PA Students Find Love in the Laboratory

June 05, 2015

By Abigail Esposito

Photos by Sharpe Images Photography - Loren Jackson

ALLIANCE, Ohio – Across an array of microscopes, beakers, graduated cylinders and test tubes that decorated the Bracy Hall microbiology lab, senior biology major Brant Miller was mesmerized by the endearing grin of junior exercise science major Jana Sleutz.

“I was captivated by her cute, innocent smile,” Brant said. “She was so different, but she stole my heart from across the lab.”

During the 2014 spring semester, Brant and Jana shared two courses together: microbiology and immunology. Both aspiring physician assistants (PA), their undergraduate paths crossed.

“I first noticed him in microbiology lab because he was the loudest,” Jana said. “He noticed me noticing him. I was in awe of him at first because he was so outspoken and different from anyone I’ve ever dated and I loved that he was never afraid to speak his mind and give his opinion.”

After hanging out together with mutual friends, senior Bethany Herman and junior Hayley Buzulencia, the couple enjoyed their first date in Italian style at Carrabba’s in North Canton, Ohio, and then began dating a few days later on April 9, 2014.

“We were too good to be true,” Jana said. “Everything had aligned too perfectly.”

Jana’s hometown is Kidron, Ohio, where she grew up about 30 minutes away from Brant’s hometown of Millersburg, Ohio. Sharing more connections than they realized, Jana’s grandfather was Brant’s parents’ high school principal at West Holmes High School. Also, Jana’s father was the bus driver for the same high school and drove Brant’s sports teams to games when Brant attended West Holmes High.

“We are alike in things that matter and different in the things we need,” Brant said.

While undergrads, the Raider couple frequented B&B Café for dinner dates, took romantic strolls around campus and relaxed in the townhouses watching their favorite movie, “Frozen."

“We love to go biking together – it’s the only activity where I can keep up with her,” Brant said with a laugh. “We also love to cook seafood together.”

May 2014 rolled around, marking their one-month anniversary, when Miller was emailed about the senior class gift: personalizing the brick walkway around the campus lakes.

“I immediately had the idea to use my brick to propose to Jana,” Brant said. “I just had a feeling that this relationship was it, I knew she was special. So I prayed, and I knew in my heart how I wanted to personalize my brick to propose.”

Deciding to personalize his brick with “Will you Marry Me? B.M.,” Brant began planning his proposal.

“Her birthday is December 15, she had just been accepted into the PA program and it was the end of finals,” Brant explained. “I had it all planned to propose that Friday, December 12. I even had an exam that morning.”

At this time, construction at Gallaher Hall had recently been completed and Brant invited both of their families to come to Mount Union to show them the new facility. Under this guise, Brant was able to ensure both of their families were present to witness the proposal.

Covering all of the details, Brant enlisted the help of one of his PA classmates, Nicholas Calvin, and close friend, Nathan Dreger, to take pictures and a video of the proposal. Additionally, all of Brant’s PA classmates were positioned in the North Reading Room of the Kolenbrander-Harter Information Center to witness the magical moment.

The chilly but calm day of December 12 played out flawlessly to create a beautiful, unforgettable memory for all. Both Jana and Brant’s parents were aware of Brant’s perfectly constructed arrangement and arrived under the pretense of touring the PA program floor of Gallaher Hall.

“When we were in Bracy Hall, I noticed one of Brant's PA classmates, Nick, walking around outside by the lakes,” Jana said reflecting on that day. “I was so confused as to why he would be standing out in the cold since he just finished his last final of the semester and I didn't know he was part of the plan!”

Following the tour of Gallaher Hall, Brant led Jana out to the campus lakes while their parents slipped away to position themselves for the big event.

“We started walking on the senior class gift pathway from his graduation year,” Jana said. “Brant stopped halfway down the path and asked me if I wanted one of my birthday presents right then. When I said yes, he told me I was standing on it!”

The moment Jana looked down at the brick, happy tears instantly filled her eyes and when she turned her attention back to Brant, he was down on one knee with the brightest smile on his face.

“He asked me to marry him, and amongst the tears of course I said yes!” Jana recalled. “It was easily the best day of my life; this pathway will always hold a special place in my heart.”

As soon as Jana said yes, their family and friends rushed out to celebrate with them.

“My PA classmates came pouring out of the library toward us cheering,” Brant said. “Our parents and everyone were so impressed, I have never been happier.”

Once hugs and congratulations had been shared all around and pictures had been taken, the newly engaged couple and their families celebrated the occasion with dinner at Texas Roadhouse.

“We are family people and we like to involve them in major decisions and special moments,” Brant explained.

The Mount Union couple has chosen August 22, 2015 as their wedding date. The ceremony and reception will be held in Jana’s hometown of Kidron, Ohio with the pastor from Brant’s church officating the marriage.

Once married, Jana and Brant plan to return to Alliance, to both finish the PA program at Mount Union, to pass the PA exam and to obtain careers closer to their hometowns and families. The couple has also chosen to take a Caribbean cruise for their honeymoon over the upcoming Christmas break.

“It's crazy to think that this beautiful woman has come into my life,” Brant said. “Words cannot describe how blessed I feel right now and how happy she makes me.”

And with that, Jana smiles her sweet, innocent smile that captured Brant’s heart.

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