Finding Love at First Glance


Katherine Desmond was the local in a group of engineering interns at DuPont, the chemical company in Wilmington, Del., when she and Pedro Henrique Martins met in 2014.

After the two initially met at a luncheon, Ms. Desmond, who grew up in Wilmington and whose mother retired as the chief financial officer of DuPont, made the most of her knowledge of the region. Mr. Martins was from Brazil.

“I was initially very attracted to him,” said Ms. Desmond, 26, who was at the time between her sophomore and junior years at Purdue. “I was pretty incentivized to make sure we kept doing things together.”

Mr. Martins, now 31, said that he also felt an instant attraction. “It was love at the first glance,” he said. “The more time I spent with her, the more I liked her.”

The two quickly realized that they had Purdue in common (he had spent a year abroad at the university’s Calumet campus), and as the summer progressed and their group activities with the other interns continued, they fell in love.

“One weekend we went to Firefly together, four of us,” said Ms. Desmond, referring to a musical festival held annually in Dover, Del. “That’s where we had our first kiss, actually.”

“He had all these interesting life experiences, but he‘s also just a really genuine and honest person, really nonjudgmental,” she added. “He’s open to anything, willing to try things and explore, and I just loved that.”

After the summer concluded, Mr. Martins went back to Brazil and Ms. Desmond returned to Purdue’s main campus in West Lafayette, Ind. They kept their relationship afloat for a couple of months, but it became too much for them and so they agreed, amicably, to continue as friends.

In January 2016, as she was nearing graduating and speculating as to what she might do afterward, the tenor of their relationship changed.

She said that she thought their time apart was important, and she never found a comparable spark in any of the casual encounters that she subsequently experienced.

“I remember coming home from those dates and wondering, ‘Something’s missing,’” she said. “I can make conversation with anyone, but this doesn’t feel like it did that summer.”

So when he suggested that after she was done with college that she visit his home country, where he was then in graduate school, she started thinking about it seriously.

“I remember flying there and being, ‘I don’t even know how we’re going to greet each other,” she said. “He picked me up at the airport, and he just ran up and gave me this big kiss, and I was like, ‘OK, this makes things lot clearer for me.’ We were a complete couple right away.”

The couple married Aug. 15 at St. Ann’s Roman Catholic Church in Wilmington. The Rev. Richard J. Jasper performed the ceremony before about 35 people, their celebration curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Ms. Desmond, who is taking her husband’s surname, is now a project-estimating engineer at Bastian Solutions, an Indianapolis company in supply-chain logistics for Toyota. She is also studying for an M.B.A. at Indiana University.

Mr. Martins is a candidate for a doctoral degree in mechanical engineering at Purdue. He graduated from the Federal University of Uberlândia in Brazil and received a master’s degree in aeronautical and mechanical engineering from the Aeronautical Institute of Technology, also in Brazil.

After their vacation together in his home country, Mr. Martins applied to the doctoral program at Purdue. “Everything about her is right, even the way we hold hands,” he said.

“At that point we decided it was worth it,” she said. “I couldn’t let go of him again. We knew we had something special.”



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