Ana Tapia, a first year graduate student in the Master of Public Health Program at Fresno State, died Friday, Nov. 7, in a car accident on Highway 99 north of Highway 41 in Fresno.
The car she was driving was struck by a wheel that had come off a semi-truck shortly after 5 p.m. The California Highway Patrol is investigating how the wheel became detached.
“We are so deeply saddened by Ana’s passing,” said Dr. Jody Hironaka-Juteau, dean of the College of Health and Human Services. “She was held in such high regard by so many members of our campus community and will be remembered as bright, hardworking and extremely dedicated to making a difference in the lives of others. Our hearts are with her family, friends and colleagues during this very difficult time.”
Counseling services for faculty, staff and students are available at the Student Health and Counseling Center at Fresno State.
Tapia, 22, earned a bachelor of science degree in Public Health, with an option in Community Health in May, graduating Magna Cum Laude. She was a 2014 Undergraduate Dean’s Medalist nominee for the Division of Student Affairs.
After graduation, Tapia became an intern at the Central Valley Health Policy Institute, where she was actively involved in a variety of projects that catered to the underserved population.
“Ana had a strong commitment to providing research on woman’s issues, teen pregnancy and access to healthcare for all,” said Dr. Vicki Krenz, chair of the Department of Public Health at Fresno State. “She was dedicated to giving back and helping others to achieve academic success – especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds,” Krenz said.
As an undergraduate, Ms. Tapia was an ambassador for the Education and Leadership Foundation, providing college-related assistance to high school seniors from low-income families. She was also a peer mentor in Fresno State’s Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), where she provided mentoring services to first-generation, low-income and educationally disadvantaged students on campus.
Faculty and fellow students are coordinating a fundraising drive to assist the family. Details about that effort will be announced later.
Services will be Nov. 16 and 17: on Sunday, a public viewing will be from 5-6 p.m. followed by Recital of the Holy Rosary from 6-7 p.m. at Page Funeral Home in Selma (2014 Arrants St.). On Monday, a Funeral Mass will be at 9 a.m. at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Selma (2441 Dockery Ave.).
The Student Health and Counseling Center walk-in hours are 9-11 a.m. and 2-4 p.m. daily, with the exception of Tuesday (Nov. 11) when the campus is closed for Veterans Day. For additional counseling arrangements, contact the Student Health and Counseling Center at 278.6738.
UPDATE 11/13/14: A memorial fund to assist the family of Ana Tapia has been set up at Bank of America (account No. 325047565720).