Erica (Walker) and Ryan Long

Erica (Walker) and Ryan Long met during her move-in day her freshman year in August 1998 when he delivered cookies from the Baptist Student Union and invited everyone to attend their events.

Erica (Walker) and Ryan Long
Erica (Walker) and Ryan Long

“He lived on Kelly A and I lived on Kelly C,” she says. “I was already planning to join the BSU so it was nice to have a familiar face when I got there.”

The two quickly became friends and officially started dating the following month.

“We always looked forward to warm chocolate chip cookies at dinner at Rayl and float trips with the BSU and spent what little free time we had playing lots of Mario Kart in the dorms,” she says.

Ryan earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 2000, and Erica earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 2003. The pair married in May 2001.

Today Ryan works as director of customer services for Brewer Science Inc. Erica went on to earn her master’s degree in academic advising from Kansas State and now works on campus as the senior academic advisor of mechanical and aerospace engineering.

“One of the more challenging times in our relationship was the first two years we were married,” she says. “Ryan had graduated already, but I was still in school. He had a great engineering job working ‘normal’ hours and I was still operating on a full-time student schedule, so our free time never lined up! But we made it through and even decided to settle in Rolla and raise our family here.” 

Their relationship advice?

“Even after you’re married, it’s important to do things that are just for yourself, without your spouse,” she says. “Spending time apart or doing activities with friends or on your own will make you appreciate the time you get to spend with your spouse and give you more stories to share with each other.”

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