Deceased January 21, 2013
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Melissa Ketunuti died in January in Philadelphia, where she was a pediatric infectious diseases fellow at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).
Melissa was born and raised in Thailand and came to the United States in 1995 to study at Amherst. Melissa was one of the kindest people we knew, always going out of her way to put other people at ease. This was true during freshman orientation when we were all nervous and homesick, and it was true at CHOP in the past few years, when she worked with sick children and anxious parents.
Melissa was interested in science and medicine from our first day at Amherst. She graduated from Amherst with a degree in neuroscience and she began medical school at Washington University in St. Louis before transferring to the Stanford School of Medicine. Melissa was awarded a Fogarty Ellison scholarship in 2005, which enabled her to spend 10 months in Botswana conducting research on HIV. Melissa’s time in Botswana cemented her passion for international medicine and helping underserved populations. Upon completion of her fellowship at CHOP, Melissa had planned to return to Botswana to work with children suffering from HIV and AIDS.
Melissa is survived by her parents in Thailand, as well as by countless friends from Amherst, Stanford, CHOP and Botswana. Her death is a loss to all of those who loved her, as well as to the field of pediatric infectious disease, and to all of the children and parents she helped with her quiet and persistent kindness and dedication. We miss her every day.