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BC plans memorial to honor bicyclist

Rider, 28, was fatally injured Friday night

By all accounts, Kelsey Rennebohm would have made a terrific counselor.

Sensitive and thoughtful, the 28-year-old was a consummate thinker who relished the deep, difficult questions that her career in psychology promised.

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“She was a delightfully understated young woman,” said Dr. M. Brinton Lykes, professor of community and cultural psychology at the Lynch School of Education at Boston College, who advised the budding mental health professional. “And I know from other members of our faculty who taught her, they, too, deeply appreciated her intellectual strengths and contributions.”

Rennebohm, riding her bicycle on Huntington Avenue Friday night about 10:30, was involved in an accident that left her fatally injured.

On Sunday, Lykes and others spoke highly of Rennebohm’s work with urban-area youths, her teaching of Spanish to middle-schoolers in Harlem, and tutoring of Hispanic immigrants about their constitutional rights.

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In memory of the outdoorsy young woman from Washington state, the tight-knit community of psychology students have planned a memorial gathering.

“There will obviously be a lot of emotion and we ask that we be given some space to grieve together,” the students wrote.

The walk is planned to end at the McElroy Commons dining hall, where the planners said people who knew Kelsey are invited to write cards of support and condolence to her family.

“Rennebohm was a gifted student and an experienced teacher who worked to provide high-quality instruction and support services for all children,” Boston College said in a statement Saturday.

So far, few details have been released about the circumstances of her death, but officials are investigating the possible involvement of a Route 39 MBTA bus, authorities have said.

The accident occurred at 10:25 p.m. at the intersection of Forsyth Street and Huntington Avenue, according to Transit and Boston Police, who are conducting a joint investigation.

Officer Nicole Grant, a Boston police spokeswoman, said Sunday that no charges have been brought.

MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said on Saturday that police have questioned the 45-year-old bus driver, but he declined to identify him. The driver has been with the MBTA nearly six years and has a good record, Pesaturo said.

Originally from Seattle, Rennebohm was a 2006 graduate of Barnard College in Manhattan. Before attending graduate school, she worked for two years teaching Spanish to seventh- and eighth-graders at a Harlem school, according to the college and an online resume.

The daughter of two mental health professionals, Rennebohm followed in her parents’ footsteps and had a bright future, Lykes said by phone.

“The last really lengthy conversation we had together was [about her] going directly into the counseling field, or going for a PhD,” she said. “She really did have a lot of options ahead of her.”

The two were prepared to travel to Guatemala together this July, the culmination of research after her first year in the two-year master’s program.

Matt Byrne can be reached at mbyrne.globe@gmail.com.
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