North Augustan dies days after college graduation


A 21-year-old North Augusta woman died Sunday in an inline skating accident, two days after graduating from Clemson University.


Samantha Cawthorne, of the 1400 block of Georgia Avenue, died Sunday night of a head injury at AnMed Health Medical Center in Anderson, S.C., said Pickens County Coroner Kandy Kelley.

Cawthorne was skating alone about 2:30 p.m. Sunday on the university's garden trail when she struck a guardrail, according to a university police report.

She was not wearing a helmet, the coroner said.

On Friday, Cawthorne graduated magna cum laude with a degree in physics. She was scheduled to work for the National Institute for Standards and Technology, according to a Clemson news release.

Cawthorne was a 2006 International Baccalaureate graduate of North Augusta High School. She and her family moved to North Augusta from Maryland 10 years ago.

She left an impact on the faculty at her high school, said Dianne Smiley, her guidance counselor at North Augusta High.

"She was a great student, a very special young lady," Smiley said. "It's a tremendous loss."

At Clemson, Cawthorne was president of the Society of Physics Students and a member of Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. She was also a Dixon Fellow and a graduate of Calhoun Honors College.

In a statement, her father said she treasured her friends and experiences at Clemson.

She is survived by her parents, John and Janine Cawthorne; brother Zachary Cawthorne; and sister Rebecca Cawthorne. The funeral will be at 11 a.m. Thursday at St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to disaster relief in Haiti at

Facts about inline skating

More than 17 million Americans participate in the sport of inline skating. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 61,000 people were treated for inline skating-related injuries in hospital emergency rooms, doctors' offices, clinics and other medical settings in 2007.

Many inline skating injuries are preventable by following these safety tips:

- Learn the basic skills of the sport particularly how to stop properly, before venturing into traffic

-Wear a helmet, wrist protectors and knee and elbow pads

-Perform warm-up exercises before and after skating

-Obey traffic signals, stay at the right side of the road and don't weave in and out of lanes

-Avoid skating on crowded walkways

-Choose the boot size at the end of the day or after training, when feet will be at their largest.

-When selecting a boot size, wear the same type of sock that will be worn when skating.

-Kick both feet into the back of the boots before buckling and skating.

-Be certain the heel doesn't move up and down in the boot during skating.

Source: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons