Trio of Siblings Set to Earn Bachelor's Degrees

Tarlin Family
The Tarlin family from left, Lisa, Jillian, Sam and Chloe.

By Marlon Pitter

Jillian Tarlin knew she was missing something during her first year of college.

While her fellow triplets, sister Chloe and brother Sam, chose to attend UMass Lowell, Jillian opted for Salve Regina University in Rhode Island. But it didn’t feel right to her without the others. So, after her first year, which was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Jillian transferred to UMass Lowell to study elementary education and reunite with her siblings.

“I was not happy,” says Tarlin, who grew up in Sandown, New Hampshire. “I was homesick. I missed my mom and my dad. I missed everybody.”

Chloe and Sam, respectively majoring in public health and exercise science, embraced the opportunity to welcome their sister to UMass Lowell.

“It was fun showing her the ropes, showing her the little quirks of Lowell and the good places to go,” Chloe says. “I like my space, but I'm really happy that this is the path that we all took to be together.”

Jillian says their distinct personalities and interests have allowed them to flourish as individuals while staying connected to each other.

“I feel like we just treat each other like friends,” she says. “We're at a really good point, and I think UMass Lowell has given us the space to grow as people while maintaining a close relationship.”

As first-year students, Sam and Chloe lived on the same floor in Riverview Suites. From there, Sam branched out to form his own friend groups, and those bonds have only gotten stronger throughout his time at UMass Lowell.

“As soon as we got here, everyone started intermingling together and connected on a basic level,” he says. “Ever since then, it's been tight. I've known my roommates since the first day I got here.”

Chloe says their college experience has been enriched by UMass Lowell’s diverse student population.

“Growing up in a small town like where we're from and then moving to a city like Lowell, it was really different – but in a good way – to be able to create such a large diverse group of friends and have those connections,” she says.

Sam says the best part of his UML experience was “meeting everyone that we would have never met.”

Their mother, Lisa, who works as the manager of corporate education and partnerships in the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies, says the experience of having all three triplets at UML has been beneficial for the family.

“They're all graduating in four years, which is a good thing,” she says. “We've been pretty lucky. We've been blessed.”

The triplets agree that having their mother on campus has helped them as well.

“I love my mom. I'm a momma's girl at heart,” says Chloe. “I'm not home as often as I probably should be, but I still get to just come here and see her, and I really enjoy that.”

After graduating, Jillian plans to work as an elementary school teacher. Chloe will return to UMass Lowell for a master’s degree in public health, with a desire to “fix the health care system.” Sam says he plans to take some time off, but his long-term plan is to focus on either occupational therapy or fitness management.

While they may be heading in different directions when they leave UMass Lowell, the Tarlins will remain connected.

“We're always going to be a trio,” says Jillian. “I feel like there’s just this bond that a lot of siblings who weren’t born at the same time don’t have. … Every time we see each other, we just pick up right where we left off.”