A devout Catholic, Erin Noel Novak will be remembered as a down-to-earth individual who was focused on the world around her.
A Hurricane Harry’s regular, Erin loved country and western dancing almost as much as she loved Jesus. Rachael Shudde, a statistics Ph.D. student and Erin’s roommate, said those two passions made Erin a fun and caring person to be around.
“She was so good. I lived with her, and I never heard her say anything mean about anyone,” Shudde said. “She was just really kind and, I think, just an inspiration to be a better person.”
Erin’s former roommate, Abigail Trahan, Class of 2020, said Erin was the most down-to-earth person she knew.
“[She was] really genuine and authentic — completely herself. I can’t explain it any other way,” Trahan said. “I can’t think of someone that’s more genuine than her.”
Erin came to Texas A&M for the graduate program in ecosystem science and management, with the dream of working in conservation and research someday. Her mother, Noel Novak, said the environment was important to her.
“The whole reason she picked what she picked to study was because she loved Texas, the landscapes, the plant life, things like that,” Noel said. “She wanted to preserve that and the natural habitat.”
Trahan said Erin enjoyed participating in the universities’ traditions and had purchased her Aggie Ring only a couple of weeks before her passing.
“She loved A&M traditions,” Trahan said. “The idea of Muster and Silver Taps was something she really thought was important. It’s … unfortunate that she gets both, but neat because they meant so much to her.”
Noel said one of Erin’s main hobbies was making her own food and drinks, like mead. Erin was also very involved at St. Thomas Aquinas Church.
“That was probably the most important thing to her, was her Catholic faith,” Noel said. “She also liked to make a lot of her own stuff, like kombucha, sourdough [and] she made her own soap.”
Trahan said in addition to cooking, Erin loved to go to Hurricane Harry’s for fun. Shudde said Erin recently admitted to her that it was probably good bars were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic because Erin thought she might be addicted to country western dancing.
“She would stay out at Harry’s until like 2 a.m. and maybe go to Fuego after, and she would still be up the next morning making sourdough pancakes at like 9 [a.m.],” Trahan said. “I was like, ‘Wow, that’s a true Ag’.”
Shudde said Erin also made the effort to call one of her family members once every evening because her family, including her younger sister Audrey and younger brother Ian, was very important to her.
“She didn’t care about things, she cared about people,” Shudde said.