Twins in the cities
Two sets of twins are becoming dentists together at the School of Dentistry—and they’re getting the full Twin Cities experience.
Gia and Jake Fisher, DDS ’24, grew up in Great Falls, Montana and found their way to dentistry via parallel, but independent, paths.
It all started in middle school, when Jake started fishing and Gia got braces. “I was obsessed with working with my hands, and picked up the hobby of tying flies,” Jake recalled. “Being intricate and particular about my work was necessary, and I figured dentistry would be similar.”
Gia’s experience with braces impressed her. “I was immediately drawn to how my orthodontist could change my smile by changing the alignment of my teeth,” she recalled. She also witnessed the dramatic change complete maxillary extractions and implants had on her aunt. “I watched her gain her confidence and esthetics back with a full, beautiful smile after months of healing,” she said. “Watching her progression further pushed me to pursue a career in dentistry.”
Both siblings say they decided on dentistry on their own, but once they determined they both wanted the same thing, Gia felt “it was a no-brainer that we would embark on this journey together” at the University of Minnesota. It felt right to Jake and Gia to make this transition together—just like they had every other major life event.
“Gia and I have always gone to the same school, and been in classes together,” Jake said. “We help and support each other. I was moving somewhere new with a lot of unknowns, but having her in the same place gave me a sense of certainty and comfort.”
In dental school, that support means the world to Gia and Jake. The two enjoy the collaboration of their classmates, and the fast pace of the degree. “I’m learning something new every single day,” Jake said. “The camaraderie of our class, the way everyone helps everyone out, makes the school so much more enjoyable to be a part of.”
Gia agrees. “The friendships I have formed will absolutely last a lifetime, and they have made dental school a blast,” she said.
After they graduate, Gia and Jake will go their separate ways for the first time: Gia will move with her fiance for his medical residency, while Jake will serve for four years as a dental officer as part of his Army HPSP service. After that, though, they hope to fulfill a childhood dream of working in Montana—maybe even opening a practice together.
Elijah Suh, DDS ’27, has witnessed his twin brother, Joshua, DDS ’25, conquer the first two years of dental school. He’s excited to follow in his brother’s footsteps, joining the incoming class in the fall.
“I’ve witnessed and experienced oral health disparities, and I want to be a dentist to close the gap in access to dental care,” Elijah said.
Joshua appreciates dentistry’s focus on direct patient care, working with his hands and learning and working visually. “I wanted to work in a field where the results of my actions would be immediate, but also be potentially life changing for the patient,” he said.
The two are thrilled to be in school together again. “My brother and I have never attended different schools or generally been separated since birth,” said Joshua. “To have the opportunity to attend the same institution once again provides a profound sense of comfort.”
Elijah agrees. “My greatest wish when I applied to dental school was to stay with my friends and family, especially Joshua,” he said. “We’ve been inseparable since birth, and I can’t imagine attending a different program. Plus, he frequently shared the amazing experience he’s been having at the school.”
Elijah is “excited and nervous” to start his studies. But between his brother’s example and his own experience working in the prosthodontics department, he’s ready to work toward his dream of improving oral health care access. “Dental school can be stressful and demanding, but I can’t wait to learn and grow alongside my twin brother,” he said.
And Joshua is happy that he’ll be able to guide and mentor his brother. “I can share experiences, as what I went through is something he will encounter,” Joshua explained. ‘It gives me the opportunity to pass along my knowledge, tips and advice and will ultimately help us build a stronger support network and bring us closer.”
Of course, being together next year as identical twins might cause some hiccups. “As you walk through the halls next year, if you wave at me and I don’t respond back, that’s because it’s Elijah,” Joshua said. “Please don’t be offended!” But more than anything, Joshua sees it as “an exciting experience” that will hopefully lead the two to a lifetime of working together.
For these four learners, having their twin sibling be not just a part of their lives, but their education, is incredible.
“We are both doing something we love, and we feel privileged and honored to be in this position,” said Elijah. “And we hope to make a positive impact in our community.”
Gia agrees. “Being a twin is one of the best gifts that life can give,” she said. “I have always had Jake as a ‘built-in best friend;’ it’s one of the most important parts of who I am. I could not imagine my life without him.”