Love stories: A College of Humanities and Sciences Valentine’s Day special feature

February 7, 2020

Meredith Katz and Antonio Espinoza

Love stories: A College of Humanities and Sciences Valentine’s Day special feature
Feb. 5, 2020 | Author: Alexis Finc

It was at a Global Education Office reception in 2012 that Meredith Katz, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology, and Antonio Espinoza, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of History, first laid eyes on one another. “I remember thinking wow, that guy is smart. Smart is attractive,” says Meredith. Antonio was similarly smitten, “I thought she was beautiful and extroverted, and I liked both!”

It didn’t take long for Meredith to share her adventures of backpacking through Central America with Antonio, a native of Peru. “Pretty early, it was evident to me that she was smart, kind, a good conversationalist and politically progressive. All of these are important qualities to me,” says Antonio. A first date was arranged—salsa dancing at the now-defunct Richmond restaurant Balliceaux. “Antonio is definitely a good dancer. To be honest, I didn't really know how to dance salsa, but he did,” says Meredith. “I’m usually in bed by 10 p.m., but we stayed out dancing until the bar closed. I took that as a good sign.”

After three years of dating, the couple married in November of 2015 and had their son, Gabriel Amado, in July of 2017. The family loves to explore Richmond’s many parks, hit up the cafés and travel. And Gabriel, age two, has added many stamps to his passport—three countries!

When it comes to work, Antonio and Meredith consider themselves fortunate to be paired with a fellow academic. “I do think our conversations inform each other’s scholarly and pedagogical perspectives. Sometimes, we also read and make suggestions to what we have written toward research,” shares Antonio. Meredith agrees.

“Marx and Bourdieu are household names around here. It's really great to be able to share some common theoretical understandings across disciplines. Being with someone who I am intellectually compatible with is very important [to me],” says Meredith.
“Antonio knows so much about Latin American history, and I would even say he knows more about U.S. history than I do.”

They even find time to meet up on campus during the day. “Sometimes on a whim we'll get a salad at Roots and find a bench and eat lunch. That spontaneity is nice and I consider us very fortunate to be a dual academic couple who met at a place we were both already employed,” explains Meredith. Antonio agrees. “Because Meredith is such a smart person and great conversationalist, I just love to sit with her anywhere on campus and chat.”

“I love how inquisitive Antonio is. He is constantly reading and learning about new things,” says Meredith. “Antonio also asks, and continues to ask, good questions, both intellectually and emotionally.” As for what he loves most about Meredith, Antonio had a hard time choosing. “I love so many things about her. Nevertheless, I would mention her gorgeous eyes, her good heart and her generosity.”

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