Northwestern Student Found Dead in Rogers Park Apartment

Courtesy of Tony WebsterA Northwestern doctoral student in the art history department was found dead in her apartment Jan. 29.

A Northwestern University graduate student was found dead in her Rogers Park apartment Jan. 29, according to the university.

The 36-year-old woman was discovered in her apartment on the 1100 block of West Farwell Avenue at 11:07 p.m., Chicago Police Department news affairs officer Norma Pelayo said. She was declared dead on the scene, according to Pelayo.

The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office said the cause of death hasn’t been determined yet and toxicology tests are pending, according to Communications Director Natalia Derevyanny.

A statement from Northwestern University identified the woman as Alexandra “Sasha” Novozhenova. Her death isn’t suspected as a murder, according to the statement.

Novozhenova was a third-year doctoral student in Northwestern’s Art History department and specialized in Soviet-era artwork, the statement said. 

“It is a great loss to the University — and to the scholarly community in Soviet art — that we will no longer benefit from Sasha’s contributions,” the statement said.

Novozhenova was described in the statement as “a fierce presence and sharp intellect.”

Christina Kiaer, an associate professor and director of graduate studies in Northwestern’s art history department said she met Sasha at a seminar in Moscow in 2015. There, Sasha expressed interest in applying for a Ph.D. at Northwestern, Kiaer said.

Kiaer said she advocated for her admission and said Novozhenova’s presence in class was marked with brilliance and kindness. 

“In the seminars I taught, she was just really really generous with helping people translate things from Russian,” she said. “I had students in my seminar who didn’t know Russian but who were trying to do research papers. It was just really touching how willing she was to just sit down with people and translate things for them.”

Novezhenova’s death also struck a chord in Russia’s arts and culture community. She was well-known as an author and art historian in Russia, and scholars are planning a memorial for her in Moscow, Kiaer said. 

 This isn’t the first Northwestern student to die in Rogers Park recently.

Last September, a Northwestern University student died in Rogers Park after being shot, and $12,000 is offered for anyone with information leading to an arrest.

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