The twins are among about 2,000 degree candidates slated to graduate from Perimeter College in spring and summer after following pathways ranging from health science professions to engineering and business administration.
The duo continue an Echols family tradition on the Newton Campus, following in the footsteps of their older siblings, Hannah and Jonah — who also are twins. The older Echols siblings graduated from Perimeter College in 2017.
Elijah is studying psychology, while Ezra is studying history. Ezra’s love for the subject was recognized recently when he received the college’s Student Academic Recognition (STAR) award for history.
“It was really exciting to be recognized in a field I really like — and nice to know I’m doing well,” he said. “Over the years, it’s been the subject I loved doing the most. Whenever I read a book, it’s typically a history book.”
Ezra also is one of just two students at Perimeter College currently involved in the Honors College University Assistantship Program. Before he graduates this summer, he will work with Dr. Joe Bagley, assistant professor of history at the Newton Campus, researching voting rights laws. The UAP program is meant to engage Honors students in academic/scholarly work.
Ezra will finish his research on voting before he is actually of legal voting age — he turns 18 on July 3.
Making Their Mark on Model African Union
Ezra and Elijah took part in the International Model African Union (MAU), during which Perimeter College students represented Tanzania. Traditionally conducted in Washington, D.C., the MAU was virtual this year, but that didn’t diminish student involvement.
“I was surprised at how many different schools across the country — even Canada — were involved,” Ezra said.
During the program, Ezra was on the Committee for Peace and Security; Elijah received the Leadership in Committee award for his work with the Committee on Democracy, Governance, and Human Rights.
“Both of them participated in the Model AU and did an exceptional job — both are equally good,” said Dr. Salli Vargis, the Perimeter history professor who oversaw the MAU program.
“Elijah and Ezra Echols, twin brothers, are two of our exemplary Newton students who represent the Honors College well in all that they do,” said Dr. Joe Bagley, Newton Campus Honors coordinator and assistant professor of history. “The brothers are both bright and inquisitive, in their own unique ways, and share a standard of excellence. They also share a healthy competition with one another, and having taught them both, I can tell you that it goes back and forth. While attending high school, Ezra was able to best all competitors and win the school’s mock debate championship. I don’t have to tell you who the runner-up was.”
While competitive, the 17-year-old twins’ calm and similar demeanors are a reflection of their father, they said.
“All of us in our family are internal processors, and our dad has been a mediating presence to help us cool down,” Elijah said. “I think left to our own devices, it might have led to fistfights, but he always sat us down and had us work through things.”
That upbringing also has influenced Ezra and Elijah’s career plans. Both want to pursue a law degree specializing in conflict resolution after graduating with their bachelor’s degrees from Georgia State’s Atlanta Campus.
Ezra hopes to pursue his bachelor’s in history and philosophy before going to law school. Elijah will be double-majoring in philosophy and psychology. Both will be a part of the Honors College.