Payal Sakhare, a Gabelli School of Business graduate student who was dedicated to service, sustainability and creating a better world for others, died Nov. 6 after a battle with cancer. She was 28 years old.

Sakhare, a native of Khopoli, India, had enrolled in the Master of Science in Global Finance program in the fall of 2021 and was on track to graduate in 2023. She had dreamed of living and studying in New York, said her sister, Nikita Craven, who lives in the UK She described her sister as a thoughtful, insightful and reflective person, a loving person who made others feel better just by her presence.

“She was just an amazing human being,” Nikita Craven said. “Everywhere she went, people loved her. She was very kind and cared a lot about people.

Sakhare graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 2015 from Symbiosis College of Arts and Commerce in Pune, India. In 2018, she obtained a master’s degree from the Welingkar Institute of Management in Mumbai, India, where she received an Achiever’s Award for her outstanding performance and contribution to the institution. When choosing a graduate school, she chose Fordham in part because of its small class sizes and the more personal attention they offer, Craven said.

Since 2016, she had held jobs and internships in the shipping, management services and energy industries, according to her LinkedIn profile. She was a business associate of the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation; a tax solutions consultant at Karvy Data Management Services in Mumbai; and a summer intern with Seasky, a shipping company in Mumbai.

From January to June this year, she served as Research and Development Specialist at Peterson Projects and Solutions in Malaysia, working to advance its environmental, social and governance (ESG) priorities.

For the past several years, she has volunteered with Lions Club International, supporting projects in India that have advanced health care and environmental protection and addressed the needs of children. Since February 2021, she was a junior board member of Net Impact, an international non-profit organization working to build a fairer and more sustainable world.

Sakhare loved traveling and learning about new cultures, and stayed with a family in Russia a few years ago as part of an exchange program, Nikita Craven said. Sakhare was creative and artistic and wrote poems and articles that she published online, she noted. She said that over the past few years, since her first battle with cancer – breast cancer – in 2018, her sister had started to turn away from her business-related career ambitions and talked about living in an ashram and to pursue a life of spirituality and service.

One of Sakhare’s friends and fellow Fordham student, Sarah Hilary Dias, said she was “a brilliant soul, always laughing and eager to help everyone” and “a strong supporter” of sustainability. Another friend, Juhi Paranjape, described her as fun-loving, bright, caring and adventurous, “always up for exploring new places, cuisine, activities”.

“One of the qualities I admired most about her was her ability to face any problem that came up with a smile,” said Paranjape, also one of Sakhare’s students at Fordham.

Sakhare died at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital in Mumbai. “Even in the hospital, the doctors said, ‘You are one of the best patients I’ve ever seen,'” Nikita Craven said.

Asked about the possibility of making donations in her sister’s memory, she said her sister might have suggested donating to a cancer-related charity. “I think…she would like that, if it helps someone else in need,” Craven said.

Payal Sakhare’s other survivors include his father, Uday Sakhare; his mother, Poonam Sakhare; and his brother-in-law, Jack Craven. A funeral and cremation immediately followed his death, and there were 13 days of observance in accordance with Hindu tradition, Craven said.

“I’m sure everyone will miss her,” Nikita Craven said. “It’s our loss, but it’s also his gain, in a way. She no longer suffers. That is what matters.”

Payal Sakhare’s family has published a book in his memory which includes his poetry and photographs from his life.