In Ellen O’Brien’s linear algebra class, Jody and Devin Shipp faced the first among many curious looks they would encounter in the Department of Mathematical Sciences. O’Brien was asking the students their last names as she handed back recently graded exams. Jody had already received hers, and Devin piped up, “My name is Shipp, as well.” Surprised, O’Brien asked, “Oh, is that your sister?” When Devin replied, “No, it’s actually my mom,” it didn’t compute for O’Brien. Confused, she kept asking, “You’re taking this class and sitting next to your mom?”

“She was just shocked,” remembers Devin, 26. “She couldn’t get over the fact that we would sit together and work together on stuff.” That was 2010, and since then, the mother-and-son team of Jody and Devin Shipp have become exemplary students and role models for their peers. As they prepare to graduate this spring, this pair demonstrates the power of a unique parent-child partnership.

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