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Dobbs Ferry, Columbia U Mourn Loss of 'Brilliant' Student Martha Corey-Ochoa

The 18-year-old freshman at Columbia University, who was Dobbs Ferry High School's 2012 Valedictorian, died after falling out a dorm window Monday night.

  • This story was updated at 1:47 p.m.

Martha Corey-Ochoa, Dobbs Ferry High School’s 2012 valedictorian, fell to her death from a 14th floor dorm window at Columbia University Monday night. The 18-year-old is remembered as a bright and accomplished student with a passion for music, literature and learning.

“The Columbia community mourns the loss of Martha Corey-Ochoa, a first-year student at Columbia College, and extends our very deepest condolences to her family and friends,” Brian F. Connolly, associate vice president for public affairs at Columbia University, told Rivertowns Patch.

Columbia Spectator reports that two Columbia freshman found her lying on the sidewalk on the corner of 114th Street and Amsterdam Avenue just after 11 p.m. Police told Columbia Spectator that Corey-Ochoa’s death is an apparent suicide, but that cause of death is still under investigation. Click here for the Columbia Spector's timeline of the event. 

Corey-Ochoa attended Dobbs Ferry Schools from elementary school until she graduated from the High School in June.

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“We are terribly saddened to tell you of the untimely death of one of our Class of 2012 graduates, Martha Corey-Ochoa,” said Dobbs Ferry Superintendent Dr. Lisa Brady, in a letter to the community that referred to Corey-Ochoa as “a brilliant student.”

Rivertowns Patch reported in September 2011 that Corey-Ochoa maintained a challenging academic schedule with four IB classes and AP Calculus. The teen, however, still managed to find the time to work on side projects, such as her novel (a political romance set in the 17th century) as well as compose music (a sonata for violin).

“Music inspires my writing,” said Corey-Ochoa in an interview for the school district’s newsletter last fall. “I love analyzing music and literature and making connections between disciplines.” 

Corey-Ochoa, a finalist in the 2012 National Merit Scholarship Program, played the violin since the third grade, was a member of the Dobbs Ferry High School orchestra, participated in the Westchester Youth Orchestra and All-County Intermediate Orchestra and was a member of the Spanish Honor Society. The 18-year-old was going to double her major with English and math at Columbia.

“Martha was passionate about mathematics and literature, and recognized as a very talented writer,” said Kevin G. Shollenberger, undergraduate dean of student affairs, in an email to Columbia students Tuesday morning.

A profile of Corey-Ochoa in the Rivertowns Daily Voice highlights the teen's commitment to hard work and love of learning. Click here to read the profile. 

Since the news of 18-year-old’s death, there has been a flood of support for the Dobbs Ferry teen. Click for that story.

Both Dobbs Ferry School District and Columbia University will offer emotional support to their students to help them cope with the tragic loss. Counselors will be available in Dobbs Ferry for students and staff on Wednesday and throughout next week, in addition, the district’s crisis response team will be available to meet with students in groups or individually.

“To support Columbia’s students and their families through this sad and difficult time, the dean of undergraduate student affairs has been informing our community of counseling services and other resources available through Counseling and Psychological Services, the Office of the University Chaplain, the Office of Parent and Family Programs, and Resident Assistants and Graduate Hall Directors,” said Connolly.

Abby Lane August 28, 2012 at 10:04 PM
If the case is still under investigation, the police have no right to emphatically state that "it is an apparent suicide"! Why would such an accomplished young lady end her life just a few weeks into her college career? Such a tragic loss. My condolences to her family and those that loved her.
Nellie Adams August 29, 2012 at 02:57 AM
So sorry to hear about this news, I pray for her beloved parents. Breaks my heart just by reading about her, she was precious indeed. Found more pics of Martha Corey-Ochoa here http://fandaily.info/?p=31358 and more info. RIP!!
Dina Sciortino August 29, 2012 at 02:39 PM
Thanks Nellie!

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