NYU Violet Sweethearts
Updated February 14, 2024
Love is in the air! And to celebrate, we’ve rounded up a few swoon-worthy NYU alumni love stories. These Violet valentines share how they met their sweetheart, bringing us back to those NYU days when we saw the world through violet-colored glasses.
Anita Rojas Carroll (GAL ’14) [she/her/hers] and Ethan Van Buren (CAS ’13) [he/him/his]
They met in the spring of 2012, in a Tisch Open Arts class called Topics in Cuba. Anita was a sophomore and Ethan was a junior. The class was open to students from all different NYU colleges and offered the opportunity to learn about the art and politics of Cuba, with a trip to Havana during Spring Break.
Ethan and Anita ran in different circles, and became acquainted but did not build a lasting friendship in this class. The reintroduction would come later, in 2015, when Anita was coincidentally dating a friend of Ethan's—and they even ran into each other at JFK Airport when Anita was traveling to California and Ethan was moving to LA. Still, that's not when they became close.
After loosely keeping in touch over the years (thanks to social media), Ethan asked Anita to dinner and drinks in the summer of 2019 when he was doing an internship in NYC at the Legal Aid Society after his second year of law school at UCLA. Anita, coincidentally, had just graduated from law school the year prior and was a practicing lawyer.
“It was then that we instantly fell in love in the midst of the NYC heatwave. Almost five years later, we are married, both practicing attorneys, and living in Brooklyn. It was a romance eight years in the making—truly invisible string theory at work!”
Rosamaria Díaz (LS ’21) [she/hers] and Gabriel Goh (LS ’21) [he/him]
“We met in a Global Liberal Studies class–Dean Circle (from fall 2018 to spring 2019) and we became close over the class trip to Abu Dhabi over JTerm.”
Crystal Alfano Gallegos (STEINHARDT ’06, ’07) and Andrew Gallegos (STEINHARDT ’07)
Crystal and Andrew were introduced by a mutual friend and fellow alum outside of the 26th Street residence hall. When Crystal was working the front desk, Andrew always had to stop by. They’ve now been married for 17 years and have four great kids together. “We are so grateful for the education we've received at NYU and the fact that it brought us together.”
Nick Grassi (GLS ’12) and Rachel Diaz (STEINHARDT ’12)
Nick: We met while at NYU in our sophomore year in 2009. My roommates and I had a Halloween get together at our dorm in Gramercy Green and Rachel came with a friend. We had a lot of laughs and made an impression on each other. We secretly had a crush on each other but were both too shy to admit it. I never saw Rachel again until 2016 when by coincidence she was traveling to Mexico City, where I was living, as part of her summer break. She reached out to me via Facebook and we went out to dinner. We instantly rekindled something dormant and the rest, as they say, is history.
Jenny (Miller) Hernandez (CAS ’08) (she/her/hers) and Jorge Hernandez (CAS ’10) (he/him/his)
Jenny: We met on our first day of CAS orientation. Two years later, we both worked as RAs at Weinstein. Though we didn’t start dating until several years after we graduated, it was our time at NYU that laid the foundation for our future relationship. We’ve been married for seven years and are preparing to welcome our third child this spring!
Erin Long (TSOA ’06) (she/her/hers) and Jimmy Long (TSOA ’06) (he/him/his)
Erin: We met studying abroad in Dublin with the Tisch program in 2004, but found out later we both lived in Lafayette the year before and definitely had attended some of the same parties and had some of the same friends. Now we have an almost two-year-old son!
Amanda McDowell (CAS ’20) (she/her) and Jimmy Martinelli (SPS ’20) (he/him)
Amanda: Jimmy and I met in the spring semester of our freshman year in 2017, when we were just eighteen years old. My girlfriends and I were meeting up with a few guys for dinner (hint: Jimmy was one of them) and we hit it off immediately. Fast forward almost five years later, we are now engaged! Falling in love in New York City is so magical and I am forever thankful NYU led me to J.
Julia Moses (STEINHARDT ’19) [she/her/hers] and Michael Jacobson (CAS ’20) [he/him/his]
“Right before winter break in the 2018–2019 school year, I was going to meet up with my friend from my freshman year dorm before she went home for the break. She realized she had already told a friend from class she would hang out that night, so she asked the two of us if we would mind all hanging out together. We didn't mind so me, my friend, and Michael all went out for food at El Cantinero on University Place. We all had a great time talking and at the end of the night he asked me for my Instagram. From there, we started speaking to each other on Instagram. Then we met up for our first date and the rest is history! We have been dating for five years.”
Ben Sher (STEINHARDT ’91) (he/him/his) and Niki Sher (STEINHARDT ’91) (she/her/hers)
Ben: We were in a group counseling class together in the 1990s. The only other male-identified person in the class was the professor. He was this very dynamic guy who was retiring. We think it was kind of hard on him that he was retiring and I was this young guy in the class. He kinda singled me out when we were in group practice that was addressing confrontation and my future wife felt bad for me. The rest is history and we have been married for more than 30 years. She is my best friend and true partner!
Arielle Sosland (STEINHARDT ’15) and Nathan Rubin (TANDON ’14)
The pair first met in the fall of 2012. Nathan Rubin (TANDON ’14)—newly arrived in New York from Minnesota—knew few people, so when he heard about Shabbat on Wheels, a program sponsored by Hillel, a campus organization for Jewish students, he decided to give it a try. Shabbat on Wheels, which involved visiting local synagogues for Sabbath services and then having dinner together, had been spearheaded by Arielle Sosland (STEINHARDT ’15), who impressed Rubin immediately. “Here was this lovely woman, ably shepherding us through the subway system and keeping the conversation going, and I was able to get a seat right next to her, probably because the other male students were intimidated by her competence and beauty,” he recalls.
Matthew Turchioe (CAS ’17, DEN ’22) (he/him/his) and Lydia Nieto (CAS ’17) (she/her/hers)
Matt and Lydia had seen each other in classes around campus since they were both pre-health students. The first time they really stopped to talk was when Lydia bumped into Matt outside of Palladium Gym while she was getting dinner and Matt had just finished a workout. They exchanged a few words, but nothing more than that. A few days later, Lydia reached out to Matt for help with organic chemistry. Matt mentioned he was an organic chemistry master—which she later found out was not true. Homework dates turned into real dates. They studied for entrance exams together and both got into dental school—Lydia at Columbia and Matt at NYU—and in December of 2020 Matt asked Lydia to marry him in front of their Christmas tree in their first apartment. They are getting married on April 28, 2022 and are only a few months away from becoming Dr. Matt and Dr. Lydia Turchioe!
Brian Wada (CAS ’18) (he/him/his) and Sara Kobayashi (STEINHARDT ’17) (she/her/hers)
Brian: We first met during a meeting for the Japanese Cultural Association (JCA), a club that my friends and I were trying to establish on campus. Brian joined us later in the semester, but he was very quiet and kept to himself most of the time.
Establishing a club on campus came with hard work and labor, and this is how we got to know each other. From picking up bubble tea from Chinatown for a fundraiser to studying in Bobst with our friends (no one got any work done), we grew close. By the end of the year, we were dating.
Fast forward seven years, we are now married and live with a cute Aussie mini pup named Charlie. We have our wedding ceremony coming up that will also be a reunion with our JCA family. We are still in the city and enjoy visiting Washington Square Park to reminisce about the good times we had in college!
Sapna Kakwani Yekanath (MEYERS ’11) [she/her/hers] and Shyam Yekanath (STERN ’11) [he/him/his]
“We met in January 2008 through mutual friends in Union Square Park. It was the first Thursday of our second semester of freshman year. Shyam was a displaced freshman at Carlisle, so a few friends and I were heading over to his dorm before going out that night. He serenaded me in the taxi and even walked me home to Weinstein. I think it was love at first sight.
Shyam proposed in the Kimmel Center in 2016. We got married in 2017 and moved to Scottsdale, Arizona. We recently moved back to New York in 2023 and our daughter Sarina was born in August, at NYU Langone (of course). We brought her to NYU Alumni and Families Weekend and also marched with her in the NYU Children’s Halloween Parade [pictured above]. We’re so proud to have gone to NYU and really hope she chooses to go there one day.”
Haven’t gotten your fill yet? Read more NYU alumni love stories here.
Do you look back on your days at NYU with heart eyes? Whether your meet cute is more of a rom-com or telenovela, tell us and your 650,000+ alumni network how you met your Violet sweetheart. Email your story to email@example.com.