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How We Met:

Sylvia and Adam met at work. Adam started his job a year after Sylvia. They worked on different floors, so they didn’t meet right away. Sylvia started to hear rumors about the ‘cute new guy’ who worked downstairs. One day soon after, they were assigned to sit at a hotel booth at a conference together. It was quite a coincidence because originally, Sylvia was scheduled to sit with a different co-worker, but those plans changed suddenly and she recieved an email that ‘Adam’ would be substituting the other person. This piqued her interest because she knew this must be the new guy…

After taking forever to find the booth, Adam introduced himself and they quickly started chatting. The booth section of the conference was deserted! So, they spent the day trading stories about what they wanted to do when they ‘weren’t working’, their travel interests and where they’ve already been, and also work gossip! Adam got some snacks from the conference’s well-stocked snack bar and Sylvia noted how he put together perfect balance of sweet and salty treats… having mixed the perfect amount of pretzels with her M&Ms and also made a delicious iced tea mixed with lemonade… Maybe he was the perfect cook, she thought to herself! 😉 They had so much fun, the whole day flew by. As they rode the escalator back to the lobby, saying goodbye was difficult to do…

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About Her

Sylvia grew up and lives in Northern Virginia. She attended high school at the Madeira School in McLean. She obtained her bachelor’s degree from George Mason University, where she studied political science and international law. She went on to grad school at University College London for a master of science in maternal and child health (MCH) and later attended a certificate program at Harvard University studying psychology and neuroscience. Since studying migrant refugee populations as an undergrad in her legal and policy coursework, the vulnerabilities that mothers face while trying to survive in low-income communities has captivated her her interest. This interest broadened with her studies in public health, child development in grad school and neurobiology at Harvard, which has culminated in her current career which includes her day job in US-public health in the federal government and non-profit volunteer work in international health.

She has a younger brother and sister in law, a newborn niece, and parents who live locally. Her mom is from Bolivia and her dad is from Guatemala. She has a large extended family, many in the DC area, and also Dallas, LA, NY, the mid-west, Bolivia, Guatemala, and Spain who she enjoys to see whenever she can!

Sylvia started a non-profit with friends and colleagues in 2009. They created an organization focused on the most vulnerable populations with a board of directors representing nations in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the US. She has really enjoyed having a platform to bring together scientists and advocates who care about international health as much as she does.

In her spare time, Sylvia enjoys horseback riding, tennis, golf, crochet projects, and enjoying the perfect spring and fall days outside.

Sylvia also loves how Adam has taken a genuine interest in the non-profit and helping others that are less fortunate. She amazed how incredibly supportive he is of her activities and time spent working on non-profit projects.

She has a jack Russell terrier named Sparkee, who has been her ‘partner in crime’ for the last 10 years. He now has a new best friend…

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About Him

Adam grew up about an hour south of D.C. in the small town of Mechanicsville, MD, in St. Mary’s County. He is the youngest in a family of five with two older brothers, George, and Philip, mom, Janet and father, George. Adam’s father and grandfather helped hand build a large log cabin that served as the Steinback home for his childhood years. His grandparents still live on the property, Adam visits them often.

In MD, he attended Chopticon High School where he played on the golf and tennis teams along with being the sports writer for the school newspaper. The highlight of Adam’s tennis career was his junior year when he broke his wrist but still amazingly finished the season with an 11-5 record, even with his right arm in a cast for most of the season. After high school, he attended college at Salisbury University and the University of Maryland, University College (UMUC). His studies included Business and Journalism.

He currently works for the Department of Health and Human Service in Rockville, MD at the Parklawn building. Adam brings energy and enthusiasm to his division as he works with healthcare clinicians throughout the country by helping them receive funding to work in underserved areas. Also, his new job became very important for another reason, it is also where he met Sylvia. For some people, the “13th” floor of a building has a bad omen but for Adam and Sylvia, it is where they crossed paths over and over. She conveniently worked right across the hall, which is nice for a quick coffee break, a surprise cupcake, or a quick kiss on the cheek.

If you can’t find Adam, he is likely running, hiking or out on the golf course. He also still plays tennis and has been teaching Sylvia who has vastly improved in the last two years. Another passion of Adam’s that he has excelled at is the game of pool that was taught to him by his late grandfather Jim Perkins. Growing up in Southern Maryland, pool was a great game to make friends and socialize, and being extremely good at it didn’t hurt either. Adam also has a great taste for exotic restaurants. Both himself and Sylvia enjoy trying new foods from all over the world including Pakistani, Moroccan, Thai or Malaysian just to name a few. Additional things that Adam enjoys are being a Washington Redskins season ticket holder, traveling, going to movies and of course hanging out with his favorite dog, Sparkee.

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About Sparkee!

Sparkee was born April 5th, 2003 and weighed about 5 pounds when Sylvia brought him home at 8 weeks old. She picked out a puppy who was happy when being held in her hands and did not wiggle and squirm and try to get away.

She also chose the doggy with a cute crooked stripe down his nose, and knew his name had to be “Sparkee”.

Sparkee’s ears are quite the anomaly; his ears were folded like the typical jack russell for the first three months of his life, but then, they would pop up and down for the next few years, until they eventually both decided to stay pointed up. (most jack russells have folded ears!)

Sparkee was read college text books and emails as a baby, which is how Sylvia believes he developed such a wide vocabulary! 😉

Sparkee is a little quirky; he started carrying around a blankie, all on his own when he was a puppy. Sylvia noticed this one day when he was 4-5 months old;  he went into the bedroom, and came back dragging his blanket, pulled it on to the couch, and made a pillow for his head. He proceeded to watch Seinfeld and the Simpsons with his mommy that evening, and has been dragging around that blankie ever since.

Over the last 11 years, Sparkee has progressed from carrying one blankie, to an additional two stuffed doggies, all around with him. He carries his blankie and his doggies up and down stairs and couches, so they are all together, wherever he is. If you accidentally sit on his blankie or one of his doggies, he will let you know and demand you give it back.

Sparkee’s wide vocabulary includes knowing the names of all of his toys, and understanding the spelling several key words such as ‘o-u-t’, and ‘t-r-e-a-t’. He can give you ’10’ with his paws, goes potty on command, and waves hello and goodbye, among other tricks.

Sparkee recently learned the word’ daddy’, and goes to find Adam when Sylvia asks where ‘daddy’ is.

Sparkee will be waiting for his mommy, standing next to his ‘daddy’, as Sylvia walks down the aisle.