Junior Camille Bent, a child development major, passed away November 14. She was 20.
Bent was born August 21, 2000, and grew up in Sierra Madre loving dance, soccer, and softball, and participating in Girl Scouts. She attended La Salle High School where she played saxophone in band and was a cheerleader for four years, becoming cheer captain her senior year.
Enrolling at Chico State in the fall of 2018, she was following her dream to work with children by becoming a school psychologist.
Professor Jennifer Swisher described teaching Bent for two semesters in a row as an “honor” and shared that she was a student she was really looking forward to running into on campus once the University returned to in-person instruction.
“Her commitment to her education and connection to the class material was impressive. Camille was one of the students who was mindful of others beyond her years,” Swisher said. “She was a standout student who always was dialed in to class lecture and added so much to class discussions. I was so proud she was beginning her journey in the study of child development. She was going places and displayed the interpersonal skills to really connect with others.”
Bent was also a valued member of Professor Lindsey Nenadal’s class community in “The School-Aged Child” this semester. She recently shared with her peers that she believed in the importance of letting children know that failure is a part of the learning process and that adults have to positively help children “through the downs before we get to the ups.”
“In addition to this type of thoughtful engagement with the content, she also always made us smile with her responses to our opening ice-breaker questions,” Nenadal said. “Between sharing her recommendations for good movies and TV shows, and using Zoom to show us the cute cat she was taking care of for a friend, we had the chance to get to know Camille in a special way.”
Other faculty describe Bent as cheerful, kind, and hardworking, all noting her devoted passion for children’s welfare. Professor Tess Manley got to know Bent this semester in “Developmentally Appropriate Practice,” where she regularly demonstrated how she was intrigued and interested in children’s interactions with each other.
“In her own words, Camille stated, ‘I believe children learn best when they are comfortable in their environment and I think I will influence children to be open and happy with themselves,’” Manley said. “Camille wrote that helping children feel accepted was something she wanted to focus on in her life.”
Bent equally thrived in classes outside her major, said chemistry and biochemistry faculty Luke Hillyard, who taught her in spring.
“What I remember most about her was that despite not always understanding the material—chemistry is really hard!—she didn’t give up and kept working,” he shared. “She was also always in a good mood, had a smile on her face, and was pleasant to talk to.”
Bent is survived by dad George, her mother Monika, her step-mother Carol, her brothers Tommy and Connor, her sister Kaitlyn, and her grandparents.
The University flag will be lowered Monday, November 23, in her memory. Services are still to be announced but will likely be held in 2021 due to COVID-19.