University of Rochester

Doctoral Student, Scholarship Recipient Honors the Legacy of a 9/11 Hero

September 6, 2011

Doctoral student Karyn Schmidt feels a kinship with one of the six University of Rochester alumni who died on Sept. 11, 2001. She received the first memorial scholarship in honor of Jeremy Glick, who perished on United Airlines Flight 93 that day.

"It is a huge honor to be associated with him," says Schmidt '07, '10M (MS), an alumna who is now completing her Ph.D. studies in biochemistry at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. "It was incredibly overwhelming when I started reading about his life. We may never know what happened on that plane. To think he would have the courage to react in the middle of a crisis, it speaks to how great a person he and other members on the flight were."

Glick '93 is believed to have been one of several passengers to counterattack the hijackers when they were in control of the cockpit. In the end, the plane crashed in a Pennsylvania field and no one survived.

Of this year's 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, Schmidt, now 26, says: "It is important to pause and remember at times like this. Many members of my family fought in World War II. Because of them, I have respect for holidays and true patriots."

In 2005-06 when Schmidt was a junior in the College, the president of her Alpha Phi sorority suggested that she apply for the Glick scholarship. It is intended for fraternity and sorority members who exhibit leadership, are involved in campuswide activities, and are in need of financial assistance. Schmidt was a teaching assistant and workshop leader in organic chemistry, carried a 3.5 GPA, served as vice president of the Ballet Performance Group, and was a campus Panhellenic delegate. "I loved the focus on sisterhood and support at Alpha Phi," she recalls. "There was a lot of mutual respect and we were very involved in other campus activities."

It was Glick's commitment to Greek life that moved his brothers from Alpha Delta Phi fraternity to establish the Jeremy L. Glick Memorial Scholarship Fund. At the time of his death, Glick, 31, was a sales and marketing executive from New Jersey, and a husband and father.

Schmidt, who grew up in Lewiston, N.Y., on the border with Canada, now is immersed in her life as a young researcher. In the laboratory, she has investigated childhood neurological disorders and RNA degradation. "What better motivation than to get up every day and know that you could help people directly?" she says of her dedication to science.