Recent graduate Vanessa Kolpak (COL ’01) is missing following the attack on the Trade Center.

Recent graduate Vanessa Kolpak (COL ’01) has been counted among those missing from the World Trade Center after last Tuesday’s terrorist attacks.

Kolpak, 21, works at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods on the 89th floor of the South tower, the second to be hit by a hijacked airplane and the first to collapse. She is training in KBW’s research group, where she has worked for less than one month.

“It was always her dream to be on Wall Street. She was like a little Alex P. Keaton,” her brother Todd Kolpak said.

Kolpak studied economics and philosophy at Georgetown and graduated magna cum laude in May. She is from Lincolnwood, Ill. and is one of three children. Kolpak graduated from St. Ignatius College Prep in Chicago.

“She was caring, upbeat and extremely smart,” Todd Kolpak said. “From the time she was little, she did science projects that I still don’t understand.”

Kolpak is one of 64 KBW employees whose safety is “unconfirmed” according to the company Web site.

Kolpak’s brother said the family has not given up hope that she may be found alive. “We believe she’s in the elevators somewhere,” he said. According to Todd Kolpak, rescue workers believe the elevators are intact, and they contain 10 days’ oxygen.

The Kolpak family last heard from Vanessa when she called her mother after the first plane struck the North tower.

“Some people ask, `Six days, is it possible?'” Todd Kolpak said. “I say, `Yes, it is.’ We are still very hopeful. I believe she is there.”

Mary Morrissey (COL ’01), a close friend, echoed Kolpak’s brother’s hopes for a safe rescue.

“Vanessa is also very tough, and her family and friends remain hopeful that she is alive.  All we can do now is pray and hope for a miracle,” she said.

During her time at Georgetown, Kolpak worked with Peer Education for three years and studied abroad in Prague, Czech Republic, her junior year. Carol Day, director of health education, said Kolpak’s fellow peer educators are “enormously affected by her loss.” Day said Kolpak was vibrant, dynamic, intelligent and very involved in Georgetown extracurricular activities.

Tarik M. Yousef, a professor in the economics department, described Kolpak as academically engaged, eager to resume work on a research project she began in the spring.

“She wanted to do a lot for herself, her family and the world and she was in a position to do it,” Yousef said. “I hope she is alive and if not, then no words would describe the grief I feel about losing my student and friend.”

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