Humans of UWL: Twins


Mackenzie Prodoehl (Left) Mason Prodoehl (Right). Photo taken by Henry Anderson.

Henry Anderson, Photojournalist

At the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, many groups exist within the social aspects of the campus. From these groups, types of group identity can form that range from certain clubs to sports teams to more outside of school activities. Another group that can be considered as a part of the framework that makes up UWL are twins. 

Mason and Mackenzie Prodoehl are a part of that group of twins. Both juniors, Mason, majoring in finance and minoring in legal studies, and Mackenzie, majoring in management and minoring in digital media studies and design, the Prodoehl’s have found themselves together in places across their life. “We were always super close,” said Mason. “We shared a room until we were around eight years old.” 

“We were in a lot of the same classes throughout middle school,” said Mackenzie.  “We had houses [comparable to home rooms] in middle school and we were often in the same houses.” Since they both currently attend UWL, staying together throughout their academic tenures is something that has occurred but wasn’t necessarily planned. 

When asked why they each chose to come to UWL and if it was on their own accord, Mason said, “I was deciding between La Crosse and Madison, but ultimately chose La Crosse.” He continued, “When I first found out [my sister was attending] I actually was not happy about it because I wanted to get away and do my own thing.” 

Mason continued, “But over the years, I am really glad we both did come here.” He explained it was nice having Mackenzie on the same campus as him, it allowed them to get food and catch up here and there. “It brings home just a little bit closer,” Mason said. 

Paige and Aubrey Schwonek are another set of twins that both attend UWL and also consider the idea of going to school together as an important part of their relationship. “The longest time that we have been apart is a summer,” said Aubrey. Paige added, “Last summer is the only time where we have spent a significant amount of time apart.” From Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin, Paige and Aubrey formed this bond they had early. 

“We have two older siblings, the youngest being six years older than us and the oldest being eight years older,” said Paige. She continued, “So, I feel like we didn’t really grow up with them, necessarily. They were out of the house by the time we were older.” Paige said if she didn’t have Aubrey she would’ve felt like an only child because her other siblings are much older. 

“Anything where we could pick where we were, we were always together,” said Paige. Aubrey added, “We did the same after-school activities, we were in the same things.” She continued, “We were basically just the same, we did everything together.” Paige explained the two of them were on their high school’s tennis team and were double partners. “We were attached at the hip, basically,” she said. 

Both of the Schwonek’s decisions to come to UWL seemed like the right choice given that they were, as they said, attached at the hip. “We toured a few campuses and we both just liked this one, but we like the same things so it makes sense that we liked the same campus,” said Paige. “It was just easier that way because when we came and lived in the dorms we only had to bring one of everything…so that worked out nice.” 

While each is a part of a set of twins, both the Schwoneks and the Prodohels each have their own interests and hobbies. Mason and Mackenzie Prodohel are involved in the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS). Mackenzie is involved with the Students for Sustainability while Mason is in the Pre-Law Society as well the Investment Club. The Schwoneks both have similar interests. Along with reading and spending time outdoors, Paige and Aubrey have taken up birding. 

All four juniors had advice for incoming students at UWL. Mackenzie said, “Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Putting yourself out there helps you to make great connections with others.” Mason said, “Try to prioritize forming relationships with people. Grades are important, but being social is important.”

For the Schwoneks, Paige said, “Try and meet new people. If you don’t meet people right away, be patient. Eventually, new people will come.” Aubrey said, “Get involved. A lot of my favorite things about school are the things that I have been involved with that aren’t classes.”