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Graduate student Kaitlin Goldstein dies in India

Fourth-year student in architecture had been missing since a morning run on June 14.
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In an email today to the MIT community, President L. Rafael Reif shared the news that graduate student Kaitlin R. Goldstein has died in a remote region of northern India known as Ladakh.

Goldstein, 28, was a fourth-year graduate student in architecture, and in MIT’s Building Technology Program. Her body was found yesterday in a ravine below a trail where she had gone for a morning run on June 14. Her parents, who traveled to India to assist in the investigation, report that she slipped while running on loose rock, sliding several hundred feet off a cliff.

“As Kate’s family and friends bear this sorrow, we offer them the sympathy and support of the MIT community,” Reif wrote in his email. “The death of someone so young and promising is a terrible loss; we should all take time to reach out to those around us.”

Goldstein had arrived at the campus of the Students’ Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL) on June 7. SECMOL is located near Leh, India, in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

At SECMOL, Goldstein spent the week of June 8-14 participating in a workshop on energy and development. The workshop was jointly organized by the MIT-affiliated Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi. She was scheduled to stay and install solar panels for an off-grid electrical installation at a nearby Buddhist monastery. 

A competitive runner, Goldstein was last seen going for a morning run up a mountain trail at around 6 a.m. local time on Saturday, June 14. When she did not return from her run, a group of SECMOL students and instructors began a search of the summit around 8:45 a.m.

The Jammu and Kashmir police joined the effort that afternoon; the investigation subsequently grew to include the Intelligence Bureau of India, the American Embassy in New Delhi, the Bureau of Consular Affairs at the U.S. State Department, the FBI, and others. MIT retained a private security firm, based in Mumbai, to assist Goldstein’s family and MIT with the investigation.

The Institute’s full range of student support and mental health services — accessible via together.mit.edu — is available to all members of the MIT community. Judith McGuire Robinson, MIT’s associate dean for student outreach and support, says students can also turn to summer staff in dorms and Fraternities, Sororities, and Independent Living Groups (FSILGs), and to faculty advisors. Affected graduate students may contact the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education at 617-253-4860.

All members of the MIT community who feel affected by this death are encouraged to contact Mental Health Services at 617-253-2916.

The News Office will update this story as more information becomes available.

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