Collage of photos with four sets of graduate students with a dark blue background featuring the Georgetown seal
Category: News

Title: Love & Friendship: Hoyas Who Found Lasting Connections at Georgetown University

Author: By Jessica Marr and Maya Nguyen
Date Published: February 14, 2024

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, we are featuring four sets of graduate student stories of love and friendship that took root and bloomed after meeting in grad school at Georgetown University.

From love at first sight on the GUTS bus to meeting in the hallways of New North, traveling the world together for class credit and finding lasting connections across cultural similarities, these graduate Hoyas’ meet-cutes will have you smiling like you’ve just eaten an entire box of chocolates.

First Pages of a Love Story

Alison DeBoer (G’13) and Dave DeBoer (G’13)

Dave (left) and Alison DeBoer (right) with their son and daughter (center) at a Hoyas basketball game

Alison and Dave’s love story began with an enchanting meet up on the GUTS bus.

At first sight, Alison could tell they shared a lot of the same interests because he was always reading a book. “I always had a book with me too, and this was 2008 before the prevalence of smartphones,” she said. One day, Alison decided to sit next to Dave on the bus and say hi.

Dave expressed how much admiration he had for Alison for her courage and willingness to put herself out there. “Clearly just sitting down next to a strange guy on the bus and starting a conversation takes some courage.” The rest, as they say, is history.

The two would go on lunch dates outside the ICC, near where they were both working. The stairs beside ICC would become a memorable spot for the two, and Alison’s favorite place on Georgetown’s campus. Another spot that sparked their love was the Davis Auditorium. Every week, Alison and Dave would attend lunchtime “Friday Music” performances together. Each bus ride, lunch date, and Friday Music performance holds a very special place in both of their hearts.

Alison DeBoer and family stand on a bridge with trees covered in yellow leaves in the background
Dave (left) and Alison DeBoer (right) pose on a bridge in fall with their son and daughter

They married in 2011 and graduated from Georgetown in May 2013. Dave earned an M.S. in Computer Science and Alison earned an M.A. in Linguistics; she currently works as the senior associate director for graduate admissions in the Graduate School.

Their love has blossomed into a beautiful family of four, now including their son and daughter. About each other as parents, they had this to say:

      • “Alison is an amazing mom, partner and role model in a lot of ways. One of the things I admire most is her willingness to put herself out there, meeting people and making lasting friendships. I am glad that the kids have learned this from her.” – Dave
      • “Dave is the absolute best dad. Our kids absolutely adore him, and all the kids in our neighborhood love him, too! Dave is amazing at playing sports, making crafts, inventing games and just having fun with the kids. He is incredibly patient and loving.” – Alison

The DeBoer’s are looking forward to the year ahead enjoying everyday life as a family in a newly renovated home, and spending time with friends and family.

Love in New North

Gabby Deutsch (G’20) and Nick DeMayo (G’20)

Gabby Deutsch (left) and Nick DeMayo (right) with a cityscape in the background

Gabby and Nick first met on Admitted Students Day in 2018 in New North Hall. They had both been admitted to the masters in English program at the Graduate School. Nick knew right away that he wanted to be friends. Gabby, on the other hand, wasn’t so sure. “He was super nice to me, but I just didn’t think we would get along.” 

In their first semester, they shared the same class schedule and were working similar hours at the Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship in Car Barn. “That worked great for me, honestly, since I could act like I didn’t remember what the readings were for class in order to start conversations with her,” said Nick. “I guess my attempts to work with her on every class project and to spend extra time with her at work paid off.”

Nick DeMayo kneels in front of Gabby Deutsch to propose in the fall on the Georgetown waterfront
Photo Credit: Jon Fleming | Nick proposes to Gabby at the Georgetown Waterfront in fall

As the two continued working together, Gabby fell for Nick’s intelligence, compassion, humility and all his other great qualities. “We had this effortless banter, a similar sense of humor (with an extreme appreciation for puns!), and could talk for hours about everything and nothing,” she said.

They became best friends and started dating in September 2019. It’s been over four years since the two started dating, and Nick says he’s still in awe of Gabby’s intelligence, work ethic and compassion. “I really cannot pick one trait that I admire most about her!”

As members of the class of 2020, they finished out their degrees over Zoom during the pandemic. Nick said that this “was really hard, but having Gabby as a best friend and partner was such a blessing.” 

Both still enjoy walking along the streets of Georgetown or the trails around campus. However, the most important walk for them will be down the aisle this summer at their wedding.

A Sweet Trio of Friendship

Carolina Alvarado (G’24), Ricardo Pereira Teixeira (G’24) and Lucia Szyman Mulero (G’24)

Carolina Alvarado (G'24), Ricardo Pereira Teixeira (G'24) and Lucia Szyman Mulero (G'24
Lucia Szyman Mulero (left), Carolina Alvarado (center), Ricardo Pereira Teixeira (right) take a selfie in front of Healy Hall

Meet this sweet trio of friends from the masters in Environment and Sustainability Management program: Carolina, Ricardo and Lucia. They are all international students in the second cohort of the program, a joint degree between the Graduate School, McDonough School of Business and The Earth Commons.

Like the interdisciplinary nature of this program across three schools, these friends came to Georgetown from three different countries: Panama (Carolina), Peru (Ricardo) and Uruguay (Lucia). Collectively, they each felt called to this program:

      • I realized the world has a big common safety challenge: climate change. I decided to come to Georgetown to expand further into green investments and dig deeper into how to finance the energy transition.” – Ricardo
      • “I found the right program that fit what I was looking for – a combination of business and science with a sustainability lens. Added to this, Georgetown’s reputation for academic excellence was a key driver, as well as the fabulous city of DC.” – Lucia
      • Group photo of Lucia Syzman Mulero (left), Carolina Alvarado (center) and Ricardo Pereira Teixeira (right) taken in front of a window with a view of the Potomac River behind them
        Lucia (left), Carolina (center) and Ricardo (right) in a group photo with the Potomac River visible in the window behind them

        “I wanted to study sustainability and Georgetown had the perfect and powerful combination of a degree in science and a degree in business.” – Carolina

They immediately bonded during International Student Orientation because of their shared cultural background as Latinos. Being around one another felt like home, they all said, and they have since developed a strong sense of camaraderie and accountability for their schoolwork.

Outside the classroom, the trio enjoy having lunch together, study sessions and working out at the gym. They also enjoy attending Latin American dinner parties.

“We connected immediately, and I look forward to continuing being friends with them, learning from them, and becoming better together,” says Carolina. 

As they become agents for change in the business and environment sectors, these friends are developing a possible entrepreneurial project together, turning their friendship into a business partnership.

More than (K)enough

Ken Hoang (MBA’24) and Kenzie Lau-Kee (MBA’24)

Ken Hoang and Kenzie Lau-Kee stand on the sidewalk in front of a cherry blossom tree and the Tidal Basin in DC

Ken and Kenzie started out as friends, meeting on the second day of class. Both are getting their Master of Business Administration (MBA) at the nationally-ranked McDonough School of Business, but are part of different cohorts.

Ken’s goal coming to DC was to upskill as a product manager and expand his network. Kenzie knew it was time for a change and to live out her dream of getting a graduate degree at her dream school.

“We met on the GUTS bus on the second day of school,” Kenzie said. “I remember thinking he was so cute and funny.” They would see each other often in social settings, running into each other around Hariri or the coffee shop in Leavey. 

“One day I pulled the classic move – risking our friendship and asked her on a date,” Ken noted. It was enough to convince Kenzie to go out with him.

Ken Hoang (MBA’24) and Kenzie Lau-Kee (MBA’24)
Ken Hoang and Kenzie Lau-Kee

For their first date, the two watched Hereditary together. Though they do not recommend the movie as a first date, it became special for both of them. As Kenzie recalls, “After our first date, I knew he was the one immediately.” They have since traveled the world together. The two look forward to their internship in Dubai for their Global Business Experience. Afterward, they plan to spend their time exploring Morocco.

With all the social pressures and competitive environment, the MBA [can be] a recipe for disaster for some relationships,” said Ken. “Kenzie and I stuck through it all, and it has actually given us a great foundation for our relationship!”

About each other, they had this to say:

      • “I love his sense of humor and how driven and family-oriented he is. He makes me laugh in every situation no matter where we are or what we are doing.” – Kenzie
      • “It’s hard to pinpoint what I admire most about her (because I admire so much), but if I were to narrow it down, I’d say it’s her intelligence, kindness, and humor!” – Ken

Fortunately, the experiences they’ve had within the rigorous program have been more than enough for them to decide that after they graduate in May, they plan to start a life together with their two dogs, Dexter and Luna.