Remembering Amelia Perry
Amelia Perry G died Jan. 30 at hir home in Somerville. A fifth year PhD student in mathematics, Perry is well remembered by many for hir charm, wit, and passion to fight against injustice.
Born Oct. 3, 1991, Perry was raised in Manchester, England, and Concord, Mass. In high school, Perry attended the Program in Mathematics for Young Scientists (PROMYS) through Boston University, eventually becoming the head counselor.
Perry studied mathematics at the University of Oxford as an undergraduate. At Oxford and MIT, Perry researched a broad range of topics in applied mathematics, including machine learning, statistical physics, and data science; zie recently made headway in using algorithms alongside cryo-electron microscopy.
A brilliant musician, Perry played guitar, violin, numerous other stringed instruments, and arranged music for the orchestra and singing ensemble at Oxford.
David Rolnick G, a fifth year PhD student in mathematics and previously an undergraduate at MIT, met Perry within his first few weeks of graduate school.
“Amelia was outstandingly charismatic. You really clicked with her instantly. ... If you met her you remembered her,” Rodnick said in a phone call with The Tech.
“There were so many things she was interested in, … so many things she was good at seemingly without trying,” Rodnick continued. “I was talking to Amelia one day about how impressed I was at throat singers who can sing two notes at once. And Amelia just started singing, and I realized she was singing three musical lines together. It was a Bach double concerto for two violins — two violin parts and also the orchestral part, simultaneously, from memory. I still have no idea how she did it.”
Perry identified as transgender and was a fierce advocate for mental health and transgender rights. In an email sent out to the LGBTQ community, Assistant Dean of LGBTQ Services Abigail Francis and Assistant Director of LGBTQ Services Julio Oyola wrote, “[Perry’s] resilience and impassioned activism amidst various obstacles has contributed to significant strides in awareness, education, and inclusion for trans and queer students in hir time at MIT.”
“We mourn the tragic loss of a brilliant mind, a brave soul, and a friend to many," Professor David Mindell wrote in an email to The Tech. Mindell is the head of Edgerton House, the dormitory Perry lived in.
Perry is survived by hir partners Daria Phoebe Brashear, Rox Sayde, and Georgia Squyres, hir parents Alan and Catherine Perry, hir sisters Nicola and Caroline, and hir cats Nip and Tuck.
A service will be held on Feb. 24, with location and time yet to be determined.
Those in the MIT Community seeking support and comfort could choose to use the following services: MIT Mental Health and Counseling (617-253-2916), Student Support Services (617-253-4861), Graduate Personal Support (617-253-4860), and LGBTQ Services.
Editor’s note: This article uses both the female “she, her” pronouns and the gender neutral “zie, hir” pronouns. Perry identified as both transgender and non-binary.