Still no word on causes of 2 grad student deaths

HST student Eliana Hechter remembered

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Eliana Hechter in 2012.
Courtesy of George Bergman, Berkeley

MIT announced the death of Eliana F. Hechter, a first-year medical student at Harvard and MIT’s joint Health Sciences and Technology program, last Friday.

A former Rhodes Scholar, Hechter held a doctoral degree in statistics from the University of Oxford, according to her CV.

“We encourage students, administration, and faculty to come together as a community to remember Eliana as a student with tremendous promise, and one who has been lost far too soon,” a letter from several HST faculty and staff members read.

MIT did not say when or how she died. The causes of the deaths of both Hechter and Hadi Kasab, the MIT graduate student who was found dead in March, were still unannounced at press time.

A spokesman for the Massachusetts medical examiner said that Hechter’s and Kasab’s autopsies were still “pending.”

A spokeswoman for the Middlesex district attorney said that neither case was “believed to be suspicious.”

The Daily Star, a newspaper based in Beirut, reported in March that Kasab had been buried in his hometown of Kfar Shuba, Lebanon. Still, Terrel Harris, the spokesman for the medical examiner, said that Kasab’s autopsy required “additional testing” that could take several more weeks.

The letter from the HST faculty and staff members said that those in need of support could turn to MIT Medical’s mental health and counseling services, MIT’s chaplains, or the graduate education dean’s office.

Anonymous almost 10 years ago

Well, it only took 7 days for The Tech to report this. Forget about the school discussing the suicide epidemic at MIT.

Anonymous almost 10 years ago

1 But they made an emergency update for the story that fratboys did stupid things. Great priorities.

Anonymous almost 10 years ago

If you want to discuss the "suicide epidemic" we can discuss it in these here comments. Do you have any ideas? I think it's a very sad unfortunate thing but I can't think of much that can be done except take drastic measures that go beyond MIT. It'd be nice to know that there is a farm where you can go live happily and work the land for food so anybody who is under enough pressure to have to drop out of the system can do so by going to live on a farm instead of choosing the tragic alternative.

Anonymous almost 10 years ago

From the FB of Ana Mari Cauce (Provost of University of Washington): A talented, compassionate, beautiful young woman Eliana Hechter died yesterday by her own hand. She entered the UW at 14 through the Early Entrance Program, graduated in 2006 with a degree in math and obtained a doctorate in Statistics from Oxford University where she was a Rhodes scholar. She had just finished her first semester at Harvard Medical School when her mother, Chancellor at UW Tacoma died of cancer. Watching her care for her mom in those last days was lovely. She was, of course, grieving and having a hard time. But when we talked, she also shared the joys of a spring break with her fiance in St. Thomas, her wedding plans, and a research project she was planning. The morning she killed herself she sent me an e-mail saying "all is well" and that we'd talk that weekend. Words cannot express my sorrow tonight, for her family, and for the world --her potential was limitless. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. I'm sure the pain was overwhelming, but it would have gotten better. Nothing to do but hold those we love a little tighter and be kind to others, even when it's hard. You never know what cross they may be bearing. Eliana -- you will be missed.