Friends and family of a Chicago woman killed in Kabul, Afghanistan, say the 27-year-old was committed to helping others despite potential dangers, telling friends it was "something she was meant to do."
Lexie Kamerman was among 21 people killed Friday in a Taliban suicide bomb and gun attack at a Kabul restaurant popular with foreigners.
She had worked since June as a student development specialist at the American University of Afghanistan, where her family said she was helping women "get an education and take their rightful place as leaders in Afghan society."
Kamerman graduated from the Latin School of Chicago and Knox College in Galesburg, The Chicago Sun-Times reported.
"When she told us that this is what she was doing, we were all definitely concerned about her safety," friend Carmen Knight, 28, of Milwaukee, Wis., told the newspaper. "She knew this had to be done and that she could do it. She kept reassuring us it was something she was meant to do."
In a statement, Kamerman's family described her as "an amazing young woman -- smart, strong, beautiful, funny, stubborn and kind. And fearless."
The statement continued: "Her death is a shock to us all and we can't imagine a moment going forward when she won't be desperately missed."
Friend Sherrille Lamb told the Sun-Times that Kamerman had just been back to Chicago to visit her family over the Christmas and New Year's holidays.
Lamb and Kamerman became friends when they worked together at Elon College in North Carolina, where Kamerman was an assistant director of residence life during the 2012-2013 academic year. Kamerman also had done volunteer work in Africa, served in a soup kitchen and an animal shelter and volunteered in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
Lamb said she believed Kamerman felt a responsibility to help others.
"It's rare to see that in someone that young these days," Lamb said. "A lot of people talk about what they're going to do. ... The things she talked about, she actually did. And that just shows a wonderful sense of humility and just something that's going to be so missed in this world."
Knox College president Teresa Amott said in a statement Sunday that the news of Kamerman's death was "heartbreaking."
"Our hearts are with Lexie's family and all who knew and loved her," Amott said.
The statement also said Kamerman, who graduated with degrees in anthropology and sociology -- a single major -- and environmental studies, was remembered as a leader on the college's water polo team and in her sorority, Pi Beta Phi.
Calling Kamerman "a global citizen," Amott added that "in such a short life, she embodied the best values of a Knox education and sought a better world."
A Michigan woman, Basra Hassan, 59, was also killed in the attack.