Natasha Pettigrew, 3L, died on Monday night after being struck by an SUV. The accident, which occurred early Sunday morning, happened as she rode her bike along Route 202 in her home state of Maryland. Natasha, a lover of swimming, biking and running, was training for a triathlon.
Natasha, 30, arrived at Miami Law in 2008. She took a leave of absence this fall to run as the Green Party candidate for the United States Senate seat currently held by Barbara Mikulski, D-Maryland.
"Natasha's intellect and charisma impressed everyone she met," said Karen Jennings, party Co-Chair. "We'll never know what great things could have come from this bright young woman."
At Natashaforsenate.com Natasha wrote:
"Help should not be a dirty word. There is not one among us who has not needed help at some point. When we help others we benefit ourselves, and we help ensure equal access for all. When we help those within our communities we allow for stronger, more cohesive communities. As we develop stronger, more cohesive communities, we can appreciate the strengths that each of us brings to the community table."
Natasha planned to return to Miami Law to complete her degree and practice juvenile advocacy.
"Natasha was a young woman of wonderful energy, talent and passion for life. She greatly enriched the lives of everyone who knew her," said Miami Law Dean Patricia D. White. "Our hearts go out to her family at this unspeakable loss."
Some of Natasha's favorite experiences at the University of Miami involved assisting families in homeless shelters through the HOPE (Helping Others through Pro Bono Efforts) Public Resource Center.
"Natasha was a dynamic and extraordinary person who followed her passion for public service in a complete and selfless way," said Marni Lennon assistant dean for Public Interest and Pro Bono. "Her loss is tragic and felt deeply by all who had the privilege of knowing her. She will be greatly missed."
Natasha also participated in the Children & Youth Law Clinic, where she represented foster and former foster kids.
"Natasha was a ray of sunshine in the classroom," said Clinic Director and Professor Kele Stewart, who worked closely with Natasha. Stewart remembers Natasha's positive energy and how deeply she cared about her clients. "In the clinic, when other students were frustrated at some challenge in dealing with clients, Natasha would inevitably remind us to see things from the client's perspective. Her compassion shined through no matter who she was interacting with – clients, classmates, faculty or staff."
Evian White, an attorney who interned with Natasha at the Children & Youth Law Clinic, remembers her fondly. "She really left an impact with so many of her clients," said White. "Her work ethic, her mindset, her passion to help the children was incredible. It's a huge void. It's such a loss for the law school and for everybody."
Natasha is survived by her mother Kenniss Henry, grandmother Corrine, and Bill, an 11-year-old, three-legged Chocolate Labrador Natasha had rescued.
The family plans to hold a memorial vigil at 6 p.m. Friday, at the accident site along Route 202 near the intersection with Campus Way, in Largo, Md. Funeral services will be private.