Mass honors life of graduate student
Ann Marie Jakubowski | Sunday, January 26, 2014
While they may not have known him personally, many students might remember Akash Sharma from the sight of him playing cricket in front of Stinson-Remick Hall of Engineering.
Sharma, a graduate student from Delhi, India, died Jan. 1. A memorial Mass for him took place Friday morning at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart.
Fr. Brad Metz, rector of Fisher Hall, presided at the ceremony. In his homily, he urged attendees to join in celebration of Sharma’s life.
“[He was] our brother at Notre Dame, a student teacher, a bright student, a zealous friend to many of you,” Metz said. “I never got the chance to meet Akash, but when I learned he played cricket on the quad … I knew I must have seen him once or twice.”
Metz said Sharma’s advisors and friends described him as a “very friendly person,” always smiling, and a good listener and support source for his friends.
A resident of Fischer Graduate Residences, Sharma was a third-year Ph.D. student in the chemical and biomolecular engineering program. The University did not comment on the cause of his death, but friends said he died of health-related causes.
Sharma served as co-president of the Indian Association of Notre Dame during the 2012-2013 academic year and was a teaching assistant for several classes. Sharma was also a member of the Notre Dame Men’s Boxing Club.
His work as a teaching assistant intersected with boxing when two undergraduate Bengal Bouts captains enrolled in his chemical engineering lab section and ignited his interest in the clue.
“He loved the sport,” senior Alex Oloriz said. “We kind of got him into it. he was always asking us for advice.”
Senior Jeff Ulrich, another captain, said Sharma filled the teaching role well in the la, but readily accepted the role reversal when his students were teaching him boxing.
“One thing I liked about him was that he definitely loved to learn in boxing and was very helpful as a teacher [in the lab], but I thought he also did a great job of trying to connect on a personal level too with his students,” Ulrich said. “He always wanted to connect on a personal level and not just learn the skill, or just teach the subject. That was a great thing about him.”
Grief counseling is available to students through the University Counseling Center, Campus Ministry, and International Student and Scholar Affairs (ISSA).