I’ve always had someone to talk to, someone to get notes with. You can go out and get a snack or go and get dinner. I’ve always been and will be with my best friends and that was always really meaningful and very helpful for me.”