These PSU love stories will brighten your Valentine’s Day

Roses are red, violets are blue, love is in the air, and it started at PSU!

You met in classes, clubs, dorms, the library, on Speech team or the park blocks. Some of you came to PSU together, or were set up by friends. Several of you can finish each other’s sentences, and have next-generation Viks in the making. And two of you (Looking at you Jadyn Harris and Sasha Bartoo-Smith) each submitted a love story about the other.

These heartwarming tales of connection prove that there’s no love like Viking love.

Thank you to all the PSU students, alumni, faculty and staff who shared stories about their special valentine.💚 #MyPSULoveStory

Marion and Douglas Pereira, Marion is pregnant and they are facing each other, both with their hands placed on her stomach.
Former students Marion and Douglas Pereira

Former students Marion and Douglas Pereira: “I met Douglas in 2014, I attended PSU for one year as an exchange student and he was doing the same. Douglas is from Brazil and I am from France but we met on PSU campus. Today we are married and have one baby! PSU will always have a special place in our love story and in our life.”

David Segovia and Esmeralda Osorio in a vehicle, closeup
Students David Segovia and Esmeralda Osorio

Students David Segovia and Esmeralda Osorio: “I met my significant other in middle school our 6th grade year at Whitfield middle school. We got to know each other and became best friends until 8th grade year when I realized I liked her more than just a friend or best friend. I let her know how I felt about her a couple days after her birthday when I met her parents and family for the first time. We have now been together since then even though we went to different high schools. Now we are reunited in the same school here at PSU with closely related majors.”

Nicole Wangler with Brennan Altree closeup
Student Nicole Wangler with Brennan Altree

Student Nicole Wangler with Brennan Altree: “I first met Brennan online and didn’t think much but his smile caught my attention and makes me want to know about this kid. Just a few days after we met online, we met in person at the market Street club one block away from the park blocks. And over the last almost year, I showed him around Portland State, we had a picnic on the park blocks. We broke up in the spring and six months later we reconnected and now we are better and stronger than ever and we’re going to celebrate our first Valentine’s Day together.”

Students Jadyn Harris and Sasha Bartoo-Smith lying on a blanket in the grass
Students Jadyn Harris and Sasha Bartoo-Smith

Note: Both Jadyn Harris and Sasha Bartoo-Smith submitted love stories about each other, how sweet is that? We listed them both below.

Jadyn Harris, about Sasha Bartoo-Smith: “I met my partner in our FRINQ class, Power & Imagination. We we became friends in during the course and would hangout after class. Eventually, we started hanging out more until the pandemic hit. From there, I went home and we would facetime. We were friends throughout the 1st year or more, we had seen each other be with other partners, talk about crushes, etc. Over the first summer of the pandemic she asked me on a virtual date and we did it. A few months later we were dating long-distance. When I had to come back for Soccer I moved into a shared house with her, so I did not have to be alone in my apartment. It all happened quicker than I expected, but we are happy with how things turned out. We celebrated our one-year anniversary November 2021.”

Sasha Bartoo-Smith, about Jadyn Harris: “My freshman year of college I was pretty depressed,  I had just gone through a tough heartbreak and I didn’t have any friends at PSU. I met Jadyn in my Freshman Inquiry class, we were in the same Mentor Session so we would hang out between classes and she would buy me lunch with her extra meal points. She listened patiently to all the things on my heart and always made time for me. Our friendship actually started with trying to come up with a song to perform at the open mic nights that were going on in Smith, we never did finish that song but we’ve made others. Anyway, we were friends for a long time until I finally got up the courage to ask her out, and 16 months later we live together and are going strong.”

Alumni Paige Ideue and Brandon Le closeup
Alumni Paige Ideue and Brandon Le

Alumni Paige Ideue and Brandon Le: “It was the Winter 2019 quarter and I had a morning Spanish class. He was coming from the Collaborative Life Sciences Building on the river. I stayed at the library a little after class that morning and was on my way to the Pioneer Place MAX station. I was waiting for the MAX when Brandon came up to me. Now it was winter and it was cold so I was wearing a BTS related cloth facemask and this is what caught his eye. He came up to me, asked if I liked BTS and “we” spent the ride home talking about different Kpop groups we liked and what we were majoring in. I put we in quotations because he was shy and didn’t say a lot. A month later we were dating and have been ever since. If I hadn’t chosen to go to PSU and hadn’t taken that extra hour after class, I would’ve never seen Brandon at the MAX station. Our meeting was definitely serendipitous. Even though we had very different majors and took different classes we were still able to become a couple.”

Haley and Nicholas Grout on their wedding day, sitting at a reception table with the sign "Haley and Nick forever"
Alumni Haley and Nicholas Grout

Alumni Haley and Nicholas Grout: “My now husband and I both went to different schools for two years before transferring to Portland State. I was living in Montgomery dorm and was friends with a guy who lived there also. He talked about a friend from high school, named Nick, often. We finally met, then dated, now married! I remember what we were both wearing when we first met right outside Montgomery Hall. That will always be a special memory for us.”

Eileen Casey White the ‘Seven Sisters of Success’
Alumna and Senior Fellow at the Center for Public Service Eileen Casey White

Alumna and Senior Fellow at the Center for Public Service Eileen Casey White: “The ‘Seven Sisters of Success’ met in the Educational Leadership doctoral program in 1992. Although two have since fallen away, 5 of us still meet regularly (often by Zoom) and have traveled to many places together over the last 30 years. Our love for one another started in classes and studying for comps, supported us through all our dissertations and degree completions, and has transformed all our lives.”

Emily Chhunkeo and Xander Cho standing on a deck overlooking an urban area
Students Emily Chhunkeo and Xander Cho

Students Emily Chhunkeo and Xander Cho: “We met in our FRINQ class and I thought he was very cute, we’d always go out for food and boba. And now we’ve been dating for a year and four months :)”

Abby and Loehn Morris with their dog, in winter hats
Alumni Abby and Loehn Morris

Alumni Abby and Loehn Morris: “Loehn’ and I met in CPR class at the Rec center. It was a mandatory staff training. I worked in Aquatics and he worked in the Fitness Center. I thought he was the most attractive man I had ever seen in my life. We got together a couple of months later and have been together over 10 years now. We got married Sept. 23, 2019. We have expanded our family to include two wonderful dogs, Lucy and Mitzy.”

Christian and Shannon Aniciete, posing in front of PSU's sign "Let Knowledge Serve the City"
Alumnus, former Social Media Manager and current MBA student Christian Aniciete with Alumna Shannon Aniciete

Alumnus, former Social Media Manager and current MBA student Christian  Aniciete with Alumna Shannon Aniciete: “My wife Shannon and I are both high school sweethearts and proud graduates of Portland State University in 2010. Thanks to PSU, we were recruited right after graduation by the university, kicking off a long and exciting career in higher education for almost a decade.

This past fall, I returned to campus to start my MBA journey at PSU and she remains by my side. Later this year, Shannon will return to PSU for a new director job and without a doubt, I will also be there by her side. Thanks for all of the doors you’ve opened for us, for continuing to find a way for our paths to cross, and for being a constant part of our love story, PSU. Go Viks!”

Student Simone Cordery-Cotter and Steven Hilton closeup
Student Simone Cordery-Cotter and Steven Hilton

Student Simone Cordery-Cotter and Steven Hilton: “An old flame I had reconnected with in early 2020 moved to Portland and invited me to come visit him. During the early months of the pandemic, we couldn’t do much in the way of dating, so we ended up walking around downtown Portland, which was eerily abandoned in those days. On one of those walks during a spring day from Steven’s apartment, we walked across 5th and wandered around PSU’s campus just to see something different. I loved the campus, and after realizing PSU had just the type of graduate program I wanted, I applied for the Public Policy Program and was accepted! And then I moved to Portland, where Steven and I fell in love, and now live together! Thanks PSU, for making my pandemic love story come true, and for being the community I needed.”

Darius Seah and Aakanksha Rane sitting at a table
Students Darius Seah and Aakanksha Rane

Students Darius Seah and Aakanksha Rane: “During the spring term of my Freshman year, I had yet to make many friends, so I made a point in my life to go out and do so. I figured there was no better place than the PSU library. I walked up to Aakanksha and a friend of hers and just started talking and joking with them. Later, I became quite close with Aakanksha and we’ve been great friends ever since. She is my best of friends and I love her. I feel fortunate to get to know someone so smart and funny. I got lucky to have her as my real first friend at PSU.”

(The photo of us in our matching hoodies. I am going to upload a PG version and a not so PG version for you to choose from because she always flips off the camera haha.)

Delainey Winder and Bryan Metze posing in front of the Portland State University sign
Graduate students Delainey Winder and Bryan Metze

Graduate students Delainey Winder and Bryan Metze: “My now fiance got into chemistry graduate school at PSU and I moved across the country with him so he could go. The next year I applied and got in so now we are engaged and both getting PhDs in Chemistry here at PSU.”

A photo of Margaret Doherty and Dennis Berggren on their wedding day, looking lovingly at each other.
Alumni Margaret Doherty (’73) and Dennis Berggren

Alumni Margaret Doherty (’73) and Dennis Berggren: “Dennis and I were on the PSU Speech team…went to a tournament in San Diego.  We fell in love and married in 1973💚”

Students Rue Aldeguer and Adeline Colton embracing
Students Rue Aldeguer and Adeline Colton

Students Rue Aldeguer and Adeline Colton: “Two years ago, I was scrolling on instagram and was very nervous to start classes! I saw there was a page for PSU students to meet other incoming students! I saw a girl on there and I thought she was breathtaking…the most beautiful person I had ever been lucky enough to see. Of course I had to shoot my shot and we’ve been together for almost two years now! I am so lucky to have her. I couldn’t imagine being with anyone else for the rest of my life!”

Students Colin Wedlakd and Kathrine Vinokurov standing in a field
Students Colin Wedlakd and Kathrine Vinokurov

Students Colin Wedlakd and Kathrine Vinokurov: “Our first day of freshman year, I went into math class a little bit later and sat down where the group of girls was and it happened to be next to her. I knew when I sat down next to her though that we were going to date. We also sly started to hit it off through the first few weeks. We went to our first date on campus at the cafe yum because she loves it. We basically spent our first 6 months doing stuff around campus. Fast forward to now, we have been together for over 2 years, and still both love to go on dates around PSU.”

Alumni Kristi and Sebastian Richardson holding hands, both wearing their wedding attire
Alumni Kristi and Sebastian Richardson

Alumni Kristi and Sebastian Richardson: “I met my husband, Sebastian, at an event hosted by the PSU Russian club. We were both Russian majors but didn’t meet each other until junior year. We were just friends during college and later reconnected when we were both working in the Portland area. Now we’re married and both studying to be lawyers in Chicago!”

Alumni Yangchen Gurung and Hideki Sato in the snow with their son and a big statue of a nutcracker
Alumni Yangchen Gurung and Hideki Sato

Alumni Yangchen Gurung and Hideki Sato: “A mutual friend of ours who is also a PSU alumnus set us up on a blind date. On our date, I realized I had seen him around the newly built CampusRec where I worked at the Member Service Desk and had noticed him. 11 years later, here we are married with two dogs and a 20-month-old son.”

Returning students Lucy and Patrick Dickens sitting on a bench in the woods
Returning students Lucy and Patrick Dickens

Returning students Lucy and Patrick Dickens: “Although Patrick and I met and married a decade before we applied and enrolled in PSU, we had never gone to the same college before.  Originally my husband went to a state school in Eastern Washington and drove to see me on dates when I went to a private school in Western Washington.  He was an undeclared major and I was an Electrical Engineering major.  We rarely had classes that covered the same topics.  However, as my husband and I applied to return to school my husband we both decided to focus on English and Creative Writing respectively.  Although we haven’t taken any classes together yet, it is a joy to meet up between 12-2 each Tuesday and Thursday in Smith to discuss the highlights of our classes and how things overlap.  I’ve been married to my husband a decade, but now I get to discuss writing craft with him.  We discuss theater, literature, and what teaching methods we like. It’s been an opportunity to fall in love with him all over again.”

Students Makayla Allen and Abraham Gomez sitting in a booth looking at each other
Students Makayla Allen and Abraham Gomez

Students Makayla Allen and Abraham Gomez: “It was during one of the Viking Night events, I was with my roommate and we were trying to make new friends. I am very introverted and she was very extroverted. She brought us to this group of people and we introduced ourselves to my boyfriend and his roommate and their friends. Later that night we all had hung out and it ended up being just the 4 of us together. my roommate and my boyfriend’s roommate had gone off onto a different level of the parking garage by our dorms, and he and I had stayed on the top level. We barely knew each other so we spent the next few hours talking to each other and looking at the stars. A couple weeks later we started dating and we’ve been together since.”

Keaton Farrel sitting with a mac laptop hamming it up for the camera
Alumni Madison Reynolds and Keaton Farrel

Alumni Madison Reynolds and Keaton Farrel: “I lived on Epler my first year at PSU and found my best friend right next door. It was the first week of school and my best friend Keaton and I were both new transfer students. Myself from Texas and Keaton from Utah. Is coming from different places experiencing a new city and school together brought us together and through the years we’ve developed a deep friendship. He has shown me compassion, kindness, honestly and everything I could ever pray to have in a best friend. I have the honor of attending his wedding soon and I am thrilled to be involved in some of his milestone moments in life.  Without PSU it’s crazy to think our paths might never have crossed.”

Students Erin Barber and Hannah Ghiringelli holding a chocolate cake and cupcake
Students Erin Barber and Hannah Ghiringelli

Students Erin Barber and Hannah Ghiringelli: “Hannah and I both moved to PSU in the spring of 2021. we were both new to the city, and to college in general. quarantine made it almost impossible to meet people and we were both feeling really lonely and in need of a good friend. Thanks to some good luck on Bumble bff we were able to bond over out mutual love of sociology, dogs, Brooklyn 99 and out respective boyfriends.

We’re similar in the best ways and challenge each other to be better every single day. our 10 months of friendship has been filled with sociology geeking, thrift shopping , planning out matching schedules and plenty of study dates at the library.

So shout-out to PSU for helping me connect to one of the best friends out there.”

Alumni Ivan Gagatko and Erin Theuninck closeup selfie
Alumni Ivan Gagatko (B.A. in English, enrolled in the SDEP program at PSU to get my master’s in Gen. Ed) and Erin Theuninck (B.A. in Japanese currently enrolled in the TESOL program)

Alumni Ivan Gagatko (B.A. in English, enrolled in the SDEP program at PSU to get my master’s in Gen. Ed) and Erin Theuninck (B.A. in Japanese currently enrolled in the TESOL program):

Ivan: “We were both in the tail end of our senior year for our bachelors degrees, and I had signed up for Professor Tony Wolk’s Writing 420 class — a classic Professor Wolk exploration of creativity where everyone brought in a piece of writing once a week to share with small groups. My partner Erin had taken the class randomly for a last elective credit she needed, later hearing that she almost dropped it. But fate wouldn’t allow it, as Tony turned unknowingly from professor to matchmaker by having Erin and me in the same group.

We were both coming out of rough relationships at the time, and although my writing may have reflected that, Erin’s creative prose moved between renegade swimming adventures and stories of her three-legged wolf dog. She was an amazing writer, and way too cool for me to approach, but after chatting at one of Professor Wolk’s wacky-yet-wonderful potlucks at his house, I eventually got a text from her after class one day asking if I wanted to go out for drinks.”

Erin & Ivan: “Ivan was the most incredible, talented, pure, and drop-dead gorgeous person I had ever met. Even as friends, I just wanted to hear what he had to say about anything and everything, and marvel at the way he moved through the world. We studied together in the library and got lunch at the food carts. We traversed across the snowy city when buses wouldn’t and climbed trees at the Bluffs. We went to kabuki plays and 5th Avenue Cinema and slipped off to the highway overlook afterwards to talk late into the night. We shared our writing and our aspirations and our hearts and fell utterly in love along the way.”

Erin: “After we graduated from PSU in 2017, we knew we wanted to move through the world together. We managed to both get jobs as assistant language teachers in Japan, navigating countless successes and failures, sharing a metropolis-worth of experiences, and traversing half the world in challenges.

Teaching abroad together created a whole new path for us to continue on hand-in-hand, and we are back at PSU, both pursuing our Master’s degrees in different avenues of education. Last spring before returning to PSU in Fall 2021, we got married and were honored to have Professor Tony Wolk and his wife Lindy there to celebrate with us. Back where we first met, I feel as though we’ve somehow managed to make life our honeymoon phase.”

Alumni Cathi and Anthony Amie
Alumni Cathi and Anthony Amie

Alumni Cathi and Anthony Amie: “For years a cute guy and I shared looks in classes and on the skyways. We were introduced by mutual friends our senior year and began dating.

He surprised me with the knowledge that I missed my Anthropology Final my junior year. He had been in the same class and had been looking for me. So embarrassing to confess that I had overslept that morning.

We have been married almost 30 years now and our son is planning to attend PSU in the fall. Here’s hoping our son takes after his dad and doesn’t oversleep finals week.”

Alumni Ricki Alao and Joseph Souza posing with an older woman, with leis around their necks
Alumni Ricki Alao and Joseph Souza

Alumni Ricki Alao and Joseph Souza: “Joseph and I met in 2011, our freshman year of college! We were both born and raised on Oahu, Hawai`i and enrolled in college in Oregon!

Even though we were far away from home, when we were together, it felt like home.

Joseph always put others needs before his own. Ensuring that I was always prepared for a long class day with lots of snacks and coffee! Always helping me study and with projects.

We were frequent Park Block Farmers market goers. Always running to the vendors to grab a crepe, biscuit, & various delightful pastries.

The PSU campus holds SO many positive memories that are near and dear to our hearts. We cannot thank Portland State enough for all the light it has brought upon our lives. Mahalo PSU!”

Alumni Matthew Carlson and Kristin Smith Carlson
Alumni Matthew Carlson (Sociology ’91, Professor and Assoc. Dean since 2004) and Kristin Smith Carlson

Alumni Matthew Carlson (Sociology ’91, Professor and Assoc. Dean since 2004) and Kristin Smith Carlson: “My wife Kristin and I met a number of times at PSU before we ended up in a Sociology of Deviancy class in the same study group. She worked in the Smith Center Game Room, a place which I frequented and I was always very attracted to her, but way too shy to ask her out. Finally, our senior year we ended up in the same class together and that was it. We were engaged before the school year ended in May (May 1991) and the following year (July 1992) we were married in Hood River. That was 30 years, 3 houses, a dozen jobs, and 2 kids ago. I still look forward to Valentine’s day every year!”

Alumni Jacki and Isaac Camacho embracing outdoors
Alumni Jacki and Isaac Camacho

Alumni Jacki and Isaac Camacho: “I met my best friend and now husband, Isaac, at PSU. I was a shy sophomore, he was an outgoing freshman. I was a trained ballerina, he was a freestyle dancer. I first saw him at the Rec center in late 2010. I had joined a Rec club called Steps of Rhythm to get out of my comfort zone and he walked in the room and began to dance and of course I was instantly intrigued. Fast forward to May 2011 towards the end of the school year, we saw each other on a MAX train heading back to campus and recognized each other from a dance showcase we had just performed in the week prior. From that moment on we were inseparable. The next school year started and we both took dance minor classes together, as well as PE hip hop classes at the Stott Center. Our friendship grew stronger and 2 years later, right before I graduated, we started dating. 3 years after that, right after Isaac graduated with his Masters, we got engaged. In May 2019 we got married. Most of our greatest friends still today are those we met at PSU.”

Alumni Andrew Butz and Charlotte Hales standing outside Genoa restaurant at night
Alumni Andrew Butz (MS – Sociology ’97, PhD – Sociology ’18) and Charlotte Hales (M.Edu. ’97)

Alumni Andrew Butz (MS – Sociology ’97, PhD – Sociology ’18) and Charlotte Hales (M.Edu. ’97): “Charlotte & I must have passed each other repeatedly in Smith center & on the Park Blocks during our mid-1990s master’s courses. But not until we were out celebrating our finished theses, downtown with friends on a legendary techno dancefloor near Powell’s Books, did our eyes meet.

Then, when I answered “me too!” to her story of the finished thesis, I was of course required to produce corroborating evidence, of my PSU STUDENT I.D. But I’d still like to think what really persuaded her that I was the one, was my boyish charm & grunge-meets-techno dance moves.”

Whitney Ivey and Jeb Ivey whispering and laughing on their wedding day
Alumni Whitney Ivey (Women’s Softball ’05) and Jeb Ivey (Men’s Basketball ’03)

Alumni Whitney (Women’s Softball ’05) and Jeb Ivey (Men’s Basketball ’03): “The day I shook hands with, and met Jebby, I told my best friend, “I just met the man I’m going to marry.”

Since 2003, The Parkblocks are the foundation for our love story, and we have been in a whirlwind romance ever since. We have been married for almost 17 years, and have three crazy kids!

I just finished writing my first novel, which will hopefully be out soon, and it is based around our love story!

Portland State and the athletic department make an appearance as well! PSU gave me everything I am grateful for today.”

#Vikingforlife #Iveyleague

Alumni Debbie ’75 and Bill Green in matching T-shirts standing in a campground
Alumni Debbie ’75 and Bill Green

Alumni Debbie ’75 and Bill Green: “The summer of 1971 I saw my future husband for the first time in the McDonalds’ parking lot at the wheel of a 1952 MG TD.  Our eyes met and I thought to myself, I’d like to get to know this guy.  School started, and I was going to Portland State as a freshman.  Much to my surprise, I kept seeing the TD guy on the PSU campus.  We never spoke, but our eyes would meet and there was definitely some kind of connection there.  Winter term registration rolled around and I heard a voice asking me, “Have you taken Writing 121 yet?”  After my initial shock of having this guy talk to me, I answered, “No, not yet, have you?”  We ended up signing up for the same writing class, and sitting beside each other all term.  We started dating during winter term and continued taking classes together for the next 4 years.  Two years after graduation we were married and will be celebrating our 45th anniversary this summer.”

Students Blair Vallie and Kaitlyn Hill pose with their dog in a colorful hat
Students Blair Vallie and Kaitlyn Hill

Students Blair Vallie and Kaitlyn Hill: “My first year dating my sweetie pie… PSU handed out teddy bears on campus for VDAY. I was leaving campus later in the day but there was ONE teddy left when leaving campus that evening. Gave it to my babe, which was eventually regifted to our puppy. <3 I love you bug”

Students Marizza Jimenez Lozano and Jin Tan
Students Marizza Jimenez Lozano and Jin Tan

Students Marizza Jimenez Lozano and Jin Tan: “This was my first year on campus because of the pandemic, and was super nervous for my first in-person class. I got there like almost an hour early because I was not sure where the class would be and needed to find it and he also had the same idea. I got to the class first and it was locked so I waited at the staircase. I saw him look at the door and I told him it was locked but he didn’t listen. I was so anxious and I didn’t know what to say so I remained quiet. Later he told me that I looked quite intimidating and didn’t look like I wanted a conversation. We found out we had two classes together, acting and self-defense which was pretty cool because that rarely happens. In the self-defense class, the professor recommended we practice outside of class. I don’t have anybody to do that with so I mustered the courage and asked him if he wanted to practice with me and he agreed. At first that’s all we did, but then we got to know each other and with time we became best friends. As time passed, I developed feelings for him, but I didn’t want to ruin our amazing friendship. Not too long ago, he confessed he had feelings for me. I still remember how happy I was because I had thought it was one sided the whole time. In that moment I also confessed to him I had feelings. We were both shocked and didn’t know how to act because apparently we both thought it was one sided. We talked and decided to move forward in our relationship and now we’re boyfriend and girlfriend. It really is amazing that I was able to meet him and become best friends with him because now not only is he my best friend, but he’s also my boyfriend.”

Students Travis Raburn and Kahana Heen
Students Sierrah Bettin and Itchel Gaona: “We met on the Psu womens soccer club this year!”

Students Sierrah Bettin and Itchel  Gaona: “We met on the PSU women’s soccer club this year!”

Students Travis Raburn and Kahana Heen

Students Travis Raburn and Kahana Heen: “Kahana and I met in a business investment course we took this past fall term, an investment both of us will never regret. We fell fast and bonded over our common dream to open up a cafe somewhere abroad—leading to a courtship consisting of hundreds of cafe dates across Portland, and an immense passion for one another’s futures. Without PSU, and the business program, we never would have found one another.  But now that we have, we plan to take on the world together. One Americano at a time.”

Alumni Donna and John Mollan

Alumni Donna and John Mollan: “We had recently married and moved to Vancouver WA to begin our teaching careers. We wanted to begin work on our advanced degrees and were looking at universities nearby when we decided to see PSU for the first time. We had never been to the area and walked through the lovely park blocks, loved the beauty of the campus and immediately knew that would be where we wanted to attend. It was the perfect fit as was our marriage, now 53 years later.”