Shonda and Shalisha Witherspoon

Degree: Bachelor’s in Information Technology

College/School: College of Engineering and Computing

Shonda and Shalisha Witherspoon share a remarkable bond – identical twins, their special connection existed before they were even born.

They are more than sisters; they are a team. From being homeschooled to attending college – they have remained side by side. Their educational journey will culminate in them graduating together with bachelor’s degrees in information technology – and 3.95 GPAs, the highest in the College of Engineering and Computing for spring commencement.

The twins grew up in a family of six children and discovered their love of technology through their oldest brother. Even though the family struggled to pay for their studies and minority women remain greatly underrepresented in STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), Shonda and Shalisha were undeterred.

The Witherspoons hold research positions at FIU’s High Performance Database Research Center. Under the mentorship of Professor Naphtali Rishe, they work on, a high-resolution geo-database website. Active on campus, they are members of the Golden Key Honor Society, Phi Kappa Phi, Delta Epsilon Iota Academic Honor Society, and the Sigma Alpha Lambda Leadership and Honors Organization.

They are also on the executive board of FIU’s Study Abroad Club, where they serve as advocates, encouraging minority students and STEM majors to participate in study abroad programs. They have spoken at several events about their own study abroad experience in Japan.

Shonda and Shalisha plan to pursue a graduate degree at FIU in computer science. They dream of working in Japan one day as software engineers–creating a game or the next popular mobile app.