Trisha Apte, a School of Communication ’07 alumna, died at Vanderbilt University Hospital on March 19 of injuries sustained in a car accident. She was 23.
As an undergraduate, Apte was an active member of Alpha Phi sorority, volunteered with the Best Buddies program and participated in the Freshman Urban Program. This year, Apte received a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholarship to study for a master’s degree in public health at the University of Ghana beginning in the fall. Friends said she was committed to giving back to others in the community.
“Anyone who met her experienced her contagious smile and spirit,” said Joe Shields, Apte’s boyfriend and a McCormick ’08 graduate. “She had this very passionate side about the people and the things that were most important to her.”
Apte had “absolutely the right type of skills” to be successful in social service, said Elizabeth Pardoe, associate director of NU’s Office of Fellowships.
On the day of her death, Apte was driving to Atlanta to visit family before they traveled to London, where her parents live. She was then to travel to India, where she planned to work for the summer with HIV patients with the International Center for Research on Women.
“Trisha was someone that I had heard about from fellow students and alumni before I met her in person,” Pardoe said. “From her friends’ description she was too good to be true.”
The Communication Studies major worked for L.E.K. Consulting in Chicago for a year-and-a-half, but decided to apply for the Rotary scholarship to pursue something that was meaningful to her, said Molly Day, SESP ’07.
“When I first met her, she’s always had this desire to give back to others,” said Day, who was Apte’s roommate. “She had a stellar background and a great consulting career, but she just didn’t feel fulfilled.”
Mike Winograd, Weinberg ’07, said it was important to Apte’s college friends to honor her memory in different ways. About a dozen of Apte’s classmates returned to campus to guard and paint the rock on March 27.
“This school has meant so much to all of us and we thought it would be a fitting way to remember her,” Winograd said.
A memorial service was also held at the John Evans Alumni Center on March 29.
After graduating from NU, Apte saved enough money to spend a summer interning for the nonprofit organization Innovations in Civic Participation in Washington, D.C. Apte’s parents plan to start a summer scholarship in her name that will provide a stipend for an NU student who wishes to do community service to help women and children or to complete an unpaid internship for a nongovernment organization.
Several of her friends are organizing a team to run in the Chicago half-marathon and 5K Sept. 13 in Apte’s honor. The “Team Trish” Facebook group has more than 50 members, and the money raised will go toward Apte’s scholarship fund.