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Professor of crash victim Nikita Nakal: “She always came with a smile”

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EDMOND, Okla. -- One of the four victims killed in Saturday’s crash was a student from the University of Central Oklahoma.

Nikita Nakal was just 23-years-old.

“She was one of those students that loved to smile. So she smiled a lot. She always came with a smile,” said Dr. Donna Carlon.

She says it was a smile that would light up your day. Dr. Carlon was one of Nikita Nakal’s professors.

“She got a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Mumbai University. She wanted to be a financial analyst in the banking system, and she wanted to come to the United States to learn our banking system,” she said.

Dr. Carlon says Nikita started the semester in August, determined to succeed.

“I think most graduate students will have it together, but she was really focused. She had it together to another degree. She knew exactly what she wanted to accomplish,” she said.

Nikita had goals inside and outside of the classroom.

“Not only did she want the education, she wanted to immerse herself in the culture here too, she wanted to know about everything,” said Dr. Carlon.

Dr. Carlon says that's likely why Nikita wanted to go to OSU’s homecoming parade. It was an opportunity to take part in tradition.

Dr. Carlon says when she heard about the crash, she was overwhelmed with disbelief.

“How is it possible that one of 30 students would happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and be one of those four people killed? This can’t be right. I thought, it couldn’t be her,” she said.

Dr. Carlon says the department is working on a memorial service for Nikita, and is looking into establishing a scholarship in her name.

A candlelight memorial for Nikita will be held Tuesday, Oct. 27 at the Blue Tent at Broncho Lake at 7 p.m.

A second memorial is set for 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 30 in Nigh University Center Constitution Hall.

The Indian Student Association at Oklahoma State University has also scheduled a memorial service for Tuesday, Oct. 27, in the Student Union Theater at 9 p.m. to honor the memory of Nikita.