June 26, 2013 - 12:00am
We love to profile "MIIS Matches" and chose the happy couple this month in celebration of Gay Pride Month and today's Supreme Court decision declaring DOMA unconstitutional – but most of all, because their joy continues to brighten the Monterey Institute campus.
Molly Lineberger (MBA '03) and Kelley Calvert (TESOL PCMI '05) both enrolled as students at the Monterey Institute in the fall of 2002. They first met at a club event for what is now known as the MIIS Gay Student Club and became friends, but busy schedules prevented them from seeing much of each other. In 2003, Kelley departed for her Peace Corps service in Benin to work as an English language instructor as part of the TESOL Peace Corps Master's International program. Molly graduated from the Advanced Entry MBA in August 2003 and immediately began working as a special programs coordinator for the newly created Development Project Management Institute certificate program on campus.
By the time Kelley returned her Peace Corps service in 2005 to complete her coursework for TESOL, Molly had taken a position at MIIS as enrollment manager. Kelley later began working in the ESL program as an English language instructor. Back in Monterey, Molly and Kelley became fast friends and enjoyed time meeting up after work for coffee or going for scooter rides along the coast of the beautiful Monterey Peninsula. Kelley always encouraged Molly in her dreams to work overseas, and finally in 2008 that became a reality when Molly left the U.S. to work in Jordan as part of the Emerging Markets Development Advisors Program (EMDAP), a USAID-funded fellowship. It was then that their epistolary relationship began, writing letters to share experiences like Molly's travels in the Middle East, and Kelley's three-month adventure of driving a bio-fueled car across the United States.
In 2009, Molly left Jordan for Port-au-Prince, Haiti. She had six months to learn about the country and experience its “amazing” culture before the catastrophic earthquake of 2010 devastated the country. Even though she was close to the epicenter, Molly was safe and says she feels fortunate to have been able to be of assistance to others in the immediate aftermath. "Living through the earthquake provided me with some major insights into my life” Molly says, “First of all, I was so grateful that I was alive and able to help others as an employee at a humanitarian aid organization. Second, and on a much more personal level, I realized that I didn't want to continue living around the world all by myself. I wanted to settle down and get married and have a family, something I never realized I wanted before. Seeing Haitian families take care of one another during this crisis made me realize how truly important family is." Though she knew she wanted to return home to the U.S. at some point, she remained in Haiti for another two years in order to be a part of the disaster response and rebuilding process.
When Molly's contract in Haiti ended, she had the choice to go on to another assignment in a developing country, or home. A native of Montana, she had always loved Monterey, California and it seemed like the only place in the U.S. she would want to return to live. And there was also the fact that her dear friend Kelley was still in Monterey, teaching English at the Monterey Institute. Miraculously the job that Molly had left years before was once again open. She applied for her former position and moved back to Monterey. Ten years after their first meeting, Molly and Kelley started dating and immediately were sharing their hopes for marriage and a family. On June 15, 2013, Molly and Kelley got married with friends and family present at Molly's childhood home in Seeley Lake, Montana. They are expecting their first child in November 2013.