In her freshman year at Binghamton University, Haley Anderson of Westbury went for a medical procedure and it changed the direction of her life, her mother recalled.
She began talking to the nurses at the facility and was “having a great time,” said her mother, Karen, 55. “I told her she’d make an awesome nurse and she said, ‘I was thinking the same thing.’”
Haley Anderson, 22, had recently been offered a tentative position with the emergency room at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, after doing an eight-week externship there. But she was found slain Friday in her off-campus apartment in Binghamton’s Decker School of Nursing.
“Everybody’s just devastated,” Eileen Kennedy, staff educator for the main operating room at the hospital, said of those involved in Anderson’s externship. “She was a pleasure to work with. She was a vibrant young woman — full of life — who was eager to learn and was very engaged in the cases she had seen.”
Kennedy added, “I saw her in January at another event and she was looking forward to graduating and working at Northwell.”
Anderson switched to nursing after initially aiming to become a math teacher or guidance counselor, her mother, also of Westbury, recalled in an interview Wednesday. Her daughter, who became passionate about nursing, was to graduate in May and would have started her career in June.
She had received “an intent to hire letter,” said Kennedy, who worked with Anderson, adding the emergency room job was Anderson’s “as long as she completed her course work, graduated and passed her nursing board.”
A fellow nursing student — Orlando Tercero, also 22 — has been arrested in connection with her killing, Nicaraguan police officials have said.
Police said the two had had a “previous domestic/romantic relationship” and authorities are now fighting to have him extradited back to this country after police said he went to Nicaragua before Anderson’s body was discovered.
Karen Anderson said she had met Tercero but she declined to comment further about him.
Karen Anderson, 55, who said she has been divorced from Haley’s father, Gordon Anderson, for about 10 years, said her daughter was very involved in activities at W.T. Clarke High School in Westbury.
“In high school she played in the band, played lacrosse, ran track and played field hockey,” Anderson said. “She was in all the honor societies and joined the hula hoop club in her freshman year. She enjoyed skiing, loved the beach and game night, which we always did as a family. Last Wednesday night she was having a game night in her apartment with her friends.”
Haley Anderson also worked at Ralph’s Famous Italian Ice store on Carman Avenue in Westbury from 14 years old until last summer, her mother added, and she had worked at Jazzmans Brew & Bakery on the Binghamton campus.
A close friend, Joanie Heney, 21, of Bayville, said through tears that Haley Anderson was her “soul mate” and that along with Haley Anderson’s sister, Madeline, 20, and Joanie’s sister, Melanie, 19, they were like the Four Musketeers.
Heney, a business major set to get her degree from SUNY Albany in May, said she and Haley Anderson were looking forward to graduating at the same time.
“We had been together since we were born,” Heney said. “Our mothers were college roommates at Ithaca. She was my best friend and soul mate.” Heney added, “She was smart and beautiful and happy all the time . . . I can’t imagine not growing old with her.”
Meanwhile arrangements had been made for Anderson’s funeral, for which money is being raised through a GoFundMe page.
Visiting at the Donohue Cecere Funeral Home on Post Avenue in Westbury is scheduled for Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., and on Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m.
A funeral service will be held Sunday at 5 p.m. with a private interment at an unnamed cemetery to follow, according to the funeral home’s website.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Binghamton University’s Decker School of Nursing. Gifts in Anderson’s memory are accepted at bit.ly/HaleyDSON. For more information, please contact Rebecca Benner at 607-777-7322 or firstname.lastname@example.org.