RIC students mourn English professor

Nicole Gerber

ngerber@abc6.com

@nicolegerber

PROVIDENCE – Flags fly at half staff on the Rhode Island College campus, in honor of 43 year old English professor Jennifer Cook, who was struck and killed by a pickup truck Friday while walking in Syracuse, New York.

Her classes taught the power of words.

It's where her former students Amanda, Jennifer, and Kayla,met for the first time… and now they're coming together to create a permanent memoryof her message.

“Writing is a huge part of… Jennifer cook,” said former student Jennifer Tomich. “And I thoughtit would be cool to ask who Jennifer Cook is? To other people who know her, havehad her as a teacher.”

They plan on turning the compilation of memories into a bookfor Cook's wife, who also teaches at RIC. They're expecting many submissions from all the different types of people Cook inspired duringher 10 years at the college.

“Jennifer not only taught writing, she taught teachers how toteach writing,” said Laura Hart, Director of Communications at the college. “I think the community at large is just really in shock.Jennifer was vital. So much energy, such a talent. We are really devastated.”

The staff has provided grief councilors forany faculty or students who may need help coping.

 But many will take Cook's own advice to help them throughthis difficult time.

“I did a project in the spring where I asked people if theywere a writer and why they wrote, and [Cook's] answer was 'I write to heal.'” said former student Kayla Sawyer.

To contribute to the Who Is Jennifer Cook? project, send submissions to any of the following: JNTomich@gmail.com, AHart420@gmail.com, KSawyer.429@gmail.com.

(c) WLNE-TV 2014