Light & Verity

Senior dies in lathe accident



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A Yale College senior died of asphyxiation on April 12 after her hair got caught in a lathe in a campus machine shop. Michele Dufault ’11, an astronomy and physics major from Scituate, Massachusetts, was working late on her senior project when the accident occurred in Sterling Chemistry Laboratory.

After the accident, the university limited student access to power equipment while safety policies are being reviewed. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is investigating whether health or safety rules were broken.

In an April 14 Yale Daily News essay, Yale College dean Mary Miller ’81PhD—until recently master of Dufault’s college, Saybrook—remembered her as “vibrant and compelling,” whether as a scientist studying dark matter, a mentor for girls interested in science, or a saxophonist in the Yale Precision Marching Band. “Yale has lost a shining star,” she wrote. “The universe has lost a rising one.”   

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