NLC Sweethearts: Two BYU Nursing Students Get Hitched


Nursing students Robert Kemsley and Julia Lee in the Nursing Learning Center.

By Quincey Taylor

There are a lot of things you will find in the nursing program. You will find challenge, teamwork, problems to solve, and maybe a little stress. But for nursing students Julia Lee and Robert Kemsley, there is something more that they’ve found in the nursing program: their eternal companions!

Married January 4th of 2019, this nursing power couple have been navigating the fulfilling, and sometimes hectic, life as current BYU nursing students.


Encounter 1: Meet-cute at CPR Class

It all started in a CPR class, and no, he didn’t give her mouth-to-mouth. Lee had recently returned from her mission to Argentina and Kemsley had just been accepted into the program. Both needed to be CPR certified. After overhearing her speak Spanish to a friend, Kemsley decided he wanted to talk to her since that was something they had in common. Both felt a connection, yet parted ways afterwards without exchanging numbers.


Encounter 2: Impromptu Library Date

Two months later, Kemsley and Lee ran into each other in the Harold B. Lee Library. They recognized each other, but didn’t remember when they had met. They rekindled their connection over nursing homework, helping each other with their problems.

Kemsley gathered his courage and ended up asking her for her number. However, Lee had just gotten a new number since returning from her mission and still didn’t have it completely memorized. She accidentally gave him the wrong number, off by one digit. “Poor guy probably thought I was trying to get rid of him,” laughs Lee.


Encounter 3: Reflecting in the NLC Computer Lab


Reenactment of that fateful NLC moment.

Lee had almost given up seeing him again. Even though they were both nursing students, different semesters rarely mix with each other. However, she noticed Kemsley sitting at a computer in the NLC computer lab. He also happened to look up and see her reflection in his computer’s monitor. They laughed after waving – not to each other, but to each other’s reflections.

Lee laughs, “That broke the ice.” Kemsley likes to joke that’s when he knew he’d found the one. They resolved the confusion over the wrong phone number and started periodically going on dates.

They liked to help each other on their homework assignments, Lee always being careful not to give him the answers to her past assignments. You know it’s true love when your date stays with you until one in the morning to help you on a big assignment. Their relationship escalated until they eventually got engaged and then married.


Balancing Life Together

With their different and busy schedules, Lee and Kemsley have a new set of challenges as a newlywed couple. Lee is busy completing her capstone at American Fork Hospital while Kemsley is still completing classes on campus as well as clinicals at Utah Valley Hospital. At the beginning, Kemsley would leave notes with Lee’s lunch in the refrigerator as a way of connecting. Nowadays, they enjoy little traditions like attending devotional together.

The nursing program has played a huge part in their relationship, including things like meeting for the first time to making future plans.

When asked how having two nurses for parents will affect their future children, Kemsley laughs, “They’re either gonna love nursing or hate nursing.”

Julia likes to add, “Nursing has been a good facilitator to talk about raising a family. I’m really grateful for the nursing program, because it prepared me to go on my mission. At that point, I was personally learning about communication. When I came back I wanted to be a more proactive communicator. When I started dating I was able to talk about things that might have made me uncomfortable in the past, and I think I learned that in the nursing program.”


Finding Harmony

One thing that has bonded the couple since the beginning has been piano. Lee grew up surrounded by piano music and Kemsley is currently the pianist for the BYU ballet technique classes.

Playing for BYU Ballet was one of Kemsley’s dreams. Ballet technique is traditionally done to live music, and the BYU ballet team always hires pianists to play during their technique classes. Kemsley “I wasn’t very qualified, but I was really interested in the job.” Even though he wasn’t the most experienced pianist, his positive energy and willingness to improve left a lasting impression; he was hired.

While not a part of his future career, Kemsley loves playing the piano and uses it as a stress reliever in his everyday life.


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