IU PhD Student was on Downed Malaysia Airlines Jet in Ukraine


An Indiana University doctoral student was among the 295 passengers killed in yesterday’s Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crash in Ukraine. Karlijn Keijzer, 25, was a PhD student at the IU College of Arts and Sciences on the Bloomington, Indiana campus. She previously earned a Master’s degree at IU and was also a member of the women’s rowing team during the 2011 season. Keijzer was originally from the Netherlands.

“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,” Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie said in a press release on the university’s website. “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.”

Keijzer helped the IU rowing team to a 14-5 record in the 2011 season. She earned numerous rowing awards, including the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association’s Scholar-Athlete honors as well as Academic All-Big Ten. Keijzer participated in the European Rowing Junior Championships in 2006 and the World Rowing Junior Championships in 2007.

IU’s rowing head coach Steve Peterson offered his condolences to the family in a statement:

“The Indiana Rowing family is deeply saddened by the news of Karlijn’s sudden passing. She came to us for one year as a graduate student and truly wanted to pursue rowing. 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.”

Flight 17 was shot down with a surface-to-air missile on Thursday. The flight was on its way to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam. There were no survivors. President Obama announced Friday that at least one American citizen, Quinn Lucas Schansman, was among those killed. The White House has blamed pro-Russian separatists for the attack.

“This was a global tragedy. An Asian airliner was destroyed in European skies, filled with citizens from many countries, so there has to be a credible international investigation into what happened,” Obama said at the White House on Friday. “Russia, pro-Russian separatists and Ukraine must adhere to an immediate cease-fire.”

“It’s time for peace and security to be restored in Ukraine,” Obama added.

The investigation into the crash continues.

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