Va. student Stephanie Jean-Charles died on family visit

Stephanie Jean-Charles died in the earthquake during a family visit.
Stephanie Jean-Charles died in the earthquake during a family visit. (Sylvia Terry/family Photo)
Saturday, January 16, 2010

Stephanie Jean-Charles returned to Port-au-Prince last month from her graduate studies at the University of Virginia full of anticipation for catching up with family and friends over the long, warm winter break.

She died in Tuesday's earthquake.

Jean-Charles, 22, was a graduate student in the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. She had completed a bachelor's degree in French and foreign policy in May.

"She was just so excited to go back, see family and friends and just relax," said classmate Sam Dreiman. "She was absolutely in love with the country and the people."

Fluent in Haitian Creole, French and English, Jean-Charles was very much "the classic, well-rounded U-Va. student," said professor Yarimar Bonilla.

She had worked as a peer adviser to fellow students and as an intern at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in the District.

"I can still see her face, her smile," said Sylvia Terry, the recently retired associate dean of the U-Va. Office of African-American Affairs.

She was "a young woman with many dreams," wrote Harry Harding, dean of the Batten School, in an e-mail to faculty.

-- Daniel de Vise

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