Martha Corey-Ochoa: Columbia freshman jumps to her death from dorm

Martha Corey-Ochoa

A freshman at Columbia University died after she jumped from a 15-story dorm on the school’s campus late Monday night.

Martha Corey-Ochoa, 18, was taken to St. Luke’s hospital and pronounced dead after she jumped from the 10th floor of John Jay Hall on West 114th Street. Her body was found by two students.

Corey-Ochoa reportedly suffered from psychiatric problems, according to the Daily News. Police suspect her death was a suicide.

She had been the valedictorian at Dobbs Ferry High School in New York.

Columbia Dean Kevin Shollenberge sent an email to the student body about Corey-Ochoa’s death Tuesday morning.

“Martha was passionate about mathematics and literature, and recognized as a very talented writer,” Schollenberge wrote to students. “We extend our deepest condolences to the family of this student,. As we continue to cope with the loss of one of our valued community members, we remain committed to ensuring the health and well being of our Columbia family.”

Dobbs Ferry Union Free School District superintendent Lisa Brady told The Journal News in Westchester that Corey-Ochoa was a talented student, writer and musician.

“Martha was a gifted writer,” Brady said. “In an interview for the district newsletter last fall, she said, ‘Music inspires my writing. I love analyzing music and literature and making connections between disciplines.’”

Who was Martha Corey-Ochoa?

Corey-Ochoa, had just delivered a speech as valedictorian to fellow graduating seniors at Dobbs Ferry High School before moving to New York City to begin her freshman year at Columbia University. In her remarks, she encouraged her peers to open their hearts in order to experience “true beauty and ultimate happiness,” according to the New York Post.

Corey-Ochoa also cited William Shakespeare’s “Othello,” telling students, “We must take caution not to let our own love act without the guidance of knowledge. Sometimes an act of passion may seem like a true expression of love, but it will actually hurt both the lover and his beloved.”

The talented student enjoyed writing, playing the violin and ballet, according to her Facebook page. Her favorite musicians included Rihanna, Bruce Springsteen, Paramore and Beethoven. Among her favorite books were the “Twilight” series, “The Symposium,” and “Crime and Punishment.”

Her father, George Ochoa, is a well-known author who has written several books on subjects including Hispanic American history, biology, theology and the history of horror movies.


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