The bonds of family are stronger than the bonds between unrelated
people. This axiom couldn't be truer for the four Greendyk cousins who
graduated together with honors in various disciplines. Their decision to
attend the same university was not deliberate, but they wouldn't have
it any other way.
Natasha, the oldest of the four, was first to attend Seton Hall. "I
researched other schools, but Seton Hall was the only university with a
physician assistant program that was within commuting distance. I loved
that a lot," she explained. "I only applied to one other school as back
Natasha enrolled in the School of Health and Medical Sciences and
completed the 3+3 Dual Degree program, earning a Bachelor of Science in
Biology and a Master of Science in Physician Assistant studies in six
Her brother Richard and cousin Sam followed. "When you stepped on campus, you felt like you were home," explained Richard.
Richard, on track to medical school, also earned a Bachelor of
Science in Biology, and Sam, aspiring to work in law enforcement, earned
a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice.
Richard felt fortunate to have a sister who studied biology. He said
Natasha was his number one mentor at Seton Hall, especially during his
first two years. "She made comprehensive study reviews for all of her
biology courses," he explained, "and I was lucky enough to have them.
They were a big help to me!"
With three of her cousins at the same university, Hannah had no
choice but to join the bandwagon. "It was during Thanksgiving dinner,"
explained Richard. "We gathered around the table and convinced Hannah to
attend Seton Hall."
For Hannah, the decision wasn't hard. In fact, she credits her
ability to finish her political science program in three years to her
family support on campus.
"We held each other's hands and that was a big help," said Hannah. "It's been three long years of hard work, but I'm definitely ready for
Although the cousins expressed a bittersweet sentiment about
graduating, their most precious collegiate experiences were together.
"My best experience at Seton Hall was going through the University Honors Program with my cousin Richard," said Sam.
In addition to eating lunch together, Richard and Sam spent their
first two years of the Honors Program together in class twice a week for
three hours. At one point, their professor Dr. Judith Stark couldn't
tell the two apart. They sat side-by-side and were equally active
participants in class discussions.
"At first it was difficult to tell them apart. But, I learned early on that they were their own individual person," she said.
Teaching the cousins, including Hannah, didn't feel like work. In fact, they made her job very easy and delightful.
"They added quality of intensity to wonderful debates and
conversations in class," explained Dr. Stark. "It was easy and wonderful
to have them in class."
Although the Greendyk's are sad to leave behind a lot of friends and
amazing faculty, they are excited about what the future holds.
Natasha is preparing to take her national certifying board exam and
is thrilled about joining the workforce as a Physician Assistant.
This August, Richard will begin studies at Northwestern University
Feinberg School of Medicine, pursing a Dual Degree program to earn a
Doctor of Medicine and Master of Public Health. He will focus on
oncology and chronic disease prevention.
Sam, who currently works as an EMT for Atlantic Health Systems and
also serves as Captain of the Montville Township First Aid Squad, is
looking to land a position with law enforcement.
Hannah will begin graduate studies at Seton Hall Law this August, but
in the meantime works at Casha & Casha, LLC, Attorneys at Law.
No matter where life takes the four Greendyk cousins, Seton Hall has become their "common denominator".
Richard said, "Whenever we are together, our conversation always
drifts to our shared Pirate experience and the awesome times we had at
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