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University of Missouri

Speaking of Twin Speak

Twins and educators talk about curiosity’s role in their lives.

For every 10 sets of twins, four invent words and gestures unique to them. But for twins and educators Leigh Neier, BA ’03, M Ed ’04, PhD ’08, and Stacy Neier, BS BA, BS HES ’03, their idioglossia revolves around asking questions that could lead to answers helpful to others. The pair will lead an interactive discussion on the role curiosity has played at various moments of their lives 7–8:30 p.m., Nov. 6, in Memorial Union’s Stotler Lounge. The talk, sponsored by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, is free and open to the public.

Twins, educators and Mizzou alumnae Stacy and Leigh Neier talk about the role of curiosity in their lives 7–8:30 p.m., Nov. 6 in Memorial Union’s Stotler Lounge. Stacy Neier photo by Brendan Shea, BJ ’05. Leigh Neier photo by Rob Hill.

The Neiers are high-energy, accomplished professionals. Leigh, a William T. Kemper Award-winning assistant teaching professor in MU’s College of Education, is also chair of the university’s Intercollegiate Athletics Committee. Stacy, whose industry work includes Gap Inc. and Euromonitor International, is a senior lecturer for Loyola University Chicago’s Quinlan School of Business.

“My sister and I often find ourselves in conversations that have questions attached,” Leigh says. “It’s our twin talk — ‘I wonder what that person is thinking about?’ or ‘What do you suppose is the story behind that happening?’ We are exercising our curiosity about life, and we do it back and forth naturally.”

For example, as a teacher, Neier asks her students about their lives outside of class so that she can enhance their education by offering them opportunities or connections that fit their interests.

But this curiosity-action scenario doesn’t come so naturally to everyone, Neier says. “The saying goes that millions have seen apples fall, but only Newton asked why.” In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, she says, it’s important to pause, think and perhaps say, “Wait, that might be a good idea. It might be something that could help somebody else.”

A sign language interpreter will be present at the presentation.