Aishwarya Thatikonda, a project manager at Perfect General Contractors LLC, in Frisco, Texas, who had begun a highly promising civil engineering career, has died at 26.

Thatikonda, who came to the United States from India to earn a master’s degree at Eastern Michigan University in 2020, was one of eight victims of a mass shooting at an outlet mall in Allen, Texas, near Dallas, on May 6.

She already was carving out a reputation for hard work. Family-owned Perfect General was so impressed that owner Srinivas Chaluvadi was preparing to name her CEO in the next few months. He told a Dallas TV station how much Thatikonda meant to them, saying how laser-focused she was on growing the company, with character at every step.

She became an ASCE member while at Eastern Michigan. Stuti Goel and other Indian students there felt waves of heartbreak and disbelief when news broke that the lively alumna was killed. On the minds of many also was a mass shooting at the university in February.

“It did hit hard,” Goel said. “[It had me] thinking about home and why we’re here.” She was among other international students and university officials who gathered for a remembrance ceremony at EMU’s Ypsilanti campus.

Thatikonda was known as extremely dedicated and detail-oriented, said Esther Gunel, director of EMU’s international students office. Gunel’s work helped Thatikonda receive the work authorization and extensions she needed to join Perfect General.

Thatikonda was born and raised in Hyderabad, India, where her father is an Indian district court judge.