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"But life is long. And it is the long run that balances the short flare of interest and passion."

— Sylvia Plath

Kirsten Smithson

A junior Computer Science major with minors in Mathematical Sciences and Honors, Kirsten was a model student. She excelled in her classes, committing the time and effort to create excellent work. Her passion for the Computer Science program was exemplified both in and beyond the classroom.

Some of her accomplishments include completing a National Science Foundation research opportunity at Purdue University during the summer of 2015.  She returned with plans to attend Purdue for a graduate program. While at NKU, she worked at Olive Garden and at the Center for Applied Informatics (CAI) as a Web Development Specialist.  At both places, she was adored by all her coworkers. She was also elected as sectary for the Alpha Lambda Delta, freshman honors society.

She was passionately involved in the COI.  For example, she was a teaching assistant in an Informatics Learning Community University 101 class and two Elementary Programming classes.  She also served as a COI Ambassador.  She aided on search committees for the college and also represented the COI well at recruiting and off campus events.

Kirsten committed wholeheartedly to both people and causes, advocating for women’s rights, especially increasing the number of women in computing.  She helped organize the COI Ambassadors’ team at Relay for Life in fall 2015 and even to raise money for the American Cancer Society. She enthusiastically spoke to students about the COI Ambassador program and lived out her excitement by participating in multiple programs and events. Her enthusiasm for women in Informatics was infectious, influencing other females (and men!) to pursue careers in CIT and computer science.

As a natural leader Kirsten rose to the top, reaching out to both peers and younger students. She was eager to engage and encourage, cheerfully spreading the word about career opportunities and campus activities, or just inviting students to hang out. Kirsten’s passion and determination brought people together, and her kindness made her a favorite with all who knew her. Her bright personality made everyone feel welcome and at ease in her presence; no one was forgotten when Kirsten was around.

Kirsten Smithson was our friend. On November 1, 2015, Kirsten took her own life. This tragic incident grieved all those that loved her, as well as those of us that only caught glimpses of the wonderful person she was. We remember Kirsten for the bright personality she brought to the ambassador program. Her sweet smile, a constant sight, spread to all our faces and her quiet but witty humor had us laughing on multiple occasions.

Kirsten was a valued ambassador, representing her program and her college proudly. This remarkable young woman was passionate, brilliant and driven. Her goals and dreams brought excitement to others, and she inspired and encouraged those around her.  As Kirsten’s friends we treasure the example she led for us, the inspiration she gave us, and the legacy she leaves with us.