Christiana Lee, a Binghamton University student remembered by friends for her spirited personality, passed away on Wednesday, Aug. 4 in a train accident.
‘She was always in the best of moods even in the worst of situations,’ said Yutong Chen, a senior majoring in political science and friend of Lee’s.
When Lee wasn’t focusing on her biological science major, she spent her time contributing to many clubs and activities on campus, according to Chen.
Lee was in Sulpoong, a Student Association chartered traditional Korean percussion team that performed at different campus events throughout the year, and was also a member of ThiNK. ThiNK, an acronym for Tomorrow’s Hope in North Korea, is a North Korean activist club that Lee worked with to raise awareness for North Korean refugees.
Beyond her involvement in student groups and her studies, Lee also made time to have a job as the lead of the overnight shift at the Glenn G. Bartle Library.
‘My strongest recollections of her are of her sitting by the front desk at 3 a.m. studying and working at the same time ‘ or of a passing glimpse of her as she tried to restock books,’ Chen said. ‘Her personality was infectious and she made the atmosphere brighter when present.’
Her mother Chun Lee told www.NorthJersey.com, ‘She was always busy for other people’s lives, sometimes more than her own.’
Chun Lee could not be reached for comment.
According to a report by www.NorthJersey.com, authorities said 21-year-old Lee walked around a crossing gate and onto a set of railroad tracks when she was struck by a New Jersey Transit train at the Ramsey station.
Lee went behind the northbound Train 1145 as it was leaving the platform. At the time, lights were flashing and bells were ringing, signaling another train was arriving. The Southbound Train 52 struck her moments later, at 7:45 a.m., according to Dan Stessel, an NJ Transit spokesman.
Lee was reported to be seen walking across the tracks with her head down, indicating that she could have been texting on her cell phone, according to the report.
Dave Macrie, who was waiting for the Hoboken-bound express train at the time, told the website that he saw the accident.
‘She never even looked up,’ Macrie said. ‘The collision was as head-on as it could be.’
Lee was originally majoring in computer engineering and later switched to biological science. She did not return to school in spring 2010 and had not registered for summer or fall courses, the report said.
A lover of the arts, Lee played piano since the age of five and in high school, started playing the violin and French horn. She also had a passion for photography.
Elizabeth Droz, dean of students at SUNY Binghamton, said in a statement that the school was ‘deeply saddened to hear of Christiana Lee’s death.’
The tragedy reminded Chen of the fragility and importance of life.
‘Life is fragile ‘ the space between life and death is a needle’s thread. Today is the the day those who left this world wished they had,’ he said.