Blue Devil Love Stories

Duke employees share home and work life this Valentine's Day

(Left) Chuck Givens and April Dudash, (Right) Solomon Enos and Michael Boyce, (Bottom) Jenny Salzer and Zach Silberman
(Left) Chuck Givens and April Dudash, (Right) Solomon Enos and Michael Boyce, (Bottom) Jenny Salzer and Zach Silberman.

Occasionally, Chuck Givens will return to his car in the Allen Lot to find a piece of paper tucked underneath his windshield.

Sometimes it’s a drawing of his beagle, Nickel, other times it’s a character from the movie “Guardians of the Galaxy.” The pictures may differ, but the artist is always the same, April Dudash, Givens' wife.

Dudash, senior program coordinator of communications for the Duke Office of Durham and Regional Affairs, and Givens, staff assistant in the Office of the President, have both worked at Duke for the past year and a half.

“It’s cool that working at Duke is something we share as part of our relationship,” Dudash said. “We’re partners, Duke fans, colleagues, Durham residents. We share a lot of things together that makes our relationship stronger.”

Dudash and Givens are just one of a number of couples who share their love for each other and Duke this Valentine’s Day.

Jenny Salzer and Zach Silberman

Years together: 2

Time at Duke together: Eight months

Jenny Salzer and Zach Silberman
Salzer, a clinical nurse for the Pulmonary-Renal Surgery, and Silberman, a nursing care assistant for the General Medicine Unit, first met while they were students at Appalachian State University.

They described themselves as acquaintances up until they ran into each other two years ago at a rock climbing gym in Raleigh. Their first date followed soon after, and, they’ll marry in April in New Hill, N.C.

“Jenny just has the sweetness about her,” Silberman said. “She’s incredibly empathetic.”

While they have both worked at Duke University Hospital since last July, it took the snowfall in January to cross paths at work. Silberman, who will start nursing school at Watts School of Nursing in Durham, took a few mental notes of how his fiancée worked.

“It was fun to see Jenny in action,” he said. “She’s really good at approaching patients and not letting anything negative affect her.”

Even on off days, the couple returns to campus, especially when the Duke Farmers Market is in session.

“We’ve built this connection to Duke,” Salzer said.

Michael Boyce and Solomon Enos

Years Together: 7

Time at Duke together: 6 years

Solomon Enos and Michael Boyce
Shortly after meeting in San Francisco in 2011, Enos had to take a chance on joining Boyce in a cross-country move.

Boyce, an assistant professor of biochemistry, had just finished his postdoc at the University of California, Berkeley and secured his current job at Duke about a year into their relationship.

Enos did not hesitate in joining him in Durham.

“Love can be quite persuasive,” said Enos, who has been working as an associate director in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions since the move. “It’s really neat that we work at a university that’s large enough for when we get together at dinner time the conversations are about the same workplace but different parts,” Enos said.

The couple returns to campus after work to see a film, like a recent screening of “Persepolis” at The Kenan Institute of Ethics, or for music performances in Duke University Chapel.

They’ve also hosted a joint office holiday party at their home.

“It’s always fun to bring my lab and the Admissions Office together to merge both our work lives for one festive occasion,” Boyce said.

April Dudash and Chuck Givens

Years Together: 6

Time at Duke Together: 1.5 years

Chuck Givens and April Dudash
Dudash and Givens met while auditioning for an improv festival at a Raleigh comedy club in 2012. Each told a mutual friend they thought the other was cute. The friend snitched and within two weeks, they were on their first date.  

Before long, the couple was engaged and married in 2014.

For Dudash, the commute from work in Durham to home in Raleigh became a hassle.

“She would call me that she’s stuck in traffic,” Givens said. “We wouldn’t see each other until like 6:30 or 7 p.m. most nights.”

To solve the commuting issue, Givens started looking for jobs in Durham, and in 2016, he began working in the Office of the President. Soon after, they bought a house and moved to Durham.

One of the fondest Duke memories Givens has of Dudash is when she gave a speech at the kickoff of Duke’s Doing Good in the Neighborhood employee giving campaign last year.

“I was sitting at table and nobody knew I was her husband,” Givens said. “Everybody kept saying how fun she was. It was cool to sit back and inwardly go ‘yeah, that’s my wife.’”