Pope Triplets Graduate Together
They don’t look alike. They have different majors. They are headed on different career paths.
But what triplets Michael, Madison and Joshua Pope ’19 of Easton all share is drive, working hard, succeeding academically and graduating from East Stroudsburg University on May 11.
Brothers Michael and Joshua and sister Madison are all dean’s list students. All of them are also pretty modest, so it is hard to get them to talk about themselves. But Kimberly S. Adams, Ph.D., professor of political science and economics, who has taught all three Popes, is delighted to applaud them.
“They would never, never, ever call attention to themselves. I wanted them to be recognized so people can see this is possible. It can happen,” she says. “Every time I get the chance, I tell them how proud I am of them.”
“They are such a unique group. They are all so smart,” Adams says, although she jokingly tells the boys that their sister is the smartest.
Madison Pope, a secondary education major concentrating in chemistry, is outgoing, organized and, yes, she admits, competitive with her brothers for grades – especially with Josh, who is a biochemistry major. “I can be so mad if he gets a higher grade,” she laughs.
“I always wanted to be a teacher,” Madison says. Having finished her student teaching, she plans to spend the summer after graduation looking for a teaching job. Her long-term goal is a master’s degree and teaching AP chemistry classes, hopefully staying in the local area.
Madison, who clearly likes a challenge, has taken AP and honors courses, worked as a lab assistant and general chemistry tutor, been involved in the student Pennsylvania State Education Association and the student National Science Teachers Association, and sings in Vocal Variations, ESU’s acapella group. What does she do for fun with what little time is left over? Besides going to concerts, she says with a laugh, “I am a big sleeper.”
Biochemistry major Joshua Pope is a quiet guy who says with a smile that the tally on the competition with his sister “goes back and forth.” While they are both majoring in science, his interest is in the lab rather than the classroom.
His focus is in pharmaceutical research and the development of new drugs, and after graduation he plans on a gap year with an internship, and then graduate school. On campus, he has worked as a lab assistant, a job he took over from Madison.
A self-described “Dead Head,” Joshua’s trademark garb is a concert t-shirt, in keeping with his favorite activity of going to concerts (“Bob Dylan was great, but he can’t sing”), and he enjoys “playing a little guitar” and jamming with the third roommate in the apartment he also shares with his brother.
Michael Pope, by all accounts the most reserved of the siblings, says he is not confused with his brother. “He can grow a beard. I can’t,” he laughs.
Michael will graduate with a degree in political science/pre-law and business management, a combination he feels is a good preparation for a career in patent law.
In January, he participated with Dr. Adams and other ESU students in a program in Washington, D.C. at the Osgood Center for International Studies. In addition to a seminar on “Continuity and Change in American Leadership,” the students visited legislators on Capitol Hill and kept a journal of their experience. Of the current political environment, Michael says we “live in unprecedented times” with politics so divided that “people can’t have a civil conversation. We need to be talking to people, getting their take on things.”
Like his brother, after graduation he plans a gap year. His goal is an internship as a clerk or job shadowing, ideally in the Northampton County courthouse, before heading off to law school.
So what are the best and worst things about being a triplet?
“Someone always has your back. It can be stressful at times. You want your siblings to do well, but you are competing to do better,” says Michael.
Madison agrees. “There is always someone to talk to.” But “the worst thing is being all on top of each other.”
Josh notes, “You never feel alone, but sometimes we butt heads.” And, with a laugh, “there is always someone to go to if you need cash.”
About attending ESU together, the triplets note that they had mixed feelings, wanting to be together but also wanting to be apart. But all three say their ESU experience has been great.
“The political science professors are great. I loved all those classes,” Michael says. “You can develop relationships with professors, something you don’t get in a larger school.”
Madison agrees, “I am sad to be leaving,”
The feeling is mutual. Kimberly Adams says of the Pope siblings, “It has been a joy to teach them. I know their futures are going to be so bright.”