Campus community mourns loss of caring, kind student Rachael Christianson

Psychology major senior Rachael Christianson passed away on Feb. 10, according to an email from President Denise Battles to the college community on Feb. 13. Battles writes that Rachael’s “academic record reflected a breadth of interest in several fields, including the math cluster she took along with her psychology major.”

History and adolescent education major senior Juliana Thompson, a longtime friend and roommate of Rachael’s, emphasized how Christianson’s passing is not a full ending. 

“I will miss our world, our laughing at weird things and our late-night musings about humans and their minds,” Thompson said. “The world I shared with her is not ended. I’m going to keep it in my heart.” 

Thompson went on to illuminate her first moments with Rachael, and how their friendship developed. 

“As I got to be a close friend and became her roommate, our friendship became a wild adventure,” Thompson said. “She had a loud and joyful laugh, but what was most important is that she loved to laugh at the strangest, silliest things.”

Thompson also explained Rachael’s love for psychology.

“She had an empathy that not many other people I know had,” Thompson said. “Psychology was the perfect major for her because she seemed to know what people were feeling before they even said it.  She cared so much for others, including strangers and especially anyone struggling.”

Rachael was an active member of the Geneseo InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, an inter-denominational organization devoted to constructing a faith-based community on campus through meetings, retreats and various events. Thompson and Spanish major senior Stephanie Podguski became friends with Rachael through their time at IVCF functions. 

“I knew Rachael since I started school here at Geneseo,” Podguski said. “She was the lovely person that came up to me when I didn’t know anybody. There were so many new people, and yet she stood out as so bubbly.”

Podguski went on to describe Rachael’s distinctive laugh. 

“It was adorable and loud,” Podguski said. “There were so many moments that she was goofy, but also so many where she was so supportive.”

Thompson also underscored how Rachael’s laughter would light up a room. 

“She had a loud and joyful laugh, but what was most important is that she loved to laugh at the strangest, silliest things,” Thompson said. “She would just be reading or watching a movie and burst out laughing and I quickly learned we shared a similar sense of humor.” 

The Christ Community Church in Geneseo will hold a visitation on March 1 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The church will also hold a memorial service from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. directly following the visiting hours.

“It sounds so corny to say that no other word describes Rachael than ‘Rachael,’ but it’s true,” Podguski said. “She was the cutest, most fun, bubbly girl who was always there for those around her.” 

In her Feb. 13 email to the student body, Battles also noted that the Lauderdale Health & Counseling Center could provide resources for those who are in the midst of their grieving process.