Triplets share valedictorian honors, head to Georgia Tech

Adam, Rommi and Zane Kashlan are fraternal triplets who’ve done many things together.

Last month, the brothers shared valedictorian honors from West Forsyth High School.

Next week, they’ll begin another joint experience. They’re starting their college careers at Georgia Tech, in a summer program created for students eager to get a head start on their coursework, learn their way around the campus and make friends.

It’s not surprising the Kashlan triplets wanted to begin their Georgia Tech careers early. It took them just two years to graduate from high school, and all three brothers are doing research, at Emory, Georgia Tech and the University of North Carolina. They turned 16 in May.

“It just made more sense,” Zane, who wants to study neuroscience, said of Georgia Tech and joining his brothers there.

The odds of triplets being valedictorians and attending the same college are likely slim. Last year, Georgia Tech accepted only about 1 in 5 students who applied. Their dad, Dean, is particularly excited. He graduated from Georgia Tech in 1985 with a degree in electrical engineering.

The triplets initially considered different colleges. Adam was thinking about going to the University of Michigan to study in the business program. Zane was accepted into a competitive, seven-year medical studies program at Augusta University. Rommi was most interested in attending Georgia Tech.

They talked it out and decided Georgia Tech was the best fit for them academically. They also weren’t ready to leave one another.

“I pulled both of them back here,” said Rommi, who wants to study biomedical engineering, can assemble a computer and is the comedian of the bunch.

The triplets said they graduated with 4.72 grade point averages (GPA) and earned state Zell Miller Scholarships, which will cover their tuition. They took several Advanced Placement courses, which helped them earn above the standard perfect 4.0 GPA. The triplets took some high school courses in middle school and additional high school classes, earning enough credits to graduate early, their dad said.

The brothers and their parents credit their high school principal and several teachers for allowing the triplets to take some classes that fit their academic curiosity.

“They really nurtured them,” their father said.

The triplets typically studied separately, preparing for the day when they’ll have to do so, but asked each other questions when necessary. They tracked how each other was doing in the classroom (Rommi nodded at Adam when asked who’s the most competitive brother), but they didn’t think they were in contention to be valedictorians.

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“It is now our job to chart our own destiny,” Adam said in his commencement speech on behalf of his brothers. Rommi said he added some jokes, quoting rap stars Drake and Kanye West.

The boys’ parents said teachers noticed the intellectual gifts in their children, starting in middle school, so their role was to assist. Their mom, Judy, logged countless miles driving the family minivan to take the boys to various after-school activities, particularly swimming, and to their research.

The travels through the treacherous traffic of metro Atlanta was worth it.

“You work hard and you get rewarded,” she said.


Here’s some of the research the Kashlan triplets are doing.

Adam: He's working for a University of North Carolina Neuroscience Center, assisting in research to determine how chronic pain is seen in the facial features of mice. They're hoping the research will help spot similar features in humans to prevent stroke and other conditions. He works under the supervision of postdoctoral fellow Alexander Tuttle as part of a lab run by the center's director, Mark Zylka.

Rommi: He's an intern in a joint biomedical engineering program by Emory University and Georgia Tech under assistant professor Vahid Serpooshan using 3D printing and other software to create living tissue to solve cardiac issues such as hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a birth defect that affects normal blood flow through the heart.

Zane: He's an intern for Emory University biology professor Astrid Prinz, studying issues such as Fragile X, a genetic condition that causes delayed development of speech and language by age 2.