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Crash victim remembered as 'larger than life'

Crash victim remembered as 'larger...

MOSCOW, Idaho - The woman killed in an early morning crash on highway 195 in Whitman County was a 21-year-old student at the University of Idaho.

Mamta Kandel was a sociology major known for her generosity and larger-than-life passion.

At under five feet, what Mamta lacked in height she made up for in heart.

“She is kind and warm. She's a small physical presence and a huge emotional presence. A huge presence just in general,” said Mary Ellen Brewick.

Brewick works in U of I's International Program. She said Kandel was deeply involved in the student community, even working as a resident assistant.

“She was active in her own sense but she was also amazing at engaging other people and getting them excited about a cause and do something for someone else,” Brewick said.

Kandel was also committed to promoting social justice.

“She was involved in raising awareness about sex trafficking and looking into... in conjunction with faculty, going back next summer to raise awareness and education on those issues too,” said Dean of Students Dr. Blaine Eckles.

Kandel grew up in Nepal, where her family still lives.

She had planned to take some U of I students on a winter break service trip there, to help those still struggling after last year's massive earthquake.

“She's exactly who want going out into this world to change this world. She saw global issues and worked actively, locally to try to address those,” Eckles said.

She and three other Nepalese students were on their way to Spokane to prepare for that trip when their car swerved, colliding with two other vehicles and killing Kandel.

“I think people are sad and in shock and heartbroken, but I also think people are inspired to live their very best lives because of the way that Mamta lived,” Brewick said.

The university says it is working on finding a way to honor Kandel's life, as she exemplified what it means to be an Idaho Vandal.