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DENVER (KDVR) — Sarah Steck was more than a victim in Monday’s deadly shootings. She was an artist and aspiring designer who just graduated from the Metropolitan State University of Denver.

“It’s really crushing. It’s heartbreaking for someone that you know who died in a tragic, violent altercation,” Peter Bergman, with the department of art at MSU Denver, said.

Bergman was Steck’s academic advisor when she studied there.

“I knew she had been working at the hotel, all the way since the summer of 2020,” Bergman said.

It was at a hotel where Steck’s life ended on Monday in a shooting spree, and four others were killed as well.

Steck’s life was much more than how it ended to the people who helped her on her path to an education.

“She was just really excited to finish school and graduate. It was a huge accomplishment for her,” Bergman said.

MSU Denver provided a statement about her loss, which read in part:

“She was a beloved member of our department,” adding that faculty described her as “a super hip lady who loved punk rock, was sweet and had a strength of character.”

“The last two years have been very challenging for a lot of students, and she was able to persevere through that,” Bergman said.

Bergman added it was her perseverance that defined who she was, which was reflected in her daily schedule.

“She was working at night to get through college. That was a huge accomplishment and I think that’s a legacy for her,” Bergman said.

It’s Sarah’s artwork, Bergman said, that should be the lasting images of this aspiring artist.

“Sarah would want people to look at her creative work,” Bergman said.

GoFundMe has been set up by a close friend to help Sarah’s family. Another family friend is hosting a fundraiser on Jan. 8 in Lakewood.