Obituary: Katrina Banks, of Office of Undergraduate Research, 31


Washington University in St. Louis faculty, staff and students are mourning the death of Katrina Banks, administrative coordinator for the Office of Undergraduate Research and a student in University College in Arts & Sciences. Banks died Feb. 22. She was 31.

Banks joined the School of Medicine staff in 2014 and transferred last fall to the Office of Undergraduate Research, where she administered undergraduate research award programs and coordinated the Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) uSTAR program.

Joy Kiefer, director of the Office of Undergraduate Research and associate dean in Arts & Sciences, said Banks brought energy and enthusiasm to the tight-knit office.

“Katrina had a desire to be the best she could be,” Kiefer said. “She wanted to know more. She asked the right questions. She just had an incredible thirst for knowledge and was eager to understand the world around her.”

Kiefer also was struck by Banks’ devotion to her children. Kiefer met them during a holiday party at her home.

“Katrina’s world revolved around her children. She wanted to provide them every opportunity,” Kiefer said. 

That’s one reason why Banks enrolled in University College, where she was close to earning a bachelor’s degree in global leadership and management.

Elisa Wang, University College academic adviser and coordinator of student services, looked forward to her advising meetings with Banks. She said Banks earned good grades and the admiration of her instructors and the University College staff.

“Katrina was what you would call ‘a sparkler,’” Wang said. “That’s the term we use when a student has that something extra. And Katrina had it.”

Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, March 8, at St. Luke Memorial Baptist Church, 3623 Finney Ave. The funeral will be 10 a.m. Friday, March 9, at Leonard Missionary Baptist Church,  1100 N. Compton Ave.

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