When Celia Snipes came back to her dorm after she was out of town, she found a stuffed elephant waiting for her on her desk.
Her roommate, Maria Fisher, had bought one to surprise her with while she was at the zoo, knowing it was Snipes’ favorite animal.
The gift was one of the small ways Fisher showed she was a “genuine and compassionate” person, Snipes said.
Fisher, a University of Maryland student, died Sunday morning after she was hit by an SUV while attempting to cross Route 1, police said. She was 18.
Fisher was supposed to meet her father Sunday for the Ravens vs. Steelers game in Baltimore. Her father, Daniel Fisher, found out she died while on his way to the hospital.
“She just brought out joy in everyone,” Fisher said. “She exuded kindness.”
Fisher said an outpouring of comments on social media from his daughter’s friends described his daughter as a kind, considerate and caring person.
“That’s what I saw, but as a parent, you just hope that’s what other people will see too,” Fisher said. “It’s hard to read because obviously it’s emotional, but it makes me proud that’s who other people saw her as.”
Snipes, a freshman enrolled in letters and sciences, said she had never become so close with someone as fast as she did with Fisher.
They scheduled time to study together, participated in Terp Thon’s Color Run and planned to travel to Nicaragua over the upcoming winter break, Snipes said.
“I haven’t really done much at Maryland without her,” Snipes said. “All of our experiences — she’s been in all of my experiences and my memories here.”
Snipes was on the phone with Fisher at the time of the accident, she said.
Fisher’s other friends said she had a knack for forming friendships quickly.
“Over the weeks we just got so close,” said freshman biology major Isabelle Baildon, who lives on Fisher’s floor. “It was crazy to have met her and become so close in such a short amount of time.”
Justin Friedman, a freshman computer science major who also lives on her floor, described her as welcoming to everyone. Friedman said he remembers waking up from a nap on the first day and she was standing outside his door asking if he wanted to come to a floor meeting with her.
After that, they spent “probably every day” together, bonding over their Ravens-Steelers rivalry and watching Friends, he said.
“There wasn’t one type of person she would get along with,” Friedman said. “Her personality allowed her to be friends with anyone and everyone.”
Maria Fisher, who was enrolled in letters and sciences, started her freshman year at this university this semester. She was enrolled in the First-Year Innovation and Research Experience, and her friends and family described her as having broad interests and passions.
Although Fisher hadn’t declared her major, her father said she was leaning toward studying criminology or psychology because she was interested in focusing on addiction.
“In our family, there [are] some addiction problems,” he said. “She loved to help people, that was kind of her thing — anything to help anyone.”
In her free time, Fisher played the guitar and piano and wrote music. Her YouTube channel features five completed songs, with her first video, “Prisoner,” reaching 9,000 views.
She had also played at the LAUNCH Music Conference and Festival with her best friend in her hometown Lancaster, Pennsylvania, her father said.
“She wrote music that kind of mirrored whatever she was going through in life at the time,” he said. “It was kind of her outlet. When she was down or depressed at all, she would write or sing music, so sometimes she would do that for hours on end.”
Fisher played soccer since she was about seven or eight, her father added.
“She loved playing, but she knew she was not going to be a D-1 soccer player,” Daniel Fisher said, chuckling. “She just loved the game.”
Maria Fisher constantly wanted to have new experiences from all aspects of life, those close to her said.
“I would walk into her room and see in one corner her guitar sitting there, the other corner was her soccer ball, she had her school work on her desk and then pictures of her and her friends,” Friedman said. “From academics to social life to athletics, she was very good at everything she did and everywhere she went made friends along the way.”
Maris Becker, a freshman finance major, said she met Fisher when their friends decided to go out together. They ended up at Bagel Place shortly before closing and the workers offered them dozens of bagels for free, she said.
“I remember looking at Maria,” Becker said. “We were like, ‘What the hell is happening? How are we getting so many free bagels?'”
Since then, Fisher and Becker hung out nearly every day, she added.
“You couldn’t say no to her,” Becker said. “She was just so magnetic. Everyone wanted to be around her. There’s no bad word to describe Maria. She had only good characteristics.”
Senior staff writer Rosie Kean contributed to this article.