Jessica Sachs

Jessica Sachs
American Flight 11

Determined to Succeed

Jessica Sachs's schedule since her December graduation from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst was exhausting.

She had accepted a job at PricewaterhouseCoopers as a accountant and was working long hours there. Every Saturday she went to an eight-hour course for the C.P.A. exam. And on Sundays, as usual, she attended services at New Colony Baptist Church in Billerica, Mass.

"She complained," said Stephen Sachs, her father. "But she did well."

Despite the workload, she did not sleep in on Sunday mornings. She had never let church-going slide, even in college. When she realized that UMass, with 26,000 students, had no Southern Baptist ministry, she helped establish Mercy House on campus.

She was equally determined to succeed in worldly terms. She applied for only two jobs, at the first- and second-largest accounting companies, and was offered a place at each. On Sept. 11, she was flying from Boston to Los Angeles on business, her first trip out West.

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 8, 2001.

Jessica Sachs, 23, was eight months into her job as an auditor in the Boston office of PricewaterhouseCoopers when she boarded American Airlines Flight 11 on a business trip to Los Angeles.

The post at PricewaterhouseCoopers was her first job since graduating from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst last January.

Her goal since her sophomore year had been to land a job at one of the top five accounting houses in the United States. She ended up having her choice, said her father, Stephen.

"A lot of people today live their lives with a lot of gray area, but for her, it was very black and white," he said. "She was a very determined, very strong young lady."

She also was a devout Christian who counted her mother, Karen, as her best friend, and who lived with her parents in their Billerica, Mass., home 15 minutes north of Boston.

A native of Rhode Island, Sachs grew up in Rochester, Minn., and gravitated to prayer groups as a student at John Marshall High School. In college, she joined Campus Crusade, as well as a small Baptist group establishing a Mercy House to provide Christian fellowship for students at the university.

Since Tuesday, other members of the New Colony Baptist Church in Billerica have filled the Sachs home with flowers and comfort food, while Jessica's parents, her brother Eric and sister Kathy, have all taken comfort in her sunny religious devotion.

"It was just one happy moment after another," her father said. "She wore Jesus on her sleeve, and there was nothing phony about that young lady."

Profile courtesy of THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE.

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