The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Remembering a fallen SMU student

Members of the SMU community mourn as they remember a former student who left an indelible impression on those who had the opportunity to know her.

Ashley Parra died Feb. 27 when an 18-wheeler fell off the Woodall Rodgers Freeway ramp onto her car as she was driving to work on Continental Avenue. Authorities believe the 18-wheeler’s heavy metal pipe load may have shifted and caused the vehicle to flip off the ramp, causing the accident.

Ashley had spent the last two years studying at SMU before transferring to the University of North Texas this past fall. While at SMU, she became involved in a number of activities.

She joined Alpha Psi Lambda, the co-ed Latino interest fraternity, where she served as associate member educator, rush chair and social chair. She also became an active member of CHAS, the College Hispanic American Students.

She participated in the SMU Equestrian team, which, according to her family and friends, came from her love of riding horses. She also served as an Inter-Community Experience tutor and Connect mentor.

It should not come as a surprise that she served as a mentor and tutor, according to those who knew her, because service was an integral part of her. She was studying to become a teacher at UNT.

“We tutored children at the ICE house together,” senior and sorority sister Kym Gonzalez said. “She cared so much about them. That’s why she wanted to become a teacher, out of her love for others.”

Senior and Alpha Psi Lambda member Yuritza Vargas describes Ashley Parra as someone always there for her friends.

“It didn’t matter what time of day it was, you could always call her for help,” Vargas said. “You could go to her for advice and she always had the right words to cheer you up.”

Ashley’s friends also remember her fighting spirit. Senior and fraternity brother Fernando Ortiz remembers her for, among other great qualities, her ability to smile despite hardships endured.

“She always had a huge smile on her face despite any obstacle she faced, even cancer,” he said. “She had a determination to overcome anything.”

Ashley Parra earned the nickname Chispa, Spanish for spark, as a result of her ability to light up a room with her personality. Valdemar Hernandez Jr., a friend from the University of Texas, explains how she lived up to that name.

“She could brighten up your day by talking with her,” Hernandez said. “Her personality would cause you to smile; she had that special aura.”

Along with her memories, Ashley Parra also leaves members of the SMU community with lessons as a result of how she lived her life. Kym Gonzalez said, “Her lessons have definitely changed my life.You have to live life to the fullest; her fighting spirit pushes me forward,” she said.

Many of these people recall her bright smile and her amazing personality. “She’s imprinted something in all our hearts, something that will keep her memory alive,” fraternity brother Sergio Martinez said.

Ashley Parra’s memorial service was held at SMU in Perkins Chapel on Monday evening. The Ashley Parra Memorial Fund has been created to support Ashley’s family during this difficult time. Anyone interested in donating should contact Joel Vasquez at [email protected].

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