Communications professor coordinates proposal
Samantha Sandvoss sat in her old classroom on the Meramec campus — Communications North, Room 201 — patiently waiting. She had not been a student in that room for nearly three years. But on the morning of June 4, 2015, she was not there for a class. Her former communications instructor and Meramec professor Chris Smejkal had contacted her about participating in an interview about life after graduation.
Sandvoss took Smejkal’s Gender Communication class.
“I told her that I wanted some of my best and brightest students that had graduated and moved on,” Smejkal said. “And I wanted to get some information about them since they’ve graduated. I told her it’d be a 15 to 20 minute interview and that it was going to be recorded, so you’ll want to dress nice.”
Sandvoss was excited to participate, but did not want to freeze on camera.
“I was afraid I wasn’t going to be able to answer his questions,” Sandvoss said. “I hadn’t taken a class in a while. I didn’t know what he was going to ask me.”
Sandvoss situated herself at the table. Smejkal left the room and said he would “be right back.”
The door opened, but it was not Smejkal.
It was her boyfriend — Mitch Moody. He stepped in toward her and dropped to a knee.
Where it All Began
Moody and Sandvoss did not meet on the first day of their class together in Room 201. It was two weeks afterward, when Smejkal did an in-class assignment — a stream of conscious writing project — where his students listed things they thought of, when they thought of a guy or a girl.
The two ended up with each other’s papers.
“I ran out of things to think of, so I just started listing actors,” Sandvoss said. “He got my paper and cracked up because he thought it was funny. That’s how we first met.”
Outside of Room 201, Moody noticed that Sandvoss would arrive early for their Gender Communication class and wait in the hallway. Moody began doing the same.
“I started getting here earlier and earlier,” Moody said. “I started asking her for help on homework and for studying. She didn’t know that I was actually smart and didn’t need any help.”
Sandvoss was also taking Introduction to Sociology, that same semester, and Moody had previously taken it.
He shared his Introduction to Sociology notebook with her, and inside, wrote his number. The two began chitchatting more, than just outside of the hallway of their mutual class.
“I don’t think we ever talked about Sociology,” Moody said.
And by Halloween, they were dating.
Behind the Scene
Moody was nervous. He was in a video room waiting for Smejkal to return, after exiting his old classroom.
He had prepared for this moment and wanted it to be a success. Moody had scheduled around summer vacations and contacted Smejkal — the ruse was on.
“She always gives me trouble about my planning skills,” Moody said. “If we have to plan something, she’ll just take over. And this was the one thing, probably in our whole lives, where I couldn’t wait for her to take it over.”
But his nerves almost got the better of him. He sent a text message to his girlfriend of nearly three years, asking if she was “here” at Meramec.
He recovered with a correction, adding a ‘T’ before ‘h-e-r-e’ in a second text.
“I didn’t think anything of it,” Sandvoss said. “He always misspells.”
Moody put his phone down and did not respond back to any of her text messages.
“Then I started pouring sweat,” Moody said.
Smejkal returned to the back video room. And, Moody headed down the hallway, toward the door of Room 201.
He walked in and saw Sandvoss.
A Happy Room
Smejkal did have made-up questions to ask Sandvoss.
But questions like, ‘When was the last time you sang to yourself?’ were never asked. The interview did not go that far.
Moody had different question to ask first. And his bride-to-be said, ‘Yes.’
“It’s weird because before I met her, I hated this room,” Moody said. “It’s like a closet.”
But even in a room without windows, Moody found happiness.
“Some people will go to where they had their first date — or where they went to eat for the first time. But our first date was technically Creepyworld,” Moody said. “So, I figured we’d go back to where we first met.”
Moody made the right move.
“I’m happy to be back in this classroom. This was my favorite class,” Sandvoss said. “I would not have wanted to do it anywhere else.”