Attending Northeastern together as identical twins enabled Jake and Jared Covell to support each other even as they were competing against each other—a dynamic that sounds paradoxical but makes perfect sense to them.
Following their recent graduation, a new chapter begins this summer.
Both are Elon Musk companies.
“Is your title ‘structure designer’ also?” Jake asks his brother, even though he already knows the answer. “Mine at SpaceX is called structure design group,” Jake continues. “And similarly, Jared’s group at Tesla is also under the umbrella of structure design. It’s a funny parallel.”
The Covells have heard stories of the spiritual connections that are said to exist between identical twins. But they insist there is nothing mystical between them—that their coincidences are built upon practical realities.
They’ve exhibited remarkable chemistry as midfielders on Northeastern’s soccer team, but that results mainly from having played together for so long, they say.
While growing up in Rhode Island, each was drawn to mechanical engineering, which to some extent can be traced back to their father’s engineering career.
“Maybe that was a subconscious influence,” Jake says.
Both graduated last month from a dual bachelor’s and master’s program in mechanical engineering—and did so with 4.0 grade point averages.
“I can pretty much attribute that accomplishment to having a twin,” Jared says of their straight-As transcripts. “We would compare answers on homework—not on tests. We would study together and ask each other questions all the time.”
“We’re very compatible,” adds Jake. “So it’s easy to be pushed by your counterpart because not only do you have an example of someone doing their best—and that’s a really good role model—you’re also saying, ‘I can’t let this guy win.’ Like, ‘I need to step it up.’”
When they were exploring colleges, their goal was to do so independently. It just so happened that they each applied to the same dozen or so schools.
“We got the same acceptances and rejections from the same schools,” Jared says.
For both of them it came down to a choice between Lehigh University and Northeastern.
“In that last part of high school senior year, we stopped talking about college to each other because we didn’t want to influence each other’s decision,” Jared says. “I didn’t want to know where Jake was going to school and feel like I had to follow him or, conversely, know where he was going and feel like I had to do my own thing instead. And so we just stopped talking about college for two months with each other.”
Jake made his decision first. But he refused to tell Jared where he was going, and their parents were sworn to secrecy.
“The clock was ticking and it felt weird to know that his fate was decided and mine wasn’t,” Jared says. “About a week later, I sent my deposit. I told him, ‘I’m going to Northeastern.’ He said, ‘Same.’”
Both had co-ops that turned into their new full-time jobs.
Jared is part of a team that designs and builds the engine hardware at Tesla. Jake’s team at SpaceX is designing the hardware of its prototype, Starship, which aims ultimately to reach the Moon, Mars and other planets.
Here’s the issue: Jake will be based near Los Angeles while Jared is in San Francisco’s Bay Area—six hours apart.
Is that a problem? At Northeastern they had chosen to live apart as freshmen, but they ended up reuniting for the remainder of their college careers. They even went together on a two-month Dialogue of Civilizations trip to New Zealand.
“To try and convince someone that we’re independent people is kind of hard to do,” Jared acknowledges.
But they believe they are. And now they’ll find out.
“It’s a little bit of a breath of fresh air to take your own step in life,” Jared says. “And it is slightly comforting that we’ll be close enough to visit. It’s exciting, it’s a little nerve-wracking, but I think we’ll be fine.
“I’ll be fine,” adds Jared, joking. “I don’t know about Jake.”
Jake insists he’ll thrive too. As brothers, neither one can lose.