Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hopkins Grad Student Killed In Iraq

A sad email from Johns Hopkins President William Brody arrived this morning:
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

We learned late today of the tragic death of one of our own in Iraq.

Nicole Suveges, a graduate student in political science who was working
in Iraq as a civilian, was among four Americans killed an explosion
Tuesday in the offices of the district council in the critical Sadr City
section of Baghdad.

Two U.S. soldiers, a State Department employee, an Italian translator
working for the Defense Department, and six Iraqis also were killed,
according to news reports.

Nicole was in Iraq as a political scientist working in the Army’s
Human Terrain System program, advising the 3rd Brigade Combat Team of
the 4th Infantry Division. A statement from BAE Systems, the company
that employed her, said she helped Army leaders working to reduce
violence in the community and rebuild local infrastructure. Her
intelligence and savvy, combined with her experience as an Army
reservist serving in Bosnia in the 1990s, reportedly made her especially
effective in her work to improve the lives of everyday Iraqis.

I am told that Nicole also was using this second tour in Iraq -- she
had previously served there as a civilian contractor several years ago
-- to complete field research for her planned dissertation. She was
exploring the process of transition from an authoritarian regime to
democracy. She was investigating especially what that process means for
and how it affects ordinary citizens.

Members of the Political Science Department describe Nicole as an
extraordinarily bright, engaging, kind person, intellectually curious
and outgoing. She also was known as an active citizen of the department,
regularly attending seminars and helping to organize graduate student
activities. As a former Reserve soldier herself and as a person in her
mid-30s, she brought a different and valuable perspective to the
intellectual life of the department.

Nicole was committed to using her learning and experience to make the
world a better place, especially for people who have suffered through
war and conflict. In that, she exemplifies all that we seek to do at
Johns Hopkins: to use knowledge for the good of humanity.

This is the third time in a little over a year that we have learned of
the death in Iraq of a young member of the Johns Hopkins community. Last
year, Lt. Colby Umbrell ’04 and Capt. Jonathan Grassbaugh ’03, both
of the U.S. Army, were killed in action there. Their deaths and
Nicole’s diminish us all. But their lives -- lives devoted to
service to others -- honor us and our university. We are better for
their having been among us.

Wendy and I join all of you in offering our deepest sympathy to
Nicole’s husband, to her family, to her colleagues and to her


Bill Brody