Scarsdale resident Giancarlo Paternoster, 27, and his girlfriend Julia Djokic, 26, of Somers, got engaged Aug. 19 in a surprise proposal outside a campus building at Lehman College. The two had bonded this past summer while taking an organic chemistry course the college offers to post-baccalaureate students preparing for careers in health professions.
Paternoster is currently a first-year medical student at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, while Djokic is a first-year student at New York University College of Dentistry.
With help from a former instructor at Lehman, Paternoster tricked Djokic into thinking she’d been asked to return to campus to speak to a pre-dental student group. Once she arrived at Davis Hall, Djokic found Paternoster with a bouquet of roses, a diamond ring and a life-changing question.
Paternoster and Djokic had initially met in February 2018 while taking a biology course at Purchase College, SUNY. As the end of the semester neared, they discovered that they needed to take organic chemistry as a prerequisite for dental and medical school and discussed possible options. The two initially considered themselves good friends, but after a summer of teaming up to prepare for exams and lab assignments they realized there was something special about their relationship and started dating that fall.
Their big moment came roughly two years after they took their final exams and completed their organic chemistry class.