Brittany Bertram, a Cowell fifth-year, died in Santa Cruz on Dec. 12. She was 22. Her cause of death was not revealed at the time of publication.

“Brittany was a beautiful young woman with an angel’s heart and a soft and caring voice,” wrote Bertram’s family in her obituary, published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel on Dec. 19. “She touched so many on this earth and always cared for those who might be alone and in need.”

After walking with her graduating class last June, Bertram was due to graduate this spring with a degree in molecular, cell and developmental biology. Cowell college and the office of the registrar have been working together in hopes of procuring a posthumous degree for her.

A memorial service was held in her hometown of San Luis Obispo on Dec. 22. Many friends and family have been sharing memories and leaving wishes for Bertram and her family in her online guest book.

Bertram was an active young woman who loved adventure. According to her obituary, she had an affinity for hiking, camping and fishing, among her other activities such as skiing, riding horses, shopping and “just being around her family.”

UC Santa Cruz alumnus and friend Vanessa Sandberg said that while she didn’t know Bertram well, the few times they hung out have left a lasting respect.

“She was a super funny, kind and happy girl,” Sandberg said. “Brittany made an impression on me as someone who will never be forgotten.”


Cowell college has invited anybody with concerns to contact their college office, 831-459-2253. UCSC also offers grief counseling and may be contacted at the CAPS office by calling