An Academic Love Affair

Mount News: alumni magazine

By: Kara Gebhart Uhl

Within the halls of the College of Mount St. Joseph, students find knowledge, career opportunities, kinship and, sometimes, love. For many, college is an ideal time to find a mate, but there are challenges: balancing classes, work and a relationship can be difficult. Still, true love often finds its way. The Mount Matches shared here are prime examples.

Juggling Love and Classes

Stephanie Brokaw Brunsman ’10, an English major, and Andrew Brunsman ’10, a communications major, met in poetry class.

“I had a chance to listen to Steph read her work and got to see what a beautiful person she was,” Andrew Brunsman says. After registering for the same math class, Andrew flirted with Stephanie, asking her out 10 times before she said yes. They started dating, managing to find time together on campus between classes.

The couple married in 2011 and now reside in Cheviot. Stephanie is a production specialist for The Kroger Co. and Andy is the case management supervisor at the Welcome House of Northern Kentucky.

Other couples found time in the evening hours. Melanie Tracy Pace ’05, a photography major with minors in art history and international design, and Adam Pace ’05, a photography and graphic design major with minors in art history and illustration, met in a photography class. They carved out time for each other late at night, while doing studio work.

“At the start of the semester we were both dating someone else,” Melanie Pace says. “Shortly after, we both became single and the rest is (dark room) history.”

Even though Melanie worked two jobs, Adam says finding time to be together was easy. “We were night owls,” he says.

The two were engaged after graduation, in 2006, and married in 2007. Today Melanie is the primary shooter for Loft(3) Photography and has a second business photographing births for Beautiful Beginnings. Adam is a graphic designer for International Paper. They have two children and reside in Cincinnati.

Even Mount commuters find time to court. Tricia Laake Sarvak ’96 and Matthew Sarvak ’96 may seem familiar – their marriage was featured in the Mount News Fall 2000 issue. Tricia, a graphic design major, and Matthew, a business major, met in the computer lounge, dated while students at the Mount and married April 25, 1998, in the Mater Dei Chapel.

“Being commuters we both sort of ‘lived’ at the Mount during the week,” Tricia says. “We have many fond memories, but what stands out most in both our minds are the countless hours we spent in the lounge outside the computer lab. We would meet there in between classes and reconnect with each other and our friends. It became a second ‘home’ for us.”

Today the couple lives in Fairfield, Ohio, with their two children. Tricia works as a graphic designer at Glenmary Home Missioners and Matthew works in the personal lines department at Cincinnati Financial.
Fond Mount Memories

Elizabeth Buchanan Cummins ’02, an early childhood education major, and Logan Cummins, a communication studies major, never dated at the Mount, but they were friends. Liz was in her friend’s dorm room when she saw a picture of her friend and Logan at their high school graduation.
“I knew then that I was going to marry him, as cheesy as that sounds,” Liz says.

With full class schedules and multiple part-time jobs, neither had serious dating relationships while in college. But they remained close. Their favorite Mount memory: camping out on the sand volleyball court.

“Liz had bought a not-so-gently used tent from a local flea market and she’d set up her campsite right there,” Cummins says. “‘Little Joe’ was a campus police chief [Joseph Harper, former police chief/director of Public Safety] who saw right through our subtle workaround, and many times busted up our campsite.”

The couple began dating a few years after college, became engaged in 2006 and married in the Mater Dei Chapel June 30, 2007. Residents of Chicago, Liz teaches at the Frances Xavier Warde School and Logan works in advertising at SapientNitro, is an aspiring stand-up comedian and produces a reality television series called Mansformation.

One of the favorite Mount memories for Melanie and Adam also happened before they were a couple. The two were working together on a group photography class project.

“Adam, his twin Eric and I got together and well … did something no one had ever done in John Griffith’s class before,” Melanie Pace says. They painted each other’s bodies with black light paint, and then photographed each other.

“The finished photos were a hit,” Melanie says. “I later used three girlfriends and did a more elaborate version of the project as my senior thesis. A couple of us had nudity in our senior thesis project that year – a memorable gallery exhibit for all the staff and visitors. New rules for senior thesis were put into motion the following year.”


“The giving of love is an education itself.” –Eleanor Roosevelt


Stephanie’s and Andrew’s best Mount moment happened the day they graduated. They met at the honors lounge and then began walking to the Harrington Center for graduation.

“On the way, I opened the door to our former poetry class and asked Steph to come with me,” Andrew Brunsman says. “Once inside, I remember saying, ‘This is where we started.’ Steph smiled, and I got down on one knee and asked her to marry me. She said yes, and we were able to tell all of our friends at graduation.”

The two ended up sitting a seat apart at the graduation ceremony, and Stephanie Brunsman cheered her future husband on as he was awarded the Sister Maria Corona Award.

“This was the perfect ending to our Mount fairy tale,” Andrew Brunsman says.

College Ideal for Matchmaking

For decades, students and parents have chided about going to college to earn an “MRS” degree. But many men and women find themselves with not just an academic degree upon graduation, but also a
soul mate.

Melanie agrees. “By the end of college, a lot of people have their head on straight and are ready to settle down,” she says. “When you spend so much time with the same people, it’s easy to meet people with your same interests, thus leading to relationships.”

Yes, college is textbooks and projects and co-oping and research papers resulting in a degree. But for many, like most life experiences, college also is so much more: relationships are forged and friendships are made. And just as the culmination of classes turns into a degree, for some, a friendship turns into a
lifelong partnership, and upon graduation new lives begin — both in the brain and in the heart.


“This was the perfect ending to our Mount fairy tale.” –Andrew Brunsman


The Chapel's Wedding Bells Continue to Ring

Brittany Bowman ’13, an inclusive early childhood education major, and Jay Dolak ’13, a general studies major with minors in criminology and forensic science, met in a freshman astronomy class while dating other people. The two became friends and ended up living across the hall from each other the fall of their sophomore year. They started dating, studying together and watching each other practice their sports. The couple became engaged at Churchill Downs in November 2012, and will be married in the Mater Dei Chapel June 20, 2014. “I can’t say I’ve ever been more blessed and happy,” Dolak says.