IU doctoral student and former athlete was passenger on Malaysian flight

By: NewsCenter 16 Staff Email
By: NewsCenter 16 Staff Email

Bloomington, Ind. We now know two people with Hoosier ties that were on Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 that was shot down in Eastern Ukraine Thursday, killing everyone on board.

Karlijn Keijzer, a doctoral student in the chemistry department in the IU College of Arts and Sciences, was among the passengers on the flight.

Also, the airliner's pilot, Capt. Wan Amran Wan Hussin, studied computer science at IU Bloomington from 1982 to 1984, according to NBC affiliate WTHR Channel 13.

Coach Steve Peterson tells NewsCenter 16 that Keijzer is from Amsterdam and rowed for the university for one year in 2010. He says she was both a good student and good athlete.

“She came to us for one year as a graduate student and truly wanted to pursue rowing," Peterson remembers. "That year was the first year we really started to make a mark with the First Varsity 8 boat and she was a huge reason for it. She was a phenomenal student and loved IU so much that she stayed here after she earned her master’s degree. Our condolences go out to her family and friends in this very tough time.”

Keijzer was a member of IU’s Varsity 8 boat during the 2011 season, helping them to a 14-5 record. She earned Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA) Scholar-Athlete honors as well as Academic All-Big Ten accolades following the 2011 season.

A decorated junior rower, Keijzer participated in the European Rowing Junior Championships in 2006 and the World Rowing Junior Championships in 2007.

After finishing grad school, Peterson says Keijzer stayed at IU, working in the chemistry department.

On Friday morning, Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie released the following statement:

“On behalf of the entire Indiana University community, I want to express my deepest sympathies to Karlijn’s family and friends over her tragic death,” McRobbie said. “Karlijn was an outstanding student and a talented athlete, and her passing is a loss to the campus and the university. Our hearts also go out to the families of all the victims of this senseless act.”

Mu-Hyun Baik, an associate professor of chemistry and informatics and Keijzer's doctoral adviser, had this to say about his student:

"Karlijn was a bright, talented doctoral student, a diligent researcher and a dear friend to all of us who worked with her in our research group. She was a kind, happy young woman full of ideas about the future. She inspired us all with her optimism about how science will make Earth a better place.

"Ms. Keijzer worked on several research projects, all related to improving human health. The last piece of research work she completed before heading out to catch her flight to her short summer vacation was preparing a computer simulation on bryostatin, an anti-cancer drug and a promising drug candidate for treating Alzheimer's disease.

"We are devastated and mourn the loss of a brilliant, beloved member of IU's chemistry family."

Friends and former teammates have been leaving their condolences and memories of Keijzer on Facebook, calling her an amazing athlete and a hard working young woman.

NBC News has extensive coverage of the crash. Click here to check it out and be sure to stay with NewsCenter 16, the Today Show and Nightly News for all of the latest developments on this story in the coming days and weeks.

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