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Kathryn Rios passed away on July 9, 2011 while studying abroad in Nicaragua.

Student studying in Nicaragua dies

Student Kathryn Rios was studying abroad in Nicaragua when she died July 9 from complications of lupus.

Rios, 22, went to Nicaragua with a UNM class, Sustainable Development in Central America: Poverty, Inequality and Growth in Nicaragua, taught by Matias Fontenla. The class arrived in Granada, Nicaragua, on June 14 and returned July 12.

Rios was a Latin American studies and economics major. She grew up in New Hampshire, where she played field hockey and lacrosse, according to her obituary in the Nashua Telegraph.

Erinna Rios, Kathryn’s sister-in-law and only relative in Albuquerque, couldn’t be reached for comment, but posted a Facebook message July 10.

“I don’t know why life is so unfair and why (Kathryn) had to go,” she wrote. “But we all loved (Kathryn) so much. (She) was a good person and an amazing friend.”

Her obituary said she loved the Red Sox and the Celtics, enjoyed going out with friends and taking long walks with her dog. She embraced her Scottish heritage and Catholic faith, and was zealous about social justice and development in Latin America.

She was so passionate that she had already been to Australia as a People to People Student ambassador, and worked in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, before planning her trip to Nicaragua. She and her husband Nick kept a list of places they’d like to travel.

University President David Schmidly sent his condolences in a July 11 University-wide e-mail.

“On behalf of the University, the president and Provost extend their deepest sympathies to the family, friends and classmates of Kathryn Rios,” he said.

Rios’ burial service was held in New Hampshire on July 20, and the family donated to the Heifer Project International and the Lupus Foundation in Rios’ name.

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