Middletown North graduate Julia Pryde was remembered by people who knew her as a carefree individualist who loved to swim competitively and cultivated a strong interest in ecology and water quality issues, according to a story about her in today’s Asbury Park Press.

Pryde was among the 32 students and faculty members slain by a student gunman Monday morning at Virginia Tech, where she was in a graduate science program.

“She was always having a good time,” said [friend and neighbor Nicole] Malone, 20, now a student at La Salle University in Philadelphia. “She was never really upset about anything; she never had a frown on her face.”

From the article:

Pryde graduated last spring with a bachelor’s degree in biological systems engineering, said Mary Leigh Wolfe, a professor of biological systems at Virginia Tech and Pryde’s adviser for the past four years.

Pryde was sitting in her advanced hydrology class when the gunman entered, Wolfe said. Many of the class’ students and its professor, G.V. Loganathan, died, Wolfe said.

“She always tried to make a difference herself rather than try to ask someone else to do something,” said Wolfe, who traveled with Pryde last year to study water systems in Ecuador.

Wolfe met Tuesday with Pryde’s parents, whom she described as grief-stricken but trying to remain strong.

“They’re very strong people,” Wolfe said.

The Star-Ledger also has an article about Pryde.

As an undergraduate at Tech, she had participated in a nonprofit group founded by fellow students to teach ecology to schoolchildren.

And last summer she took a weeklong field trip with her faculty adviser, Mary Wolfe, to study watersheds in Peru and Ecuador.

“She was an idealist, but she was practical as well,” said Brian Benham, an assistant professor in the biological systems engineering department. “I used to tease her about having an old soul.”


Friends called her easygoing and a good listener, with an untroubled, fun-loving nature. Last spring she decided impulsively to cut off the dreadlocks she had worn for some time.

“Julia was fun, she was sincere, she was thoughtful, she was very genuine,” Benham said.

In a short item, the New York Times reports that Pryde “wrote a proposal to have the school cafeteria stop throwing waste in a landfill and start recycling it as compost.”

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