Graduate classes make for great dates. You learn about a person’s ability to follow through on group projects, their level of creativity in presentations, and their sense of humor in late night study groups. Plus, a little healthy GPA competition never hurt anybody.
We—Molly McPherson Hollowell, ESIA MA ’13, and Frank Hollowell, ESIA MA ’12—met in August 2010, on the first day of our classes in the International Trade and Investment Policy (ITIP) M.A. program, in the basement of the Elliott School building. Frank remembers Molly walking into the room and thinking he was going to have to make a move; Molly was quickly impressed by Frank’s ability to intelligently moderate group discussions.
Both of us lived on Capitol Hill, so we took the same metro line home after class each night. Molly knew there was something different about Frank when she missed her stop after the first long chat. A few weeks later, on Molly’s birthday, Frank convinced her to get dinner at a Thai restaurant after studying for an Econ quiz, and everything just “clicked.” We have been inseparable (from each other, and Thai food) ever since! We were even crowned by friends with a celebrity couple-style nickname: “Frolly.”
Molly also worked at GW’s Development and Alumni Relations Office throughout graduate school, so our lives really centered on GW for the next couple of years. Our program was only 22 people, and tight knit. Molly was on the board of the Graduate Student Forum at ESIA and Thursday Nights Out (“TNO”) was a key part of our social life. Once we took almost the entire class to Frank’s family beach house in the Outer Banks.
We had many quintessential GW experiences, like running from Gelman to the White House the night it was announced that Bin Laden had been assassinated. There were countless nights of editing each other’s papers until 5 am and then taking the bus home to nap before work the next day. As a bipartisan couple, those late nights often involved some pretty heated political debates as well!
In 2012, we both took part in short-term study abroad programs a week apart: one in Paris, and the other in London. This was the first of many international trips together, and Frank was the perfect tour guide, showing Molly around his childhood haunts in London where his mother had been stationed as a foreign service officer.
Usually, a family member is the first to ask when you’re going to set a date and get married, but for us, it was first suggested in Gelman during a study session for an econometrics class. A classmate stated out of the blue that we should get married in the City View Room, “a perfect venue for a 75-person wedding.” Molly turned beet red but Frank jumped right into the conversation, saying that when we got married it would be big, and it would be in our shared home state on the west coast. He clearly knew what he wanted!
In 2013, Frank proposed in Panama City (what could be a more appropriate location for two students of international trade?), and 9 months later we were married in northern California. It wasn’t quite the City View room, but to make up for it, Frank wore a tie clip engraved with the coordinates of the Elliott School.
Today, we live in Dupont Circle and work at nearby consulting firms in global public policy. Thanks in part to GW, we are both confident we have many international adventures ahead of us in our careers!
—Molly & Frank