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Alumni Spotlight: Anatomy of Love

12/10/2013

Greg and Lisa SeymourWho would have thought that the anatomy lab in the Program in Occupational Therapy would be a place for romance? For two couples, at least, taking the anatomy course and participating in study groups became the impetus for love and marriage.

“It started very casual,” says Lisa Dumke Seymour, OTD/S ’13, who married Greg Seymour, OTD/S ’13, in May 2012. “I think it was the first day of class and Greg and I went to eat with another classmate and then we were in a small anatomy study group together. There were six of us.”

Study groups, of course, are encouraged in the Program to keep up with the coursework. Small class sizes make it easy to form friendships and many students in the occupational therapy program not only study together but also have fun around town.

From the start, Lisa and Greg were almost inseparable. “All of the clichés came true that when you know, you just know,” says Lisa. “We clicked in terms of laughing a lot together and caring for each other.”

The first semester, the two tried to keep their blossoming relationship quiet. “One of the professors saw us holding hands under the table, so word soon got around that we were dating,” Lisa laughs. “Actually, one of our professors knew that we were engaged before our parents!”

Greg Seymour took Lisa back to the site of their first date to celebrate her birthday in 2011. “I surprised her with a new Coach wallet and a purse,” he says. “The tradition in my family is that you give a penny whenever you get a new purse or wallet, so I pulled out a ring box. When she opened it there was just a penny in place of the ring and I told her about our family tradition. I then pulled out the actual ring and hopped down on one knee and proposed. We had only been dating for five months, so a lot of people thought we were crazy. But we just knew.”

They spent most of their second year in the Program planning their wedding in between classes and homework. Says Greg, “We had six of our classmates at the wedding, which was great.”

Greg and Lisa are now in Chicago to complete apprenticeships. Lisa, who has a master’s degree in human development and family studies from Auburn University in addition to her OTD, is focused on early intervention, working for a private agency that offers early intervention services in the homes of children with autism, Down syndrome, or who are premature. Greg is involved in a research study in Chicago that is evaluating the efficacy of video games as rehabilitation for people with brain injuries.

Jessica and Jason SparrowJessica Sweeney, OTD ’06, completed the 3-2 combined occupational therapy degree program at Washington University. She met her husband, Jason Sparrow, OTD ’06, in class. They were friends for more than a year before dating. “We explored St. Louis with friends doing things like float trips, BBQs, visits to local wineries and attending Cardinals games,” says Sweeney. “But most memorably, was the time we ended up together examining a cadaver in anatomy lab!”

Day hikes were also part of their regular routine and on a trip to a bed and breakfast in Mississippi, Jason proposed to Jessica after what she says was “a beautiful hike around the lake.”

They were married in 2009. Both say that choosing St. Louis as the site of their wedding was an easy decision. “St. Louis was the perfect central location between Jason’s hometown of Quincy, Ill., my hometown of Antioch, Ill., and Memphis, Tenn., where we had planted new roots after graduation,” explains Jessica.

They were married in Washington University’s Graham Chapel with not only family present, but also friends and professors from the occupational therapy program. “That was very important to us,” Jessica says.

Jason, whom his wife calls a ‘natural leader,’ now works for Rehab Care as the senior program director assisting with operations in Tennessee and Alabama. Jessica is an AOTA board-certified pediatric practitioner and serves as a lead occupational therapist for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.

Says Jessica, “The wonderful benefit of the Program in Occupational Therapy has been our ongoing connections with former classmates and professors who are now colleagues and who remain as important influences and sources of knowledge and inspiration for us.”

Adds Lisa, “Who’d have thought we would find love and a degree at the same time? It makes our time in the Program both rewarding and very special.”

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