Freshman Brothers Are Two of a Kind

Written by: Julie Jacobs,
David and Julio Marcano are studying mechanical engineering and playing Highlander baseball.

They may be fraternal twins genetically, but David and Julio Marcano look exactly alike and are similar in many other ways: as stellar athletes on the baseball diamond, fledgling mechanical engineering majors at NJIT and new scholars in the university’s Albert Dorman Honors College.

So what distinguishes them? “I’m actually more outgoing. My brother is shyer,” offered David, the older of the two by five minutes. “We have different personalities,” Julio added. “He says I’m meaner,” laughed David, pointing to his brother.

The Marcanos hail from Katy, Texas, a city of some 15,000 residents about 30 minutes west of downtown Houston. Born in Venezuela, where their parents are from and attended college, they moved to Seattle as toddlers and ultimately settled in the Lone Star State when they were 8 years old. Their father is a mechanical engineer for BP and their mother a human resources manager for a startup golf company.

As children, they had fun with their “twin-ness,” switching classes in the fifth grade and making innocent mischief with unknowing individuals. “We still do,” David admitted to the latter. “The typical [prank] is you meet someone with [certain] clothes on and then later that day you switch your clothes. [People then] think they’re talking to a different person.”

They also began playing baseball as youngsters and immediately excelled at the sport — so much so that they were accepted into the Hunter Pence Baseball Academy, a facility co-established by San Francisco Giants right fielder Hunter Pence to “create elite athletes in the Houston area.” David is a third baseman and Julio is a second baseman. Both received Texas Region Honorable Mentions (David was named Varsity Player of the Year as a senior as well) and helped lead their high school to its first-ever University Interscholastic League regional playoff appearance.

Houston Astros fans, as expected, the brothers are now playing baseball for NJIT. They would like to go pro one day, following in the footsteps of university alum Mark Leiter Jr., who was called up to the Philadelphia Phillies this past spring.

David Marcano (top) and Julio Marcano (bottom) in action on the baseball diamond.

Scoring a Place at NJIT

Baseball actually sealed the deal on the Marcanos’ decision to attend NJIT. When the university popped up in their search for schools, Julio emailed Head Coach Brian Guiliana: “Within five minutes…he emailed me back and we had a long phone call.”

The fact that NJIT has a mechanical engineering program contributed as well. “I knew I wanted to come to a technical school,” said Julio. “We’re really good with math and our dad showed us the way with engineering.”

Attending an out-of-state university, however, presented a bit of a roadblock, as their mother wanted her sons to stay in state. A visit to urban Newark from rural Texas to see the NJIT campus was a “culture shock” for her, but she eventually felt assured her sons would thrive. With their high academic standing — David’s 4.55 GPA and ACT score of 33, and Julio’s 4.5 GPA and ACT score of 34 — they were accepted into the Honors College, where they are roommates. “Sadly,” quipped David.

While baseball takes up a lot of their time outside classes, both Marcanos plan on getting more involved in the NJIT community and student clubs like the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. They also have community service obligations to fulfill at the Honors College, which David describes as a “tight-knit community.”

In the meantime, they are happily adapting to college life at NJIT. As for their new friends and fellow athletes, who see them living together, playing baseball side by side and attending many of the same classes, David said, “Everyone is still adjusting to our [identical] faces.”