Alumni Couple Spotlight: Kelson and Sandra Adams, Class of 2015

February 14, 2019

Finding John Cabot

I was born and raised in Colorado, but during high school I remember being eager to get out of my bubble. During my sophomore year, my dad was able to procure all of the necessary documents proving my right to Italian citizenship. This new opportunity to live, work, and study in Italy gave me all of the motivation I needed to apply to John Cabot University. My wife, Sandra, was born in Blaricum, the Netherlands, and spent all of her childhood in neighboring towns. Right after she finished her high school exams, she traveled with some friends to Rome to celebrate. She absolutely fell in love with the city and knew immediately that she wanted to live there. She took a gap year to start studying Italian and to do some work around the city, and that is when she first heard about John Cabot. Applying to JCU was the best decision both of us could have made.

International Friendships

John Cabot Alumni Spotlight: Kelson and Sandra, study abroad in Rome, American university in Italy, attending an international university, scuba diving, falling in love at universityFor me, the best part about living in Rome was the history, the atmosphere, the food, and especially the people. The people who attend John Cabot are not "ordinary", which means you'll end up with some wonderful, not-so-ordinary memories. I cannot tell you how many times I found myself sitting at a table with a group of students from just about every continent. Our internationally-minded conversations ranged from personal stories, to politics, to the art of the perfect cappuccino, and anything else you could possibly think of. Everyone had a different journey, which eventually resulted in them attending John Cabot. Hearing perspectives from such a diverse student body will change the way you think and behave. One of these unique people that JCU brought into my life is my wife, Sandra.

Sandra and I met in my very first class at John Cabot, Intro to International Affairs with Professor Sensi. A mutual friend introduced us before the class started. At the time, neither of us thought much of the interaction, to be quite honest. We often saw each other around campus, and had the occasional brief conversation, but it wasn't until we decided to go biking together that we started becoming good friends.

Our Story

Biking in Rome is pleasant and fun, but it can also be pretty terrifying. Navigating the heavy traffic on roads and squares like Piazza Venezia was scary and exciting. I think that is when our friendship really began to blossom. We started traveling together around Italy for the next two years and it was really fun! We were travel buddies, enjoying each other's presence but there weren't any hints of romantic feelings toward one another. But that all changed when we decided to take a trip to Sardinia together and we went from being best friends to being a couple.

John Cabot Alumni Spotlight: Kelson and Sandra, study abroad in Rome, American university in Italy, attending an international university, scuba diving, falling in love at universityThe transition from being just friends to in a relationship may seem complex and awkward, but for us, it was actually pretty comfortable. And now, we have a playful friendship as the foundation of our relationship. I believe that has set us up for excellent communication, mutual respect, and a passion to see each other grow. Sandra and I got married just a year later, a few weeks before our graduation. Had it not been for John Cabot, we would have never met.


After graduation, we moved to the Netherlands while we awaited Sandra's U.S. visa. We decided to spend our time taking online courses on topics that caught our interest, which created amazing opportunities for the both of us. We learned how to code and in a period of less than three months, we built 15 full-fledged web apps. I decided to fly out to San Francisco to attend a three-month coding bootcamp, and within a month of graduating from the program, I had two offers and decided to join a tech start-up in Detroit as a remote front-end developer.

I spent the next few years working as a contract software developer, receiving offers for some government projects, and even one from Starz Entertainment for their LGTV app. I eventually created some of my own start-ups. Today, Sandra and I are living in Tampa, Florida. I am currently a senior software engineer for a startup called Hatchify, where I maintain all of our Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, and Web apps. Sandra works remotely as a software engineer for Moodys Analytics. She is also the CTO and Co-Founder of Conscioux, where she is working to bring plant-based wellness to the workplace.

Kelson and Sandra Adams
Class of 2015
International Affairs and International Business major / International Affairs and Business Administration major
Hometown: Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA / Blaricum, The Netherlands



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