This obituary is part of a series about people who died from the coronavirus pandemic. Read about others here.
Erica Chang, born in Flushing, Queens, graduated from Texas A&M University in 2019 with two degrees. She was a rising star in the society of Asian scientists and engineers. She had been considering a career in medicine, possibly as a doctor. But when the coronavirus hit, she decided instead to focus on how to better get care.
"She changed her career to become a project manager," the company said in a statement. "She saw the need for process improvements in healthcare, especially during a pandemic."
Ms. Chang, who lived in Katy, Texas, west of Houston, died on April 6 of complications from Covid-19, said Khanh Vu, the company's executive director and chief executive officer. She was 24 years old.
Her parents were also infected. Her father, Chi-Kai Chang, died of the coronavirus five days later. He was 57 years old.
Her survivors include her mother, Ling Wang, a homemaker, and her younger brother Felix, who graduated from the University of Houston and recently enrolled in a nursing school in Texas. He attended school and was the only member of the immediate family not infected with the virus.
Erica Chang was born on April 26, 1996 to immigrants from Taiwan. Her father graduated from engineering school and served in the military before immigrating to New York, where he and his brother ran a laundry in Brooklyn. He married in 1994, worked for a bank for a decade, and moved the family to Houston in 2007.
After graduating from Hightower High School in Missouri City, south of Houston, which offers a focused program in the medical sciences, Ms. Chang enrolled at Texas A&M.
She earned degrees in biomedical and industrial engineering in 2019 before moving to Fused Industries, an industrial, civil and commercial construction company in Houston, as an engineer.
"She became an engineer because she simply enjoys efficiency and problem-solving," said Vu. "In addition, she was an extremely empathetic person who cared for everyone's well-being and what was best for them."
As a college senior, she chaired the National Conference of the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers in 2019. She chaired a virtual version of the conference last year and was a collegiate representative on the company's board of directors.
Her April 25 online memorial service echoed with tearful memories from friends.
Hamzah Khanout, an engineer, recalled Ms. Chang's "passion, determination, enthusiasm, optimism, and kindness". Shekhar Mitra, president of InnoPreneur, a start-up consultancy and former senior vice president of Procter & Gamble, said, “She will be forever remembered for her inclusive leadership style and her empathy and care for everyone who works with us you have worked together. ”