Jade Diaz at Stony Brook University’s commencement ceremony in May 2019. The late graduate earned a bachelors degree in psychology from Stony Brook. COURTESY OF ANA MARIA ARIAS

Jade Idalis Diaz, loving friend and recent Stony Brook University graduate, died at the age of 22 on June 18. Jade’s family wished to keep the cause of death private.

Diaz was born on April 4, 1997 in Manhattan, N.Y. to Ana Maria Arias and Juan Pablo Diaz. She was Dominican and Puerto Rican, and came from a family of six siblings. She received her psychology degree from SBU in May 2019, after attending the High School of Fashion Industries and Mott Hall Middle School. 

“What I’m most proud of is the way that she pushed herself to complete her degree,” her mother said. “That’s my proudest moment because it was all hers.” 

She was passionate about understanding the way people’s minds work, according to long time friend and Stony Brook graduate, Noelia Abreu. Diaz loved to compare what she learned in her psychology classes to reality, and to connect people’s motivations with their actions. 

“She was an extreme realist and did not believe in ‘what ifs’ because she lived in that exact moment,” Abreu said. “This is why I know she would’ve been the best psychologist one could ask for.”

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During her time at Stony Brook, Diaz “took pride” in her work as an event coordinator for the Latin American Student Organization (LASO), Abreu said.

Diaz organized the annual Café Con LASO in 2017 and 2018, and the club’s first Universal Beauty Pageant in 2019. Diaz was also a member of the Transfer Advisory Board (TAB), where she used her own experience transferring from Hunter College during her sophomore year to offer counsel to other transfer students. 

Diaz’s friends knew her for her loyalty, honesty, beauty, infectious smile and kind spirit, Abreu added. In pictures featuring Diaz, she was usually smiling. Even growing up, Diaz was the same friendly and spunky person as a child as she was in her adult life, her mother said. According to Abreu,  Jade would often say “aowwwww,” “gang, gang, gang” and “make it make sense,” showing the friendliness and spunkiness she had. 

Friends also knew Diaz for her positive attitude and mindset. 

“I know people have bad days and end up having a bad attitude, but Jade never had bad days,” Eileen Escobedo, a sophomore health sciences major and former e-board member of LASO, said. 

Her smile always brightened the room, Hazel Herrera, a close friend, said. 

“Jade literally is one of the few friends that I can say made a huge impact on my life in the most positive way ever,” Herrera added.

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According to Abreu, with Diaz’s caring and loving spirit, she would often spend her time involved in acts of community service along with her best friends: Aurelina Reyes, Yamilex Taveras and Abreu. 

In addition to her studies and extracurriculars, Jade was a part of the marketing team and the students personnel team at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center from 2018 to 2019. 

Durron Newman, her supervisor at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center, said that Jade was an amazing young lady to work with and was always willing to help out everywhere she could.

“Having her as a part of our Operations Team was a great pleasure,” he said. 

Abreu shared that Jade had planned to take a short break after her graduation in May before going back to school for a Master’s degree in psychology. Her goal was to open her own psychology practice,  possibly focusing on marriage counseling. Eventually, she planned to have two children and dogs ⁠— her favorite animal.

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