Campus love stories

February 14, 2020

By Jan Jarvis

Brooke & Cameron Web Copy

Movies have been made, books written and TV shows created about office romances that go wrong and sometimes very right.

At UNT Health Science Center, there are plenty of romances that have gone right.

Whether they find love at work or come to UNTHSC with their partner, love stories can be found across campus. Not surprisingly, those working in education are most likely to marry people of similar professions, according to Priceonmics, a data-analysis company. Along with lawyers and farmers, educators most often find love at work.

Here, a few couples share how students, researchers and others at UNTHSC blend their home and work lives to create the stuff that rom-coms are made of.

Cameron and Brooke Beck, TCOM students

Cameron and Brooke have been married for two years.

Q: How did you meet?

A: We met during orientation week for the Masters of Medical Sciences Program. We both went on to attend TCOM in successive years. After Cameron finished his second year at TCOM, he took a year off from school to complete research and let Brooke catch up to him. The best part is we will get to graduate in 2021 and become doctors together.

Q: What do you do for fun?

A: We love to travel. We really enjoy going for walks and cooking dinner together. We value time with our immediate families so we enjoy getting to spend time with them.

Q: What is the best thing about working at the same place?

A: For us, it is nice that we get to wake up together, get ready for the day and then not go our separate ways. We get to spend all day learning about medicine together.

Q: What’s your dream vacation?

A: Spending a week on the beach just relaxing with no stressors.

Q:  What do you talk about when you get home at the end of a day?

A: What time are we going to get ice cream?

Thomas Fairchild And Janice Knebl Love To Play Golf Together.

Kevin Saunders, Police Sergeant; and Lori Saunders, Director, Student Services

Kevin and Lori Saunders have been married 13 years and have four kids.

Q: How did you meet?

A: At the funeral of Kevin’s fraternity house mom. Nine months later, we were engaged.

Q: What do you do for fun?

A: We’ve started finding Netflix series that we both enjoy so we can decompress with one another. The Marvelous Miss Maisel and Yellowstone are our two favorites.

Q: What’s the best thing about working at the same place?

A: We have always worked together, and so we know all the same people, which makes work feel like an extension of our home.

Q: What’s the worst?

A: Many spouses go home and vent after a hard day, but because we know the same people, we have to be cognizant of what we share so that our impression of individuals remains unique to our relationships and not that of our spouse.

Q: What’s your dream vacation?

A: A cabin on the lake, with no agenda!

Thomas Fairchild And Janice Knebl Love To Play Golf Together.

Thomas Fairchild, PhD, Associate Professor, Health Behavior & Health Systems; and Janice Knebl, DO, MBA, Professor, Geriatrics

Thomas and Janice have been married 27 years.

Q: How did you meet?

A: We met in August 1988 when Dr. Knebl arrived at TCOM as an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Chief, Division of Geriatrics. Dr. Fairchild was the Chair of the Center for Studies in Aging at UNT in Denton. We worked on a grant together to fund the UNT Gerontology Assessment and Planning Program. The grant was funded, and the rest is history.

Q: What do you do for fun?

A: We love to golf. We also enjoy live theater, the ballet, opera and the symphony.

Q: What’s the best part about working at the same place?

A: Working at the same institution has been a rewarding experience for us since we are both very dedicated to our work. We sometimes drive in to work together, which gives us time to catch up and then debrief at the end of the day. We also have developed friendships and colleagues together.

Q: What’s your dream vacation?

A: Our dream place is Ireland. We have had a home there since 2000 and many cousins. We love to travel and hope to go to New Zealand and Australia someday.

Q: What do you talk about when you get home at the end of a day?

A: Currently, our after-hours conversations are about our family as Dr. Knebl’s mother has Alzheimer’s disease. We also talk about the students we teach and mentor as well as graduates whom we have continued to stay in touch with and to follow their careers.

Thomas Fairchild And Janice Knebl Love To Play Golf Together.

Rebekah Downing, Junior Graphics Designer; and Zachary Zanetich, Senior Maintenance Technician
Rebekah and Zachary have been married eight months.

Q: How did you meet?

A: We met at a music video shoot for one of Rebekah’s songs, and it was love at first sight. It took a few years of being close friends to start dating.

Q: What do you do for fun?

A: Zach: We both love playing and listening to music.

Rebekah: I’m also a cartoonist and animator and co-produce many records in the Fort Worth music scene.

Q: What’s the best thing about working at the same place?

A: When one of us needs a hug, the other is never too far away.

Q: The worst?

A: Zach: Having to keep gossip a secret.

Q: What’s your dream vacation?

A: Zach: I would love to take Rebekah to a five-star resort on the Moon.

Rebekah: Really, anywhere there’s a strong music and art history. I love visiting museums in other states and countries.

Thomas Fairchild And Janice Knebl Love To Play Golf Together.

Dorota Stankowska, PhD, Research Assistant Professor, Pharmacy & Neuroscience; and Rafel Fudala, PhD, Assistant Professor Microbiology, Immunology & Gene Therapy

Dorota and Rafel have been married six years and have two children.

Q: How did you meet?

A: We met at the Polish Academy of Science when Dorota was pursuing her Master of Science degree and Rafal was a first-year graduate student of Microbiology.

Q: What do you do for fun?

A: We love to garden, walk and swim with our sweet kids, Timmy, 3, and Alex, 6.

Q: What’s the best thing about working at the same place?

A: Dorota: I love that we can solve scientific problems together. We have complementary and unique skills, which allow us to collaborate and help each other in many projects.

Rafal: We can spend lunch breaks together and eat meals together.

Q: What’s the worst thing about working at the same place.

A: My only complaint is that often scientific discussions from work carry over to our household. But I guess as scientists we constantly brainstorm and discuss new research ideas no matter where we are.

Q: What do you talk about when you get home at the end of a day?

A: What happened during the day at work, what we were able to accomplish and plans for the future.

Jesse & Norma Web

Jesse Rodriguez, Building Utilities Operator; Norma Rodriguez, Custodian

Jesse and Norma have been married for 26 years. They have four children and six grandchildren.

Q: How did you meet?

A: In Mexico as teenagers. Norma’s mom was a neighbor. Jesse came to the United States first and Norma followed.

Q: What do you do for fun?

A: We are remodeling our house. We built it together.

Q: What’s the best thing about working at the same place?

A: Driving to work together.

Q: What’s the worst?

A: The only bad thing is we have to be here at 6 a.m.

Q: What’s your dream vacation?

A: Relaxing in Cancun.

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