This Valentine’s Day, we celebrate the friendships that transpired from classmates to soulmates at Medgar Evers College (MEC). These former students came to MEC for an education and left not only with their degrees but also with their partners in love and life. Read about what these eight couples had to say about the role education played in their lives and relationships, and what they love most about each other.


Jodi-Ann Lyons, Psychology, Class of 2018 & Geordanis Mompremier, Biology, Class of 2017

Married 2019

We met one day as Jodi was exiting the Bedford Building. She walked right up to me, then we glanced at each other, and she then uttered a heavenly hello. Not knowing Jodi, I hugged her immediately. What attracted me to her was her attitude, demeanor, and ambition – the three ingredients for falling in love. One of our favorite memories at MEC was that we usually met while I worked as a tutor at the Male Development Empowerment Center. I always offered her my time back then, but Jodi claimed that she never needed help [ha ha]. Till today, I still give her all my time! We are now happily married since 2019. As students, our presence at MEC proved to be the catalyst for a lifelong relationship.

Sahr Bona, Computer and Information Systems, & Olympia Mars Bona, Business Administration, Class of 2016

Married 2018

We met at MEC, the class of 2016. Every semester we would find ourselves registered for at least one class together. I would help her with assignments, and at the end of exams, we would hang out for dinner to celebrate. Then this happened. We got married in 2018 and started working. We now have two children and our own home. You can't ask for more. #WeMetAtMEC

Kisha Ball, Public Administration, Class of 2011 & John Ball, Psychology, Class of 2010

Married 2010

We meet in the fall of 2007 and became inseparable. The first thing that made me fall for Kisha was her accent. Oh! She's St. Lucian. So, I was determined to get to know her better. We would meet every day for breakfast, lunch, and in-between classes. The more I got to know her, the more I realized that under that hard shell was a sweet and loving soul. We are now a family of seven with endless memories, and I owe it all to her for being our family’s ROCKSTAR! One of our favorite memories at MEC was when the SEEK Department held a Six Flags trip for students. We were like kids in a playground, being daredevils, jumping from ride to ride. I fell in love with her that day. We both graduated with Associate's and Bachelor's degrees from MEC and continued our education to Masters's. MEC gave us our family and because of the quality of education and relationships we developed, we were able to survive in the competitive workforce. I am now the Director of the Salvation Army Shelter and Kisha still belongs to the MEC working family where she continues to make us proud.

Natina Smith-McKessey, Business, Class of 2013 & Kevin "Kato" McKessey, Business, Class of 2011

Married 2011

Natina and I met on New Year's Day in 2007. Our paths had crossed several times without us knowing until years later. We quickly became inseparable after meeting on that faithful New Year’s Day and exactly a year later, we both enrolled in the business program at MEC, unknowingly. Natina previously attended John Jay College in the Forensic Psychology program and after taking some personal time off, changed her major and MEC became our home. Being on campus together was business as usual. Natina played volleyball, while I ran around doing my Student Government Association (SGA) biddings. Natina would stand beside me while I ran for office. She was the SGA treasurer, the President of the Radio Nation Club, where I also held the same position at different times. We did everything from planning and executing the Mr. & Ms. MEC Pageant in 2010 to running for SGA. We coordinated the famous end-of-year boat rides through the Radio Nation Club, along with the SGA Thanksgiving Feast, and served dinner to the women of the Lafayette Women's Shelter. We did everything you could think of, whether together or separately, we did it. I would be there supporting her modeling at the Rising Star Fashion Show fundraisers, to sitting at her volleyball games. There were days when we would make it to campus at 7:30 AM and would leave as late as midnight, all in the name of working on student initiatives. Our entire time in MEC was about college! We were everything MEC and everything CUNY. We both represented MEC as members of the University Student Senate, where I represented the students as the Vice-Chair of Senior Colleges from 2010-2011, and Natina represented as Vice-Chairwoman of International Student Affairs from 2012-2013. We both attended MEC with a mission and that mission was to connect MEC students with various programs, scholarships, competitions, and other opportunities. We supported students the best we could and did it with grace. I could not end this without mentioning that Natina had dragged me to every single Dean's List Awards Ceremony where she was honored and yes, I too, had a few personal appearances myself. Oddly, we only had one class together during our entire time together, in the same program. Maybe that was a great thing. In my final semester, we skipped the last day of the one class we had together and got married on Tuesday, May 10th, 2011.

A favorite memory of mine was putting together the 2010 Mr. & Ms. MEC Pageant. Natina is a big fan of the movie Grease and the singer, Erykah Badu. We incorporated Grease and Badu's album New Amerykah into the pageant. Natina actually altered all six female contestant's dresses by hand and even worked to have Ms. Walters, the First Ms. MEC present the awards. That was fun. MEC forced us to work together for long periods of time to reach the same goal, which helped other students and members of the community at large. We helped with creating scholarships with the SGA, which included undocumented students, which was rare, along with Natina initiating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Town Hall event in 2013.

Beatrice Francois-Alvarez, Mathematics & Steven Alvarez, Early Childhood Education, Class of 2019

Married 2021

We met for the first time in the Student Life office, on August 7th, 2018 while we were getting ready for our Club Leader Retreat. I had never seen Steven around campus before, so when someone screamed the bus was downstairs, and he came up to help us load the bus with boxes, I assumed he must have been the bus driver. When we got on the bus, only two seats were empty in the front. I sat and was hoping to stretch my legs while watching my show during the three-hour bus ride. He came and asked if he could sit with me. I didn't mind, but I started feeling annoyed when he would not stop talking. I am not much of a talker, and love to enjoy quiet time alone. Anyway, we talked for the whole ride about school, life, jokes, and he made it fun. Our only common ground throughout the whole three hours was the love for math, and it turned out he liked Algebra. While we were at the resort, I told myself I met my soulmate because while we were talking, he was really listening. I told him I was not a morning person, so he got me breakfast to my room the next day. This was one of many on the list that made me fall in love with him even more.

Dating on campus was blissful and we were always together whenever we were not in class. He would pick me up from my house every morning, and he would also sit in the classroom while I was tutoring; he would do his homework while waiting for me. Dating on campus had its ups and downs. The ups were that we got to spend a lot of free time together, lunches were like mini-dates and us being strong together helped. We had each other's back at all times, meaning we didn't keep anything from each other. We did not leave space for people to come in between us, and we still do not leave space. One of our favorite memories together at MEC was the Royalty Ball of 2019, where we were crowned King and Queen. Our MEC education played the role of a portal for us; we had the chance to visit so many wonderful places through conferences. One of them was at Disney and we went together with the Veterans Club.

Gail Reed-Barnett, Psychology, Class of 1989 & Winston Barnett, Business Administration, Class of 2000

Married 1992

We met on the Cunard Countess cruise ship in 1990. We got engaged in Puerto Rico in May 1991 and we were married in October 1992. I talked about Medgar Evers College and the wonderful learning experience I received, that my husband decided he wanted to attend MEC. I majored in Psychology and he majored in Business. We both were executive board members of the Alumni Association and attended many activities together. If you saw me, Winston was always by my side. If you saw Winston, I was by his side. We worked with past MEC president, Dr. Edison O. Jackson, and the Alumni Association for many, many, years. Dr. Jackson encouraged me to pursue a doctorate degree in Education. Winston volunteered with Vita Tax service, which provided free tax services to the community. MEC was like our second home. Our favorite memories of MEC were working with the Alumni Association raising scholarships for students, and we continue to talk about our educational experience to young people.

Carin S.Whint, Public Administration & Milton D. Gordon, Public Administration, Class of 2011

Married 2013

We met in an introductory law class and realized that we both shared an interest in the law. We were both career-driven and decided to establish a club, the MEC Pre-Law Society (MEC-PLS) to further our career goals. Our work together brought us closer and as life would have it, we fell in love! In 2010, we hosted the MEC-PLS Inaugural Award Ceremony and received so much support and love from the community through donations, that we were convinced our work was worth it. This event contributed to future LSAT sponsorship for MEC-PLS members. The memories will forever be a part of our history. We were both from different countries and at different phases in our life. Had it not been for MEC, we would have never met. MEC is the reason for our love and the success we now enjoy in our careers.

Stefanie Smith-Dixon, Computer Science, Class of 2012 & Dwain Dixon, Computer Science, Class of 2011

Married 2013

It was my junior year at MEC when I first met Stefanie. We shared a computer class that semester, with me being a day student and Stefanie, a night student. This is when night met day. There is a saying that opposites attract. Well, this was not the case. We were placed together to work in a group to complete assignments for class. Stefanie was a quiet person who did her work diligently and kept focus. As for myself, when it came to computer classes, I was the person the professor didn’t want to hear from as my hand was always up. Working with Stefanie, was my first time in a class with a night student which was different from some of the daytime students at the time. Her focus really motivated me. This helped us complete assignments ahead of time. However, after class, Stefanie moved like Cinderella and disappeared without a trace. That semester passed fairly quickly and during that time, we got to know more about each other as we went to movie matinees, Broadway shows, and dinner dates; we were having fun in the moment.

Another semester was upon us and now I was taking night classes and we had another class together which was interesting, as once again we were placed in a group together. We got to spend more time together and aced our classes once more. Fast forward to 2011, and I was graduating with Stefanie just one more year behind me. Then came 2012, and she's walking across the stage. All her arduous work was realized and accomplished; she had that proud look on her face. I was happy to be her plus one for this moment in her life. We celebrated with lunch at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, and then took photos around New York City itself.

Then came 2013, we decided to take our friendship to the next level and got married. Fast forward a few more years, we are approaching nine years of marriage and are still kicking it like we did during our college years. MEC brought us together, gave us a start in our careers paths and lives. A true friendship that turned into a romantic relationship is the story of 'when night meets day.'