Twins, Leaplings, Alumni: Meet Adam Young and Jennifer Williams

There are few things more rare than giving birth to twins on February 29. But this was exactly the case for the mother of CBU alumni, Adam Young and Jennifer Williams, who were born on February 29, 1980, earning them the lifelong title of Leaplings.

Originally from French Road, Nova Scotia, both Adam and Jennifer wanted to get their post-secondary education close to home. This made CBU, then University College of Cape Breton (UCCB), the perfect fit. After attending UCCB at the same time, the twins graduated in 2002, Adam with a Bachelor of Arts, double major in English Literature and Celtic Studies, and Jennifer with a Bachelor of Arts, Honours in Psychology.

Now, 22 years after they graduated, Adam works with Parks Canada, putting his English major to use through his role in Public Relations and Communications. Jennifer works as a Federal Public Servant with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), and though not directly in the field of psychology, Jennifer’s role still allows her to work closely with people and she continues to explore her passion for the topic outside of the office. “I still very much enjoy the subject of Psychology and I especially love any media surrounding true crime and investigative stories,” she says. “I find the human mind, and specifically, psychologically abnormal behaviours very fascinating.”

Adam and Jennifer both look back on their time at UCCB fondly, citing the various activities and clubs they got involved in, life-long friends they made and the smaller class sizes as some of the highlights. “I had mostly smaller classes, with students and profs who were really engaged in their subjects,” says Adam. “I met so many people who I am still great friends with today, both through my work with the Students’ Union and my involvement with the Boardmore Theatre, Caper Radio and the Caper Times.” Jennifer also took part in activities at the Boardmore, and says she enjoyed countless unforgettable nights in the Pit Lounge.

The lasting impact of UCCB continues to stick with Adam to this day, as he is also a travelling musician who mostly plays trad music, a style he dug into while taking courses in Celtic Studies. During his last year at UCCB, he became one of the first members of the Music Society at the University. Following his graduation, he created Cape Breton Lyrics and Laughter, a music and comedy special that ran at the Louisbourg Playhouse until 2022.

Unsurprisingly, with such a unique birthday, the twins often try to celebrate together. “I’ve always felt that our birthday was special,” says Jennifer. “Our family tends to make a bigger deal of the leap year birthday, but we have always celebrated together. Our parents did a great job throughout the years of always making our birthday fun and special.”

Ironically, the most memorable birthday the pair has shared came in 2020, a year many people try to forget. That February, Adam was touring through the UK and Australia, so he and Jennifer would not be together on their birthday for the first time in many years. One of Adam’s bandmates, Chrissy, came to the rescue. The band surprised Adam on stage in front of a live audience with a birthday cake as Jennifer joined via FaceTime, and the crowd sang Happy Birthday to the twins.

This year, the twins intend to keep their celebrations lowkey, spending time with family, friends, food and wine. But, they have expressed how proud they are to share a birthday this year that coincides with CBU’s 50th anniversary. “I’m very proud to be an alumna of CBU as I thoroughly enjoyed my time there and highly encourage anyone to attend,” says Jennifer.

The twins are proud of the role the University has played in diversifying the local community and creating such a welcoming learning environment. “CBU offers so many diverse programs and has always had such a strong and supportive Students’ Union, and close-knit community,” says Jennifer. “We are so pleased to see so many international students choosing CBU for their post-secondary education as their diversity significantly contributes to our local community and strengthens our cultural awareness.”

The pair both wish CBU a happy 50th anniversary, with Jennifer hoping to see her daughter attend in the future and Adam adding that he can’t wait to see what the next 50 years bring.

To stay up to date on the 50th celebration, visit