(ABC4) — After learning that their friend and colleague lost her battle to cancer, members of the scientific community across the U.S. are working to ensure her legacy lives on for decades to come.
Sarah Crump is remembered by her friend Dr. Billy Armstrong. “She is an endless source of fun and optimism,” he told ABC4.
The two went to college together at the University of Colorado, where they completed their post-graduate studies. The two became close friends during that time. Crump even officiated Armstrong’s wedding.
Armstrong told ABC4 that Crump was one of the most adventurous people ever. This desire to explore heavily influenced her passion for science. “I’ve really looked up to her,” Armstrong stated. “As a scientist, she’s one of the most creative, passionate, seemingly never tiring scientists.”
That energy led her to do an extensive study on the DNA found in ancient mud. A former professor of hers told ABC4 this study is published in a world-renowned journal. Her findings outline patterns of climate change from eras past and help us better understand what climate change could look like in the future.
This work caught the eyes of the University of Utah.
“She’s been valued by us,” Dr. Bill Johnson said. Johnson is the chair of the Department of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Utah.
In July, she started a new job with the university as an assistant professor. This was just three months after being diagnosed with cancer. “We were thrilled to see her ride her bike into campus in the midst of her treatments and start preparing her office and interacting with us,” Johnson stated.
After multiple different treatments, doctors told Crump that her cancer was terminal.
Even then, “she was just constantly a positive source out there,” Dr. Gifford Miller told ABC4. Miller is the director of the Center for Geochemical Analysis of the Global Environment at the University of Colorado Boulder. He was Crump’s advisor during her time at the school. He said she was always positive, outgoing, and willing to do way more than asked. He said she mastered everything she set out to do.
She kept that attitude during her battle against cancer. Instead of turning inward, she turned outward. She reached out to friends, family, colleagues and former advisors in hopes of starting a fellowship at the University of Colorado. Gifford explained that her idea was to help “women and other underrepresented groups in STEM and sciences, studying earth sciences.”
The fellowship still needs funding, but those involved are positive they will make their goals. “It really helped her a great deal as she was, you know, recognizing her end was close by,” Miller said.
Johnson stated: “And we will, as a department, will be throwing our weight behind that to contribute what we can to honor her.”
“She’s already done so much in a time in which most people are really just getting off the ground, but she has just rocketed in a way that is just so inspiring,” Armstrong said.
Crump openly shared her battle against cancer on her Twitter account. Her positive messaging and obvious love for all things science led to her post gaining the attention of tens of thousands of people. Just another way she spread positivity.