When Alexa Mahinka, GWSB MTA ’12, walked into the first day of her “Global Perspectives” class, she was just looking for a seat, not someone to spend the rest of her life with. But there in the back row, she found an open seat—and Mike Kiernan, GWSB MBA ’13 .
Alexa sat next to Mike and the two struck up a conversation during breaks in that first day of class. They quickly learned that they had similar tastes in television shows and a common interest in football, among other things.
“Each day after that, we would make sure we sat next to each other in the same seats as that first day of class,” Alexa remembers. “We even joined the same team for a group project.”
A few weeks into the class, Alexa asked Mike to study with her before their weekly quizzes. “We learned a lot about each other during our study dates,” she says, “including our shared enjoyment of skiing and snowboarding.”
After a few of these study dates, Mike asked Alexa on a dinner date—one with “no notes required”—to the Founding Farmers restaurant located just off campus. Mike was so pre-occupied with planning the date and figuring out what to say to Alexa that evening that he had taken care of everything except for one important detail: actually making a reservation at the popular D.C. restaurant.
Mike realized his mistake just an hour before the date and apprehensively called Alexa to notify her of the oversight.
“I was really concerned that the incoming call was Mike cancelling the date on short notice,” says Alexa, “but I was relieved to hear that the date was still on, despite the oversight in his planning. I still tease him about forgetting to make that reservation to this day.”
Undeterred by the setback and relieved that the date was still a go, Alexa smartly suggested that they keep the same plans and just wait at the restaurant’s bar and chat until a walk-in reservation became available. Time flew by as they talked, and they barely noticed that over an hour had passed since they had sat down. They ended up having a lovely dinner, which went so well that it led to a series of dates (with successfully made reservations) and the start of a relationship between them.
The couple has many fond memories from their days together at GW, especially their frequent study dates in Duqués Hall. When Alexa graduated in the spring of 2012, Mike made sure he was present at the School of Business commencement, as well as the main University Commencement ceremonies on the National Mall. As a graduation gift, he even surprised Alexa with a trapeze lesson at Washington, D.C.’s Navy Yard.
During their relationship, Alexa and Mike have put their shared love of skiing and snowboarding to good use, travelling to active destinations such as Vancouver, Canada; Jackson, Wyoming; and various locales in Alaska and Colorado.
The travelers’ next big trip is planned for this summer when they head to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, to get married on June 18, 2016.
—W. Gray Turner