TRENTON -- Legacy Watkins, a junior at Dickinson College from Trenton, died recently in Cameroon while studying abroad in the West African nation, officials said.
Watkins graduated from Trenton Central High School West in 2014 and was an Africana studies major at Dickinson, in Carlisle, Pa. east of Harrisburg.Legacy Watkins. (LinkedIn)
No cause of death was mentioned.
In two statements posted online last week, Dickinson mourned Watkins as a very active and well-known student who worked on campus and volunteered as a multicultural ambassador in the admissions office.
She also founded Keep Hope, a volunteer organization that assists local Carlisle youth with making health food choices. "She brought a fierce passion to this project, admired by her fellow volunteers and leaders," the college said in a statement.
And she was a two-time winner of the Shimmy like a Nupe dance competition on campus.
"Those who knew her will say her ready smile, loving hugs and enthusiasm were contagious," Dickinson Interim Neil Weissman said in one of the statements.
The college held a memorial for Watkins this past Friday on campus.
"She was like sunshine, a bright light," Donna Hughes, director of the Center for Service, Spirituality & Social Justice at the college said, according to a story on Diskinson's website.
Hughes was one of several administrators who worked closely with Watkins. "She was a joy and pleasure to be around," she said.
Bronte Burleigh-Jones, a college vice president and mentor to Watkins, nicknamed her "Dickinson mom," and described her in the story as "a part of my heart" and "she was just starting to soar."
At Trenton Central High School's award ceremony in 2014, Watkins was honored with a good citizenship award, and in the summer of 2014, she was featured on a billboard in the city for her work with the S.E.E.D. (Servants Endeavoring to Empower and Develop) college mentoring program.
In a Facebook post Feb. 15, Watkins wrote about how it had been a month since she left he United States, and that her trip so far had been an "eye opening, humbling, adventurous and growing" experience.
"I strive to be an educator and mentor to uplift younger generations as previous generations has done for me but I also want to explore the world and see what it offers," she wrote.
Kevin Shea may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter@kevintshea. Find NJ.com on Facebook.
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