From the Biology Department (Ken Bergman, Karen Cangialosi, Pat Eggleston, Katie Featherstone, Renate Gebauer, Loren Launen, Kristen Porter-Utley, Scott Strong, and Susan Whittemore): The Biology Department faculty, staff, and students mourn the loss of their newest faculty member, Dr. Hanna Kolodziejski, who died at the age of 32 at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston early Tuesday morning. She will be sorely missed.
Dr. Kolodziejski, known to her students as Dr. K, was a brilliant young neuroethologist who had just earned her Ph.D. from Indiana University before accepting the position of Assistant Professor of Biology at Keene State in the fall of 2007. In her short time here, Hanna demonstrated that she was a dedicated and incredibly talented teacher and mentor of undergraduates, as well as a most excellent colleague. She was a champion of all students, encouraging each and every student she knew to be as ambitious and successful as possible. Hanna was a passionate scientist who was developing several important research opportunities for our undergraduates, all based on her fascinating doctoral research on the neural basis for sex differences in the signal production of weakly electric fish. She also had a broad interest in the social and political aspects of science.
Sadly, as most of you are aware, Hanna was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia this past fall. Whenever we spoke with her, she expressed how intensely she missed the students and teaching; she wanted nothing more than to be back in the classroom. She loved teaching so much that she spent her first and only summer at Keene State teaching two classes. Hanna continued to contribute to the work of the department even while in the hospital. We are confident that had she survived, she would have become an important campus leader.
We thank the campus community for their contributions to the fund for Hanna and her husband, Jason Lee, and for participation in the bone marrow registry drive conducted in her honor this past fall. So far, we have learned that two biology majors are tissue matches, one for a 16-year-old and another for a 10-year-old. The drive was clearly very successful, and Hanna would have loved to know that others will now benefit from this effort.
Her family is holding a memorial service in Longmeadow, Mass., on Saturday, February 7. To learn more about this remarkable young woman and obtain details about the service, go to: http://www.forastierefuneralhome.com. You may also submit condolences at this site.
We hope that we will soon be able to share details about an on-campus service to memorialize Dr. Kolodziejski.
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