Memorial service held in Physics for “sorely missed” James student

A memorial service was held last Friday for Leyah Karodia, a fourth-year Physicist, who passed away in early April after an episode of illness.

Leyah, a member of James College, who had struggled with Sickle Cell Anaemia for many years, was a dedicated member of the Physics Department, producing work of a publishable standard.

While she appeared quiet and unassuming to the outside world, she was a “force of personality” to those who knew her. Friday’s event, which was held to celebrate Leyah’s life, was hosted by the Physics Department and was well attended by family, friends and colleagues.

Leyah’s boyfriend, Joe Wilson, who led the service, described her as having a courageous and determined approach to embracing life at York, despite facing a number of challenges along the way, saying how she “never ever allowed the disease to get in the way. If she wanted to do something, she was going to do it.”

Dr Kieran Gibson, Leyah’s project supervisor, who presented her MPhys Project on temperature changes in plasma at the service, described her as “someone with a real talent, real determination,” and who had a bright future ahead of her.

Leyah’s field of study for her project had only previously been researched by postgraduates at York.After Gibson’s presentation and an introduction by the Head of the Department, the floor was opened up for people to share their memories of Leyah.

Mathilde Hazenberg, a fellow Physicist who had known Leyah since school when they had studied GCSE Chemistry together, said: “She was the funniest, kindest person I’ve ever seen”. She added how Leyah never failed to bring popcorn to every Physics girls’ night.

Friends and family remembered her for her sparkling personality and quirky taste in literature, films and clothes as well as her questionable colour schemes for Physics graphs.

“She had a wicked, biting sense of humour, and could sum up a whole situation in a sentence,” Bob Hughes, a former housemate and YUSU Welfare Officer, said.

Describing the service, Hughes added: “It was so nice it was such a positive celebration of her life, bringing everyone together – she’ll be sorely missed, it’s a great way to end on a high by celebrating everything she loved.”

The Physics Department are currently making provisions for instigating a book prize in Leyah’s memory.

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