Marwad Siblings Excited to Walk Together at Commencement

Marwad siblings 1 Image by Brooke Coupal
From left, siblings Justin, Jasmin and Martin Marwad are ready to receive their diplomas together at Commencement.

By Brooke Coupal

At the age when most students are earning their high school diploma, 18-year-old Jasmin Marwad will be receiving two bachelor’s degrees. What makes the moment even more special is that she’ll be crossing the Commencement stage alongside her two older brothers, Martin, 22, and Justin, 20.

“I’m thankful on graduation day to walk with them, because it means a lot to me that we did this together,” says Jasmin, who is completing dual degrees in computer science and electrical engineering with Martin. Justin, who finished his bachelor’s degree in computer science in the fall, will also receive his diploma during the spring Commencement ceremony.

As the oldest of the Marwad siblings, Martin enrolled at UML first after being home-schooled in Woburn, Massachusetts, for nine years with his brother and sister.

“UMass Lowell is a great school because it’s affordable, it’s near our home in Woburn, and it has a great community of home-schoolers that we knew went here too,” he says.

The university’s strong STEM programs also attracted Martin, who, along with his siblings, became interested in computer programming at an early age after taking programming classes in middle school.

“Our mom is also a software engineer,” Martin says. “So, it runs in our blood.”

When Martin went to college, Justin joked that he and his sister got “bored,” so they decided to join the Middlesex Community College Dual Enrollment program, which allows high school and home-school students to enroll in college courses while satisfying their high school graduation requirements. At the time, Jasmin was 14 years old and Justin was 16.

Marwad siblings 3 Image by Brooke Coupal
The Marwad siblings became interested in computer programming at an early age.

The two younger siblings went on to graduate from high school and receive associate degrees in computer science two years later before transferring to UMass Lowell through the state’s MassTransfer program. Martin acted as Justin and Jasmin’s personal tour guide as they got acclimated to the new campus.

“He was able to catch us up on things, show us where the buildings are and tell us what we could expect from classes,” Justin says. “It was great having his support.”

Like Martin, Justin and Jasmin initially enrolled in the computer science and electrical engineering programs, but after attending a Cybersecurity Club meeting in the Cyber Range, Justin became hooked and decided to drop the electrical engineering major and add a cybersecurity concentration to his computer science major.

All three siblings picked up a minor in mathematics. Martin and Jasmin also added a minor in robotics and joined the Honors College.

“We grew up always studying together, so we have this great connection to each other,” Jasmin says. “It was such a great opportunity to go through a lot of these harder classes at UMass Lowell together.”

When not busy with coursework, the Marwad siblings got involved on and off campus. Martin created the Cloud Computing Club and conducted research for a Raytheon-sponsored project. Justin joined the Cybersecurity Club and competed in the Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition; he also did a co-op at Teradyne, an automation and test company, and assisted with research led by Computer Science Asst. Prof. Sashank Narain. Jasmin conducted research for a Red Hat-sponsored project and worked in the New England Robotics Validation and Experimentation Center on a $20 million National Science Foundation-funded project.

The Marwad siblings have decided to keep adding to their academic and extracurricular accomplishments by extending their time at UMass Lowell. Justin is currently in the computer science master’s program, with the goal of earning a doctorate and becoming a triple River Hawk. He ultimately wants to work as a K-12 cybersecurity educator.

Martin and Jasmin plan to join Justin in the master’s program before entering the workforce. Martin is interested in going into data science, while Jasmin is keeping her options open.

“I’m working on them,” Justin joked in response to Martin and Jasmin saying they do not plan on joining the Ph.D. program. “There may be a different answer in a couple of months.”