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Meet HCC's Sweethearts

HCC Sweethearts

Love is in the air at HCC this Valentine's season! Whether they found love on campus or abroad, these HCC Sweethearts have been working together for years! We’ve asked five couples to share their stories about how they met, what it's like to work together, and the memories they've made together at HCC.

Steve Horvath, Professor, English & Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs and Tara Hart, Professor, English, Arts & Humanities Coordinator, Fine Arts & Creative Writing

How did you two meet?

Tara: Howard Community College brought us together. We were the two new full-time English faculty hired by that division in 1997. Steve had been living in his native Pittsburgh, PA until that time, and I was in Baltimore, so it’s unlikely that we would have met any other way.

How long have you been married?

Tara: We have been married for eleven years, since July 2003. Helen Heffer (a friend who teaches yoga and meditation here at HCC) was our minister. 

What is your favorite HCC moment together?

Tara: We were so lucky to have our children enrolled in the outstanding Children’s Learning Center since they were babies, and our favorite on-campus moments were watching our children parade around the HCC quad on Halloween in their little costumes.

What is it like being an HCC Sweetheart? 

Tara: Sharing the same workplace community and many mutual friends, as well as sharing the same values regarding higher education, makes it easy to maintain a sense of connection. Also, working in the same place – one is that very close to home and to our children’s school  -- is certainly convenient for us as a family and gives us all more time together, and gives us an even stronger sense of investment in the college’s success and reputation. 

 

Ryna May, Associate Professor, English and Stephanie May, Data Evaluation & Report Specialist

How did you two meet?

Stephanie: We actually met in a math class at HCC. In 1998, we were both students and I was the tall girl who sat in front of Ryna, the surly girl who sat behind me kept trying to look around me to see the board.

Ryna: Of course, we didn't really know each other then. We really met a few years later when I came back to teach as an adjunct in the English division and Stephanie was an office associate in the old English/math division in Hickory Ridge. From there, we struck up a friendship and that friendship grew over the years.

How long have you been married?

Stephanie: We have been married a year and a half. It was very important to us to get married in our home state of Maryland, so we waited until the marriage equality bill was passed. We are blessed to have been able to share that day with family, friends and HCC colleagues. 

What is your favorite HCC moment together?

Stephanie: This is a tough one because there are so many to choose from. But we are great admirers of poetry and perhaps the most memorable event was the 2014 Blackbird Poetry Festival. We saw Billy Collins a number of years ago at the Dodge Poetry Festival, and we never dreamed that we would have a former poet laureate here at HCC. To see him here and hear him read and meet him was very special.

What is it like being an HCC Sweetheart? 

Stephanie: We feel very fortunate to work in the same place. It's nice to have lunch together from time-to-time, sit next to each other at convocation, or meet for coffee at the Café on the Quad. We are able to talk about our day and what has happened to us that day and fully understand what is going on with each other. We don't think many couples have that opportunity. And even though we work in different areas of the college, we share a common love of HCC. As alumni of this college and now as employees and stakeholders of this institution, HCC plays a huge role in our lives. It is a wonderful thing to be able to share that with your partner. When we came to HCC as students, we knew it would change our lives, but we could not have expected how profoundly being here would shape our future. It has been and continues to be a great adventure.  

 

Rozaliya Volynskiy, Professor, Computer Science and Lev Volynskiy, Adjunct Professor, Computer Science

How did you two meet?

Rose: We met in the summer of 1980 in Vinnitsa's Central Park in Ukraine. After three dates I left to continue my studies at Magnitogorsk State University in Russia, Magnitogorsk. Lev wrote me letters, each one was a long poem, after 13 of them I said “Yes.”

How long have you been married?

Rose: We have been married for 34 years.

What is your favorite HCC moment together?

Rose: We went on the trip to Turkey together with other HCC faculty and staff. We had the best time!

What is it like being an HCC Sweetheart?  

Rose: It's like being in a Bob Dylan song–there are always more opportunities to share stories of our day. Sometimes we argue about work, but most of the time we help each other.

 

Brian Dolge, Adjunct Professor, Engineering and Sarah Angerer, Grants Coordinator/Writer

How did you two meet?

Sarah: We met at a party, which isn’t very exciting, except that the party was at Pennsic, a huge medieval re-creation event held in Pennsylvania every year by the Society for Creative Anachronism. I’m pretty sure Brian was trying to pick up my sister at the time, but he ended up with me.

How long have you been married?

Brian: We celebrated our 20th anniversary last July.

What is your favorite HCC moment together?

Sarah: On the rare occasions when our time on campus overlaps, we meet at the café for coffee (well, I have coffee and Brian mocks me for drinking coffee) and spend at least ten minutes of our time noticing how odd it is to have time together with nothing pressing that needs to be done.

What is it like being an HCC Sweetheart? What impact does that have on your relationship? 

Sarah: This is the third place where we’ve worked together, but in all cases we’ve worked in such separate areas and so far apart that we don’t often interact at work. But apparently this is good for us or we wouldn’t keep doing it! No idea. We almost never see each other at work – I work days and Brian shows up to teach evening classes. Occasionally we’ll run into someone who knows each of us but doesn’t know that we’re married until we’re seen together. It’s kind of fun to watch the momentary confusion on their faces until they figure out what’s going on.

 

Kevin Collins, Auxiliary Services Assistant and Linda Collins, Accounts Payable Coordinator

How did you two meet?

Kevin: Through the local Columbia “Together” dating service. It of course was not quite as widely accepted in the late 90s as the online dating services are today. 

How long have you been married?

Linda: Going on eighteen years. 

What is your favorite HCC moment together?

Kevin: Both of us came to HCC having lost long tenured positions resulting from the corporate acquisitions and downsizing prevalent in the 90s. Since coming to HCC,  I recently hit my fifteenth anniversary and Linda had her tenth. When we went up for our pins during convocation, Dr. Hetherington acknowledged it being a family affair–and for us it really is. We’re invested in the college as a couple, both in our work and with what HCC provides back to us in return. When you put so much of your time and effort together into the same endeavor it can be especially rewarding. 

What is it like being an HCC Sweetheart? 

Kevin: It actually serves us well. Few if any conflicts with vacation scheduling, both have the same holidays, snow days, etc. It’s obviously not for everyone, but we commute together, have our first cup of coffee of the day in the Café, typically meet for lunch, etc. This arrangement is made easier by the fact that we’re not only each other’s spouse, but best friends as well. On the commute we often talk about work matters and can easily relate, offer each other feedback and provide support. 

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