Matches made in medicine

Graduation + wedding proposal = new adventures

Commencement is typically a day of celebration and excitement for DMU graduates, but for Logan Driscoll, it also brought a case of the jitters. A member of the physician assistant (PA) Class of 2021, he planned to propose to his girlfriend and PA classmate, Makenzie Urban, the very next day, surrounded by family and friends.

“I was very nervous,” he recalls. 

“He was acting so weird that morning!” she says.

The two met on their first day as DMU students but had followed similar paths getting to that point. Both worked as emergency medical technicians; Urban’s first gig was on Pikes Peak in Colorado and then in urgent care, while Driscoll responded to 911 calls and did patient transfers for a Des Moines hospital. They tried dating a couple of months.

“But PA school is so chaotic. There’s no free time,” Urban says. “We stayed really close friends and hung out with the same group of people. During clinicals, we tried dating again.”

It stuck this time. Driscoll planned the Big Ask around the couple’s favorite places in Des Moines. They gathered with family the morning of May 29 at Smokey Row, a coffee shop where Driscoll and Urban had expressed they wanted to start dating again. Later, they all had lunch at Eatery A, a restaurant near the DMU campus they often frequented. Under the guise of “walking off lunch,” they then headed to Gray’s Lake, where the two enjoy running together. Members of their study group had already decorated the walking bridge with balloons, flowers and photos of the couple.

“I was surprised. He kept telling me, ‘I want to be with you forever, but let’s wait a few months,’” she says. “He definitely threw me off.”

She knew enough to turn down a call from her new employer as Driscoll prepared to pop the question. “I got down on one knee and was saying, ‘Makenzie, I love you and will love you forever’ when her phone buzzed,” Driscoll says. “The whole proposal went exactly how I wanted it to. Everybody helped – my friends, brother and parents. Everyone was great.”

Urban’s answer, of course, was yes. She started her new job as an operating room physician assistant for the plastic surgery and orthopedic surgery departments at Broadlawns Medical Center in Des Moines; Driscoll is an orthopedic PA at Capital Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Clive. They’ve set a wedding date of July 23, 2022. 

“Three big events in your life – you’re done with school, you buy a house and get married,” Driscoll reflects. “We decided to do it all at once.”

Twin track doubles the joy

Twin sisters Lauren Starkey and Alexandra “Alex” Kelley insist they did not mastermind a plan to both marry doctors within three weeks of each other, have baby daughters, live within blocks of each other and have husbands who work within the same health care system in Milwaukee. Yet that’s exactly what happened – and they’re just fine with it.

“Nothing was intentional in how our lives became so parallel,” Lauren says. “We both happened to find guys who were interested in medicine.”

Those guys are Cole Starkey and Brian Kelley, members of the DMU osteopathic medicine Class of 2021. Cole and Lauren met at the University of Iowa, where she was studying to become a nurse.

“Right away, we hit it off because it’s easy to talk with someone else who was pursuing a health degree,” he says. 

Brian, who went to school at Ohio State University, and Alex, at Iowa, met through a mutual friend. “It wasn’t like the clouds parted and we fell in love,” she says. “We were always friends. We dated other people but always kept coming back to each other. That was when we knew.”

The couples both married after the men’s second year at DMU, because “that’s the best time to do that in medical school,” says Alex, a high school math teacher. Adds Cole: “We took boards, had our bachelor parties, were in each other’s weddings, then started rotations. It was a complete whirlwind.”

The couples’ friendship is strengthened by the twins’ sisterhood bond. Their parents raised them with the expectation they would be individuals, but they’ve always been close.

“We rely on each other so much,” Alex says. “We know what we’re doing at all times of the day. We text each other goodnight and good morning and keep each other updated.”

“And sometimes they forget to tell us,” Brian interjects. “Sometimes we’re told we’re going to be doing something, because they haven’t told us in advance.”

He’s okay with that, however. “It makes me feel better, especially in residency when we’re going to be busy all the time, knowing Lauren and Alex aren’t going to be sitting home alone all the time,” he says.

“It’s like having a support network that’s very flexible,” Cole says. “If one person is working nights, then just the three of us can get together.”

Having that support network is a huge plus as they embark on new adventures as homeowners and parents – Kennedy Kelley was born on June 12; Poppy Wren Starkey, on Aug. 24 – and as Brian and Cole advance in their residencies, Brian in neurology and Cole in internal medicine, at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Alex and Lauren also began new jobs as a teacher and nurse, respectively.

“I think I learned to juggle from being new to Des Moines with a new job. The wisdom from that made this move a little bit easier,” says Lauren.

“We all just like being busy, I guess,” Alex says. “They’re all good things that are happening. Sometimes it’s overwhelming, but we’re just going day by day.”

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