“Stunned and Saddened”: Remembering Kisook Ahn, Lehman Alumna and Metro North Victim

December 2, 2013 2:15 pm Alumni, Nursing Dept, President Fernández

Lehman College is saddened to announce the death of alumna Kisook Ahn (BS ’09, MS ’12) in the December 1 crash of a Metro North train in the Bronx. She was one of four people killed when the train jumped the tracks near the Spuyten Duyvil station, just west of the Lehman College campus.

Ms. Ahn, 35, was a native of South Korea, arriving in the United States in 2008 as part of Lehman’s exchange program with Sungshin Women’s University. She completed an accelerated bachelor’s degree in nursing in 2009 and a master’s degree in the family nurse practitioner program in 2012.

Wall Street Journal/Sunshine Children's Home and Rehab Center

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Kisook’s family and friends – in the United States and South Korea,” said President Ricardo R. Fernández. “The entire Lehman College community stands ready to help during this difficult and painful time.”

“We are completely stunned and saddened by today’s news,” said Catherine Alicia Georges, chair of Lehman College’s nursing department. “Kisook was a model student, who did well in both her undergraduate and graduate programs.”

The Wall Street Journal reported that she worked as a registered nurse at Sunshine Children’s Home and Rehab Center in Ossining, NY, and was returning to her home in Woodside, Queens after working the night shift.

Ms. Ahn was one of several Korean immigrants sponsored by the home, which treats 54 patients with severe illnesses, said Linda Mosiello, the facility’s administrator.

Many of the children are dependent on ventilators and Ms. Ahn spent much of her time working in the nursery, she said.

The newspaper reported that she had previously worked as a pediatrics nurse at Kings County Medical Center. Sheldon Meikle, director of Perfect Choice Staffing, which recruits aspiring nurses from South Korea, knew Ahn from the beginning.

“She was a model employee, the epitome of someone who wanted to be a nurse,” Mr. Meikle said, adding that she was in the process of becoming a permanent U.S. citizen.

The Korean nurses who work at Sunshine were described as “tight knit, like a second family,” Ms. Mosiello said.

”Two of the nurses went hospital to hospital looking for her yesterday,” Ms. Mosiello said. “We’re just devastated.”

“She was just loved and adored by all of the nurses and children here,” she added.

Ms. Ahn was quick with a smile said one colleague to the New York Times, which caught a glimpse of her special work.

Among the pictures Ms. Ahn posted on her Facebook page was one of a little girl named Abigail, holding a breathing tube in her hand.

“This is a cute little child I take care of these days,” she wrote in Korean. “Get well soon baby!”

Ms. Ahn lived with roommates in Woodside, Queens, about a 1.5-hour train ride to work, continued the Wall Street Journal:

One of those roommates, Jung “Hannah” Heejung, 28,  said she rarely saw Ms. Ahn because of her hours. Ms. Ahn routinely returned home from work at around 8 a.m., she added.

“She would work the night shift and take the train back, always late,” Ms. Heejung said.

Ms. Ahn is survived by a brother and twin sister in South Korea and her parents are deceased, Mr. Meikle said, adding she had no other relatives in the U.S. The staffing agency and Korean officials are helping arrange visas for her brother and brother-in-law to travel to New York and identify her body, he said.

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