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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — An Indiana University student from the Netherlands was on board the Malaysian airliner shot down Thursday in eastern Ukraine, university officials said Friday.

Karlijn Keijzer, 25, of Amsterdam was a doctoral student in chemistry at the university about 50 miles southwest of Indianapolis, spokesman Mark Land said.

She was one of the few women in the chemistry lab, and she studied chemistry to complement her background in biology and biochemistry, said classmate Meghan McCormick, 28.

"She was so good at putting in the effort and the hard work," McCormick said. "I always looked up to her and her confidence and her strength. She always knew what she wanted."

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Keijzer's hometown was Almelo, Netherlands, about 90 miles east of Amsterdam and 30 miles from the German border, according to her Facebook page. In Bloomington, she was a member of the women's rowing team during the 2011 season, getting up for 5 a.m. rowing practices.

"Getting through our Ph.D. program, it was so rough," McCormick said. "But we always gave each other strength. Especially as women in chemistry, it's really difficult. We would just help each other out getting through those problems."

The two friends would cook for each other, Keijzer making Dutch pancakes and delighting in McCormick's spanakopita recipe. For McCormick's birthday, Keijzer surprised her with a Dutch apple pie.

McCormick remembered Keijzer as a woman who made friends easily and loved coffee, Starbucks' lemon cake and Upland Wheat Ale.

Keijzer's boyfriend, 30-year-old Laurens van der Graaf, was a Dutch teacher living in Amsterdam. When he visited Bloomington, Keijzer took him to basketball games, wineries and restaurants.

"She always loved showing him American culture and American food," McCormick said.

Keijzer and her boyfriend were heading to Indonesia for vacation before school started again, McCormick said. Keijzer had been spending the summer in the Netherlands with a research grant through VU University Amsterdam — Vrije Universiteit — where she earned her master's degree.

She passed her doctoral candidacy exam in the spring, which qualified her to stay in Indiana University's program, McCormick said. She also had been an instructor for a chemistry lab the same term.

"On behalf of the entire Indiana University community, I want to express my deepest sympathies to Karlijn's family and friends over her tragic death," Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie said. "Karlijn was an outstanding student and a talented athlete, and her passing is a loss to the campus and the university."

Keijzer's research concentrated on improving human health, said Mu-Hyun Baik, associate professor of chemistry and informatics at Indiana University and Keijzer's doctoral adviser.

"The last piece of research work she completed before heading out to catch her flight to her short summer vacation was preparing a computer simulation on bryostatin, an anti-cancer drug and a promising drug candidate for treating Alzheimer's disease," he said in a statement. "She inspired us all with her optimism about how science will make Earth a better place."

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 took off at about 12:15 p.m. Central European Summer Time from Amsterdam on its way to Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia. It disappeared from radar about two hours later and within two more hours, its wreckage was discovered near the village of Rozsypne in eastern Ukraine close to the Russian border, apparently shot down by a surface-to-air missile.

All aboard died.

"Our hearts also go out to the families of all the victims of this senseless act," McRobbie said.

Most of the 298 passengers on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 were Dutch, according to the airline. The 15 crew members were all Malaysian.

A breakdown of the nationalities on board:

• 189 Netherlands

• 44 Malaysia

• 27 Australia

• 12 Indonensia

• 9 United Kingdom

• 4 Belgium

• 4 Germany

• 3 Philippines

• 1 Canada

• 1 New Zealand

Four passengers' nationalities remain to be verified, airline officials said Friday.

President Barack Obama later said one U.S. citizen — Quinn Lucas Schansman, who had dual citizenship in the United States and the Netherlands — also was on board.

Keijzer earned Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association Scholar-Athlete honors as well as Academic All-Big Ten accolades as a member of the 14-5 record varsity rowing team, Indiana University officials said. She participated in the European Rowing Junior Championships in 2006 and the World Rowing Junior Championships in 2007.

"The Indiana Rowing family is deeply saddened by the news of Karlijn's sudden passing," Indiana head rowing coach Steve Peterson said. "She came to us for one year as a graduate student and truly wanted to pursue rowing."

Karlijn Keijzer changed her profile picture in April to a scene from Amsterdam's cobblestone streets.

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