It All Started With a Seat

The smallest decisions can have the most impact – and that was certainly the case for Embry-Riddle alumni Chris and Emily Casey.

Eagles Chris and Emily Casey were married in Sept. 2020. (Photo: Emily Casey)
Eagles Chris and Emily Casey were married in Sept. 2020. (Photo: Emily Casey)

Civil Engineering alumni Chris Casey (’18) and Emily Casey (’19) couldn’t have predicted that choosing their seats in Lehman 332 would change the trajectory of the rest of their lives. 

One Story, Two Sides

Chris: Emily and I met during the spring semester in 2018. After returning from a conference in Washington, D.C., I came to find that my seat in Aquaponics had been stolen! At this point, class was about to start and I had to abandon my seat, awkwardly taking the seat next to it. Just when it seemed class was wrapping up early, our professor brought up the semester project and we started breaking into groups of four. Quickly, everyone started turning to their closest friends and forming their groups. As I was forming my group, the seat thief asked if she could join. Unsure of this person as a groupmate and skeptical of her willingness to steal a seat, we agreed to work together on the project. As the semester progressed, the seat thief became Emily, and Emily became my girlfriend and now wife.

Emily: I had just transferred to Embry-Riddle, and it was the first week of the Spring 2018 semester. That first week, he was away at a conference with the Civil Engineering department. So, on my first day of class, I walked into Aquaponics and choose a random seat. The following week, Chris was back from the conference and had stolen the seat I had sat in last class. With class about to start, I decided it was too late to re-evaluate my choices and sat down next to him. Chris turned around and immediately introduced himself. At the end of class, we had to break into groups for the semester-long lab project. Not really knowing anyone else, I just turned to the person sitting next to me, and that happened to be Chris. I asked if I could be in his group, and (thankfully) he agreed. The rest is history!

Two Embry-Riddle degrees, three moves, one wedding and one puppy later, the two currently reside and work in Florida – Chris as an environmental engineer and Emily as a transportation engineer.

Both cite ERAU’s real-world curriculum and tight-knit community with preparing them to navigate the next steps in their careers and life.

“Something special that comes to mind as I write the story of how we met is that I was so caught up with the grade, but what mattered was the relationships built that can last a lifetime,” Emily said. “Sometimes the most unexpected person can change your life forever.”