Faculty couples talk about the benefits and pitfalls of working together
COLUMBUS, Ohio — It’s not unusual for true love to blossom among the books on a college campus.
At least, that was the case for several faculty couples who share how #BuckeyeLove is flourishing in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at The Ohio State University.
“Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, / And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.” — William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream
When One and One Make One (Couple)
Elena Irwin and Brian Roe, for example, are economists in the college’s Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics and juggle their home and work lives as a married couple.
They met at the University of Maryland, where both were working on doctoral degrees.
Over the years, their research has crossed paths many times. Currently, the two are collaborating with several others on a National Science Foundation-funded project to examine the factors that drive decisions, behaviors and activities in northwest Ohio’s Maumee River watershed, the largest Great Lakes watershed.
Their advice: Communicate with work colleagues directly, without going through your spouse. A benefit of working together: With two sons and two careers, “We know who needs the next three hours free the most,” Roe said.
“The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.” — Mother Teresa
Monica Giusti and Luis Rodriguez-Saona met in college, at the National Agrarian University in Peru. Both studied food engineering, but during his first year, Rodriguez-Saona tended to get to class as the bell rang and sat in the back, where he promptly saw Giusti, who always sat front and center.
“As soon as I saw her, I fell in love,” he said. “But it took me some time to get her attention.” They married in 1992 and now are faculty members in the college’s Department of Food Science and Technology. They have two daughters, ages 16 and 11, and the oldest has her sights set on becoming the third Buckeye academic in the family.
What they like best about working together: “We really enjoy exchanging ideas about our work, our research and projects,” Giusti said.
Rodriguez-Saona, who also serves as undergraduate coordinator for the department, says he often hears students praise Giusti’s teaching. “They say, ‘This is one of the best classes’ — it makes me very proud.”
“But you always wonder,” Giusti tells him, smiling, “is that what they really think, or do they say that because they know we are together?”
“You have to walk carefully in the beginning of love; the running across fields into your lover's arms can only come later when you’re sure they won’t laugh if you trip.” — Jonathan Carroll, Outside the Dog Museum
He Bugged Her
This Valentine’s Day marks the 20th anniversary of Dan and Cathy Herms’ engagement, and in September they will celebrate two decades of married life. Dan is professor and chair of the Department of Entomology, while Cathy is a research associate in the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, both based on the Wooster campus of the college at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.
When they met, Dan was a graduate student and Cathy a technician in Michigan State University’s Department of Entomology. “She kind of caught my eye, and I used to go to her lab and borrow equipment so that I could return it,” Dan said.
“I noticed that when he would return the equipment he would hang around for a really long time,” Cathy added.
“The best part about working together is that we understand what we do and we can empathize,” Dan said. “It’s really nice to be able to understand each other’s world better, because work is such a big part of our lives,” Cathy said.
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Editor: To connect with faculty in this story, please contact Suzanne Steel, firstname.lastname@example.org, 614-292-9637.
Videos by John Rice, Walter Warkus and Chris Dicus, CFAES Communications.