American College Student Killed in Paris Was 'a Shining Star,' Professor Says
She was an industrial design student studying abroad in Paris.
— -- The 23-year-old American student killed in Friday night's devastating six-part attack in Paris was "a shining star" who helped mentor younger students at California State University, Long Beach, one of her professors said.
Nohemi Gonzalez, a senior at California State University Long Beach, was in Paris attending Strate College of Design for a semester abroad program, the school said. The U.S. Embassy also confirmed her death.
At the time of Friday night's attacks, Gonzalez was at a restaurant with other students who are studying abroad, CSU Long Beach president Jane Close Conoley said at a press conference this afternoon.
Gonzalez was one of 17 CSU Long Beach students studying abroad at the Parisian design program, according to a school official. The 16 other students are safe, according to the school. At least one of those students, as well as another CSU Long Beach student, was at the restaurant at the time of the shooting and they were the ones to notify the school that Gonzalez had been taken away in an ambulance.
Gonzalez, an industrial design student from El Monte, California, was a senior at CSU-Long Beach and one of her former professors said that she had a "buoyant, joyous personality."
Professor Michael LaForte said that she was "something of a star in our department. She was a shining star."
"She functioned like a bit of a mentor to younger students," LaForte said. "She was a deep, profound presence in our department and she will be extraordinarily, profoundly missed."
The university will hold a vigil Sunday though they said that their previously scheduled homecoming celebration would go on as planned today.
A State Department spokesperson would not specifically comment on Gonzalez's death, citing respect for victims' families' privacy, but said that the department will "continue to reach out to other Americans affected by these attacks, including several Americans who were injured."
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