Two students embracing

RUSVM Love Stories

Feb 28, 2017

When you least expect it, love will find you. That’s the sentiment of Rossies who came to the island to study veterinary medicine and found the love of their lives in the process.

Kimberly Parkhill-Brown and Christopher Brown

During a Valentine’s Day auction in 2003, Kimberly met Christopher. At the auction, Kimberly’s friend won a date with Christopher, but she convinced her friend to let her go on the date. That date was the beginning of a friendship that quickly grew. They were married on September 10, 2011.

Sixteen years later, they have two children, Kenley (5) and Jensen (4).


Roxanne and Adam Evans

Roxanne and Adam knew each other from several social activities on the island, but it was not until October 2006 that Adam asked Roxanne out on a date. After a few months of dating, they moved in with each other in January 2007, and they’ve been together ever since.

Adam was placed at Purdue and Roxanne was placed in Illinois for their clinical years. They reunited after and moved to Boston to practice. After their time in Boston, they lived and worked in different states, and they got married in 2012. The couple now lives in Fairmont, W.V., where Roxanne works in a small-animal practice and Adam teaches a veterinary-technician program. Together, they have two boys, 2 years old and 7 months old.

“I can’t thank Ross enough for allowing me to fulfill my dreams of being a veterinarian and introducing me to the person who completes my life so perfectly,” says Roxanne.


Gabriel Gonzalez and Lara Silveri

In May 2011, Gabriel and Lara became fast friends and eventually started dating a few months later. It was very difficult dating in veterinary school, but the challenges strengthened their bond.

“We had a close group of friends that we both shared on the island, and they always supported us," Lara said. "We both graduated from Ross Vet and settled in Michigan near Detroit.”

The couple was married on February 17, 2018 in Antigua, Guatemala.

Gabriel now works at a private practice, and Lara work at the Michigan Humane Society.


Meegan Panzarella and Jacobs Drewes

Meegan and Jacobs met at Ross in 1997. They were small-animal-surgery partners and won the award for the best small-animal-surgery team. The couple went to the University of Missouri for their clinical year and completed a small-animal internship in Ohio together.

“We practiced emergency and critical care together in Atlanta, and then in Ventura, Cal., at the same practice,” Meegan said.

Six years ago, the couple bought a practice in Tampa, Fla., that now has six doctors creating miracles and changing lives every day.


Jami-Lyn Derse and Baruch Caballero 

On our first day of class we listened to several professors speak about how even though we are in a vacation setting, our studies are of utmost importance. Therefore, we should focus on that rather than dating our classmates or going out too much. I thought to myself, "I'm here to be a doctor. I have no interest in dating any of my classmates." Then I looked to my right and Baruch was sitting next to me. We'll be married 10 years in October and have two beautiful girls.


Kimberly Doucet and Cody Doyle 

My husband and I met the first day on the island in January 2010. We were in the same orientation group. We married in 2015 and had our son, Owen, in 2017. Another baby is on the way this June. I am in small-animal practice, and my husband just completed his small-animal surgical residency.


Johnathan Pierce and Danielle Gallo 

We first met at orientation in August 2005 and eventually became surfing buddies. We shared a love for the island life. We started dating April 2006 and married May 2009.


Jennifer and Andrew Altvater 

We met in a study group as brand-new students.


D. Blake and Mandi Webb 

My wife and I met on January 2, 2012, while watching the Wisconsin Badgers play in the Rose Bowl in Columbus Hall of the Ross Vet campus. We started dating in December 2012 and finally got married on July 29, 2017, in Milwaukee, Wis., during my first year of residency at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The island will always be a second home to us. 


Christopher and Mikala Myers Leonard 

My husband and I met during my orientation week in August 2009. Chris, being the gentleman that he is, offered me a warm tequila shot that we shared at the popular beach bar formerly known as Ziggy’s. Let’s just say it was a small glimpse of what was to come and the amazing memories we would make together on our beautiful island.


Heather and Evan Sandler

Evan was already there in the second semester when I started in February 2002. We met at a party. I noticed his cowboy hat and boots first. Then he offered a nice back rub, and I could never pass up one of those. He "stalked" me for a couple of months, showing up in Hutch's anatomy class as student aid, but he told me later that he was there to see me. He proposed to me just before Christmas in 2003. We graduated on June 12, 2005, and we got married 3 days later on June 15.


Howard Asher and Monica Dijanic 

We actually have a weird story. We never met on the island, though we knew a lot of the same people. I did my clinical year in Minnesota, and so did he. yet, we still didn’t meet there. Then his first vet job was my first vet job, as a technician, 10 years before. We finally met when I wound up applying to a clinic he was a medical director at in 2008, and when he saw my resume we realized we had this weird coincidental past. I actually turned down the associate position there, but we started dating, opened our own clinic and got hitched in 2012.


Bennett and April Deddens 

We met thanks to Bennett emailing me before moving on island inquiring about the Ross Vet VIDA group I had started. He then came to the first VIDA meeting I had that semester and volunteered at a VIDA clinic with me. The rest is history, as it was love at first sight. He was a first-semester student, and I was seventh, so we knew each other for only 2 months on the island before doing a long-distance relationship out of the country for 2 years. As soon as he moved back to the U.S. we bought a house together, got married and then had our daughter! Thank you Ross Vet and VIDA for the loves of my life! 


Julie Goodman and Drew Rydell 

On June 28, 2013, we were at the local beach bar, Chinchillas, unwinding after another long week in veterinary school. We separately had plans to attend the St. Kitts Reggae Music Festival. However, both our groups of friends decided, at the last minute, to cancel. At the suggestion of a dear friend, we decided to attend the festival together. After a legendary night that lasted until the sunrise, the rest was history. 

We got engaged on New Years Day of this year and are excited to get married this June 28, exactly 6 years after that serendipitous night on St Kitts.


Joseph (Jamie) and Heather Arens 

Jamie and I met our first day on the island. We were in the same orientation group (2008), and we have been inseparable since!

Steven and Ava Lemme

My husband and I met in vet prep in 2012. We became fast friends, started dating and were married in April 2015. We graduated from Ross Vet in 2016 and are currently settled in the Seattle area. We just welcomed our first child, Logan, this past January.


Jackie (Blatt) and David Heller 

Jackie and I met in September 1998 during our first semester at Ross Vet, just before Hurricane Georges came through the island. We started out as physiology study partners, and our relationship grew from there. We married in March 2002 shortly after graduation. We live in Southern California. Jackie is certified in acupuncture and has a mobile holistic practice, and I am a board-certified oncologist in private practice with VCA. We have two kids, ages 15 and 13; two dogs; a bearded dragon; and several fish.


Nicolas and Sarah Tracey 

I met my husband at the Blue Anchor in early 2005. We got married in 2009, and we started working together in 2013.


Nicole Craft and Chris Sevigny

My wife and I met in 2005, shortly after I had arrived on the island. She was a semester ahead of me. At the time we were both in other relationships, and we didn’t really hang in the same circles. Yet, we crossed paths every so often.

It was probably sometime in late 2006 before we finally really knew much of anything about each other, which involved a friend of hers visiting the island, basically shoving her into me, and running off, forcing the issue. Up until that point, it had mainly been an “admiration from a distance." We hit it off that night, and it became a somewhat off-and-on thing until it was our time to leave the island.

I chose to go to LSU in Baton Rouge for my clinical year, and she went to Missouri. But it so happens her family had moved to Lafayette, La., during that time. When she finished, we were near each other again; beginning yet another off/on thing.

After finishing clinics, I moved back home to Maine and began a practice, but we kept in closer touch than before. I started taking my vacation time to go back to Louisiana to visit. We had pursued other relationships in the interim, but we eventually decided to try to make it work. In 2011, I moved to Lafayette, and in with her. Six years and two kids later, we were married.

It’s now been 8 years together, but almost 15 since the very beginning.


Sara Bledsoe-Boggs and Andrew Boggs 

Andrew and I met as soon as we stepped off the plane in St. Kitts. We were in the same orientation group in August 2008. I remember we all introduced ourselves in a circle in front of the airport pick-up while waiting for our van.

We didn't start dating until our fifth or sixth semester on the island. He attended Ohio State for his clinical year, and I attended Auburn University. We both graduated in 2012. We loved St. Kitts so much, we ended up getting married at Ottley's Plantation on May 2, 2014. We are about to celebrate our 5-year anniversary, so we are heading back to St. Kitts at the beginning of May.


Kelly L. (Stewart) and Ryan Beverly

Despite growing up only 5 hours apart, it wasn’t until after moving to the tropical island of St. Kitts that Kelly and Ryan finally met.

In late 2011, Kelly began her studies on the island, but it would be another 8 months until Ryan arrived. They didn’t meet for another 4 months, at which point Ryan was heavily involved with school politics, clubs, and teaching yoga, while Kelly was taking advantage of what the island had to offer - beautiful beaches and a young, energetic culture.

They first met on the beach on a Friday afternoon. When faced with Kelly’s inherent calm, confidence, and beauty, Ryan had difficulty finding words, let alone stringing them into something resembling coherent sentences. He eventually managed to ask her on a date, which, perhaps out of pity for the babbling giant, she agreed. He took her to Rituals Sushi, which if you’re familiar with St. Kitts, is about the best you can hope for there when it comes to raw fish and white rice. Ryan spoke far too fast, too much and too long, while Kelly patiently humored him, intrigued by his passion. They quickly fell in love and began traveling during school breaks, visiting St. Marten, Nevis, London, Amsterdam, Dublin, and, of course, California.


Gary and Christina Mendelsohn

We met at the library on campus. Gary was a second-semester librarian, and I was a first-semester newbie.


Michael and Julie (Au) Noyes 

We met at the Oranges seventh-semester banquet on the beach at Spice Mill. The rest is history. We now have two kids and three dogs. St Kitts will always be home to us.


Daniela Goldman 

My husband and I meet on the first day at Ross Vet. We were in the same orientation group! We have been married for almost 11 years, now with three kids and our own practice.


Etienne J. Rossy Hernandez and Tristan Hoeffer 

My husband and I met the first semester of veterinary school in July 2012, and we knew from the start we were meant to be. We dated all through veterinary school and clinicals. We got engaged during clinicals and married a year later in Jacksonville, Fla., where we now practice.


Virginia LaMon and Susan Mendez 

My wife and I met at Ross Vet in 2010, and we returned to St Kitts & Nevis to get married in November 2017. We are now both veterinarians in Philadelphia, where I'm finishing my residency in oncology at UPenn.


Doug and Laura Johannessen 

Doug and I met the night I arrived in St Kitts in 2004. We were study partners, and he was one semester ahead of me. We went back to clincals together in Wisconsin, moved to California for our first jobs, were later engaged and got married. Now, 14 years later, we run a small-animal practice in Wyoming and are expecting our third baby girl.


Christine and Ben Anderson

We went on one date, and we basically planned our entire future during dinner. We've been on that same path ever since. We have three kids - Connor (8), Tristan (6) and Aurora (3). We now have an integrative-medical practice in South Florida, where we practice acupuncture and chiropractic medicine for equine and small animals. We will also soon be opening a luxury boarding resort and doggie daycare.


Taylor and Courtney Howard (Scharfschwerdt)

My husband and I met at Ross Vet in January 2012. He was selling Frito pies as a fundraiser for the theriogenology club. We started going on hikes and to the beach together, and we had our first official date on Valentine’s Day at the French restaurant, La Belle Vie. We got engaged about a year later and married in May 2014. We are now living happily ever after in Utah.


Sarah Beechler and Michael Wilson

My husband and I met at Ross Vet in 2006. Initially, we met at Bird Rock Gym, but he finally got up the courage to ask me out at a beach bar one night. I apparently was doing cartwheels in the sand that night. He likes to think it was because he asked me out, but I think it may have had something to do with the drinks they were serving! Either way, I would do cartwheels for him now! He is an amazing husband, father, veterinarian, and Captain in the Army! Our time at Ross Vet was so memorable, and I am very grateful for the experiences we had.


Andrea Kitson and James Keller

James and I met in late 2000 on St. Kitts. I was in the first semester, he was in fifth, and my roommate bought a car from him. I just went along for the test drive, but it was the start of something! We started dating a few months later, and this summer we'll be married 15 years. 


Leeza and Caleb Birdwell 

Caleb and I met on the island through the original start of the Ross Vet Country Western Dance Club. It was amazing to fall in love dancing at the beach bars next to the ocean and sometimes in the warm, island rains. We were lucky to be placed together at the University of Missouri for our clinical years, and we were married soon after our graduation.

We pursued very different fields of veterinary medicine. I am a laboratory-animal veterinarian, and Caleb works in mixed-animal practice. We both love what we do and enjoy that we share the same strong foundation that we built at Ross Vet.


Angel and Eric Griggs 

Eric and I met at Ross Vet in the fall of 2008.


Mike Cinotti and Dana Jacobsen 

My wife and I met at Ross in 2001. We both swore at the time we would never date or marry another veterinarian. We went to clinics together and graduated in 2004. We were married in 2008. When people ask if we practice together, I politely tell them, “No, we’re happily married.”

We have three children - Daniel (7) and twins, Anthony, and Rebecca (5).


Lynlee Fluent and Matthew Brehmer 

My husband and I met at Ross Vet. We are now married and own practice in San Juan Capistrano, Ca.


Erica Grzankowski and Gino Sementa 

Erica Grzankowski and I met at the welcoming bonfire at Mr. X’s a couple of days before classes started. Been together ever since.


Stephanie and Chad Davis 

Stephanie (Steph) and I met during her fifth and my third semesters of study at Ross Vet. We were two people from opposite sides of the country. I grew up in California and she was a midwest girl from Indiana. As fate would have it, our mutual interest in horses brought us together, and we began our “life adventure” together.

After our clinical years at Virginia Tech, we both took jobs at two different local equine hospitals. We received our greatest gift on July 5, 2018, our daughter, Ms. Henley Quinn Davis.

Ross Vet brought Steph and I together to achieve the goals of becoming equine veterinarians, and along the way we found each other, developed an amazing relationship, gathered friends from all over the world, had experiences that never cease to amaze us, built careers that are rewarding and complex all at the same time, bought a home, started our own practice and are now growing our family! Our family picture from the “pink party” sums it all up for us. We live life to the fullest, “rush slowly,” and don't take ourselves too serious each day.


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