Paly and Stanford graduates killed in dive boat fire

BY SARA TABIN
Daily Post Staff Writer

Graduates of Palo Alto High School and Stanford were among the 34 people who died in a dive boat fire off the coast of Southern California on Monday.

Carrie McLaughlin, 35, grew up in Palo Alto and graduated from Palo Alto High School in 2001.

She had a “lovely laugh” and was “deeply loved,” said Clara Pavone, a peer from McLaughlin’s burning man community. After high school, McLaughlin studied computing and the arts at UC-San Diego. She was living in Oakland and was a senior software engineer at Brilliant, a science and technology educational platform. She was aboard the Conception with her colleague Kristian Takvam when tragedy struck.

“Carrie and Kristian were incredible friends and colleagues who brought immense passion, talent, leadership, and warmth, and they will be missed dearly,” Brilliant chief executive Sue Khim said in a statement to the Associated Press.

McLaughlin was also a watercolor artist who liked painting octopuses and figures bound with rope. She displayed photos of her work and blogged about her techniques online.

She donated to the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services in Texas and expressed support on Facebook for Native American tribes protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline.

A photonics expert

Sunil Singh Sandhu, 46, received a master’s in electrical engineering in 2003 and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering in 2011 from Stanford. Sandhu studied Japanese, Mandarin and Russian while at Stanford and helped teach a course about nanophotonics — how light behaves on a microscopic scale, according to his LinkedIn account.

He was working as a photonics senior scientist at Pointcloud Inc. in San Francisco when he died.

He had donated to the American Civil Liberties Union and signed a petition calling for Stanford to reform its sexual violence resources and policies, according to his Facebook profile.

Sandhu was originally from Singapore. His father, Sokit Singh, told Singapore’s The New Paper that he had never worried about his son because his son had no bad habits.

“My mind went blank,” said Sokit Singh. “I thought this was a hoax. My whole life is gone. I can never find another boy like him.”

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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